Sword and Staff Donations

The Year in Review

Donations in 1999: $ 48,021
Donations in 1998: $ 37,965
Donations in 1997: $ 25,111

TTL Donations: $111,097

Rainforest acreage saved:
1998: 198 acres
1999: 256 acres
TTL: 454 acres

Wow! What an absolutely amazing year! Once again we raised a bunch of money for charitable organizations, this year alone donating over $48,000 to charities around the world. We were written up as one of the positive aspects of the internet
( http://www.serviceleader.org/vv/culture/fans.html#xena   ). We received an Award of Appreciation from the Domestic Violence Center of Howard County for our help in assisting victims of domestic violence. We saved countless trees, plants, and animals in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil. And we have contributed an amazing amount of energy and manpower to help people and organizations that need our support.

The continued participation and support you all provide allows us to make a difference in the lives of people who are oftentimes left with no hope and no support. We have proven that given the means to focus and channel their energy, people will generally do the right thing. Xena fans can be proud of the fact that they have made a difference, and through Sword and Staff activities, they continue to do so. I would like to acknowledge the continued participation of fans from around the world, and welcome fans from Germany, Italy, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Brazil, Belgium, Poland, and Hong Kong who were first time participants in Sword and Staff activities. They combined their efforts with fans from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and Great Britain to help make this an extraordinary year for Xena fans. Sword and Staff is now truly a global effort, and that makes what you do all the more incredible.

We had a lot to celebrate this year, not the least of which was the birth of Lucy and Rob’s son, Julius. Fans shared in the Taperts’ celebration of their son by donating more than $13,800 through Sword and Staff to a number of children’s charities around the world. For All Kids Foundation, Starship Children’s Hospital Foundation, Starlight Foundation, Motherhood, St. Thomas’s Hospital, Booth Hall, and The Great Ormand Street Hospital were among the charities fans from 12 countries supported in celebration of the birth of young Julius. In addition, victims of sexual abuse and earthquake victims in Turkey also received generous support in that donation effort.

Environmentally, we preserved an additional 256 acres of Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. That brings the total acreage we’ve preserved since last year to 454 acres. We once again participated in the International Coastal Cleanup and that effort resulted in the removal of 1,485 pounds of trash from the coastline along Little Neck Bay in Queens, New York. We are foster parents to a seal named Hercules that is being nursed back to health as a result of the donation made by the Dutch fans to the Seal Rehabilitation and Research Centre. And I’m happy to report that the Dutch fans raised enough money at their fest in November to support the rescue of a second seal. Individual fan efforts provided many more instances of us giving back a little bit of our time and energy to preserve the resources of the planet. Your efforts are truly amazing.

Sword and Staff contributed fan-donated merchandise to the Pacific Northwest Xenafest, XenaNet in the UK, the Dutch fan club, the Birmingham XenaFest, and the New York City XenaFest so that those groups could raise funds for specific charities at their fan events. In addition, the SoCal XenaFest, the PittsFest, the Friends of Subtext, and the Merpups sponsored events which raised money for a number of charities.

For Christmas this year we did some wonderful things for some very needy children. Fans donated money to help support children in several orphanages in Russia. Those donations will go to provide food and other essential items to children awaiting adoption throughout the former Soviet republics.

Another Christmas effort resulted when I stopped by the post office in downtown Brooklyn one afternoon and picked up about 50 letters addressed to Santa Claus. I posted a note to the Xenaverse and also sent out a broadcast message asking for help at work. I am delighted to say that I had to head back to the post office to ask for more letters because of the overwhelming response to the request for help. In conjunction with the faculty and staff of Polytechnic University, to date we’ve helped to make Christmas a little happier for 135 children (and a few moms too!) from underprivileged families. Thanks to my co-workers and to all of you who participated in that effort. And please remember that every year the post office is inundated with letters to Santa. You can just stop by and ask them to see some and select a child or adult you’d like to help out. The postal workers will be delighted to assist you.

We don’t usually get to see the results of our efforts, but this year a music teacher from Florida asked for some help to surprise one of her special ed students for Christmas. She was looking for an autographed picture of “Xena” to present to her student, a young boy named Brett who suffers from cerebral palsy. I didn’t have an autographed picture I could send, but I did send off a couple of t-shirts and an 8”x10” glossy of Xena. There are several pictures of this young man posted on the home page at the Sword and Staff web site at http://sword-and-staff.com . If you want to know how the items you donate through Sword and Staff impact the lives of others, take a look a Brett’s face. With a minimum of effort, we made a big difference in this little boy’s day. And the day I posted Brett’s pictures and story up on the site, I received offers from two fans: one is sending me a Lucy Lawless autographed photo of Xena, and another offered a Lucy-signed plaque. I’ll be sending the picture down to Brett as soon as it arrives.

In addition to the auctions and donations you see up on the Sword and Staff website, I get numerous requests during the course of the year for donations of Xena merchandise that can be used in charity auctions around the world. I’m happy to say that not one request for merchandise for a charity auction went unanswered. We donated autographed items to a number of international organizations and thus contributed to their efforts to raise money for those who need help. So know that in addition to the donation totals and charities named on the Sword and Staff page, many other groups benefit from your generosity.

Special thanks must go out to cast members and guest stars who have been exceedingly generous with Sword and Staff over the past year. They include Renee O’Connor, Kevin Smith, Jacqueline Kim, Hudson Leick, Robert Trebor, Claire Stansfield, Tony Todd, Danielle Cormack, Allison Wall, Karl Urban, Jeremy Roberts, Tom Atkins, Bruce Campbell, Kevin Sorbo and Michael Hurst. Special thanks to Gillian Anderson of X-Files for her part in making the Sheroes auction possible. To Sandra Wilson (Momma ROC), the Hudson Leick Official Fan Club, the Michael Hurst Official Fan Club, the Kevin Smith Official Fan Club, and the Danielle Cormack Official Fan Club, my sincere thanks to all of you for your help and support.

Please know that none of this happens without your kindness, generosity, support, and participation. Xena fans have created something quite unique with Sword and Staff, and your continued support allows it to grow and thrive. Without doubt, you’ve all made this organization one of the most amazing things that fandom has to offer.

I extend my best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season, and wish you all the best the world has to offer in the next century. Enjoy and be well.

Debbie Cassetta/"Mist"

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