Sword and Staff: The Year in Review
Donations made to date in 2000: $ 78,093
Total Donations made in 1999: $ 49,316
Total Donations made in 1998: $ 37,965
Total Donations made in 1997: $ 25,111
TOTAL DONATIONS All Years: $190,455
Total Rainforest Saved: 466 acres
Well, it's that time of the year again, and I have to say that I didn't think it would be possible to top what we accomplished last year, but I am delighted to report the results of Xena fandom's efforts to help support worthy causes around the world. Fans worldwide worked to make their corner of the world just a bit better and brighter, and as a result, together we made more than a little ripple in the quality of life for a lot of people. As you can see from the donation totals above, we surpassed last year's efforts by nearly $30,000. Amazing!
Once again this year we had donations of autographs from XWP cast members and production personnel. Thanks go out to Lucy Lawless, Renee O'Connor, Kevin Smith, Jacqueline Smith, Hudson Leick, Robert Trebor, Ted Raimi, Claire Stansfield, Danielle Cormack, Alison Wall, Jeremy Roberts, Tom Atkins, Bruce Campbell, Kevin Sorbo, Michael Hurst, Adrienne Wilkinson, Paris Jefferson, Alexandra Tydings, Steven Sears, Karl Urban, Jeremy Callaghan, Meighan Desmond, Ebonie Smith, Tim Omundson, Willa O'Neill, Vicky Pratt, Gina Torres, and Jennifer Sky. Thank you also goes out to Sandra Wilson (MommaROC), the Hudson Leick Official Fan Club, the Danielle Cormack Official Fan Club, and the Adrienne Wilkinson Official Fan Club for their help and cooperation. And as always, heartfelt appreciation is extended to the countless fans who make everything Sword and Staff reports possible by donating their time, energy, and merchandise to the fan events and to Sword and Staff for auction on the website.
The Starship Foundatin Safe and Sound Appeal which Lucy Lawless has been actively supporting, received donations from Xena fans from around the world. Through Sword and Staff we donated US$9,132 (NZ$21,241) plus an additional donation of NZ$1,963 that was organized by Kiwi Attic in New Zealand, for a combined total donation of US$9,975 (NZ$23,204). In addition, fans from around the world donated directly to the Starship Foundation to help in the Safe and Sound Appeal and a representative of the Foundation asked that I extend to you their gratitude for the amazing generosity of Lucy's fans.
Renee O'Connor and Steve Muir were married in October, 2000. To celebrate their wedding and wish them well, fans ROC fans from around the world donated just over $7,900 to a number of charities including Girls, Inc. (USA), the Myton Hospice (GB), Womens Aid (GB), Ronald McDonald House (USA), Hawaii Food Bank (USA) Starship Foundation (NZ), Saint Thomas Hospital (GB), National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (GB), Feminist Majority Foundation (USA).
As a result of the Bard's Brunch held in Pasadena last January, an additional Sword and Staff auction, individual donations, and an amazingly generous offer by a fan who wishes to remain anonymous to double match the first $10,000 we raised through Sword and Staff in 2000, we were able to donate $20,000 to set up a low interest loan program for prospective adoptive parents. To the organizers of the Bard's Brunch for making that possible and to the person who arranged for the matching donation, a special thank you for your efforts and generosity.
Several fan groups organized fests or other fundraising events this past year, and the results of their efforts were gratifying. The SoCal XenaFest raised $5,725 for Working Wardrobes for a New Start. In Pasadena, the Merpups raised $2,215 to benefit the Humane Society of Broward County, and that donation was double matched by the S&S donor, bringing that donation to $6,645. Another event held by the Merpups in Orlando resulted in a donation of $4,354 for the American Cancer Society. The Foothills Land Conservancy "Smith Bend Campaign" received support from S&S members, and those efforts raised $3,300 over the course of the year. The Australian 5th Annual Herk Fest raised $1,013 for Canberra S.I.D.S. D.A.H.X. (the Dutch Fan Club) held several events throughout the year, and the funds raised were used to rescue another two seals. In addition, a Sword and Staff initiative to help the Riverhead Founation on Long Island resulted in the support of a number of rescued whales, seals, dolphins, and turtles. Several fans donated their time and covered their own expenses in order to help out Habitat for Humanity in the construction of new homes down in New Zealand. Through Sword and Staff, we held another beach clean up in September, and again cleared nearly 1000 pounds of rubbish littering the shore line along Little Neck Bay in Queens, New York. Not to be overlooked are the efforts of Britsh fans who raised a lot of money for a number of organizations over the course of the year. Their efforts are to be commended because they put on several first-rate conventions, providing fun for the European fans and still managing to make the festivities worthwhile charitable events.
It is difficult to summarize what we as a group have been doing and continue to do because it isn't something I pay much attention to during the year. Sure, I keep track of the donations and list donation dollar totals and keep track of who is having a fest and what organization they're sponsoring. I do a little happy squiggle in my seat when I see we've reach yet another milestone. IBut Sword and Staff has become so much more than that that it is difficult to summarize events without trivializing them. And in no way do I want to diminish what a good number of fans have done to build Sword and Staff into what it is, and in so doing, make the organization stand out as a monument to the innate goodness and generosity of Xena fans. It's people working to help people. It's high school students asking what they can do to help and being directed to nursing homes and hospitals where their time as volunteers truly does make a difference. It's people on disability donating part of their limited income to help someone who is perhaps just a bit worse off than they are. It's the less glamorous chores, like picking up trash from the beach, hauling packages to the post office, spending countless hours updating websites and organizing fan events. or sweating over whether or not you'll cover expenses of those events and activities when all is said and done.
I jokingly told some friends that I had a very short Sword and Staff Year in Review message prepared. I got a horrified look when I told them I planned on posting a one sentence report that simply stated that we raised a lot of money and we gave it all away. So this rather lengthy missive is my concession to them. But in reality, that one sentence sums up what those not associated or involved with Sword and Staff might see at first glance. I assure you, I know the people who participate in Sword and Staff activities and who organize fan events, and it is far more than that. These are good and dedicated people, who want to make a difference. And they go out and do it. That they find support from other fans is a bonus that few of them expected, but it is tryly an exceptional gift.
If I've forgotten to list anyone, please know it was an oversight and not intentional. I truly believe that this whole experience is amazing, and to Sword and Staff participants during the year 2000, I simply say, ya done good!
I extend all good wishes to all of you for a happy and healthy holiday season and a prosperous new year filled with all the little things that make life worthwhile.
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