WHY FORT LOVED RUGBY...AND the KELTS...in pictures ~
If you knew Fort, the pictures say it all (although I did put captions on them,
I really didn't have to!) This is why she LOVED rugby and the Kelts. Her second family for sure. And now, OURS.
In 2003, the year Melissa was diagnosed, the Cincinnati Kelts Club (men's AND women's teams!) decided to sponsor a fundraiser. I was online yesterday and found this article by Pauly from the FIRST fundraiser:
On September 27th, after the Men's game with Michiana (South Bend) and the Women's game with Louisville, we will be having our first raffle and fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
This event is presented on behalf of Melissa ‘Fort’ Fortener, a member of the Cincy-Dayton Women’s Side Rugby Club and the Cincinnati Kelts Rugby Football Club who is currently ‘fighting the good fight’ against breast cancer.
We will be holding this in conjunction with the Rugby Prom (more info later). This will take place on the back deck of Hap's Irish Pub, located at 3510 Erie Avenue in Hyde Park, OH and the raffle and fundraiser will start at 9:00 PM that night, after the regular rugby social.
Raffle tickets should be available around the 10th of September and we will be selling these right up to the drawing. Winners will be announced at 10:00 PM. Current raffle prizes include a framed Guinness poster, various restaurant gift certificates, a selection of Irish whiskey, a 1 hour massage and other miscelleneous items. The full list will appear here once we begin to sell tickets. Cost of the tickets will be 1 for $5 or 3 for $10. You will not need to be present to win.
We are currently taking orders for and will sell a special event T-shirt. On the front will be the Kelts Crest and event information and on the back will be the new Irish proverb, "Ta na Daoine as Eire in a Ghra Leis an Cioch" which is Gaelic for, "The Irish love breasts". We are still in the process of finalizing color and cost of these but will post it here as soon as we are able.
On the night of the event, we will offer a "Bottomless Mug 'o Beer" from 9:00 PM until 11:00 PM. Cost will be $10 and includes an official Kelts logo mug or cup from one of our recent tours.
Also, all day and all night we will be selling tickets for a "Split the Pot" at $1 each or 6 for $5. We will draw a winner at 11:00 PM who will get half of all the money we collect. You will not need to be present to win this either.
We welcome you to come out to watch the rugby during the day and enjoy the show at the Rugby Prom afterwards. For the uninitiated, Rugby Prom is a party theme where the players dress up in their finest prom outfits. However, no one is allowed to clean up after the days games and must change into their outfits at the field or at the bar. This is especially interesting if it is a muddy day!!! The Rugby Prom King and Queen will be selected and announced prior to the raffle.
I will update this periodically with additional information and if you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I want to thank you in advance for your support of this fundraiser!!! Cheers!!
and just a note...he mentioned that it was the Rugby Prom? Fort & Johnny Mac were the Prom KING & QUEEN that year. We had SO much fun.
So, from 2003 to 2011, the Cincinnati Kelts have sponsored this fundraiser.
It has been a HUGE success. It was always in honor of Fort, now it is in her MEMORY.
And now, half of the proceeds go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and half to her scholarship fund.
It seemed to me to be the biggest crowd ever last night. It was amazing. The Kelts have raised over $30,000 in the last eight years for this cause.
Last year, they agreed to sponsor me in the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk (which I am doing in two weeks!)...THANK YOU KELTS! For all you do for this cause that is so close to our hearts.
Some day, I hope in MY lifetime, a cure will be found or it will be a disease that can be treated ... (like diabetes!)
Enjoy the party (in pictures!).....
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Pauly - the FIRST person I try to find when we get to the FUNdraiser. He is the reason this continues. LOVE YOU PAULY & ELIZABETH and thanks for all your work on this!!!)
Pauly & Kat (Kat and her dad make, oh, probably a couple hundred pink ribbons to sell at the fundraiser - ALWAYS a big hit!!! Thanks Kat!)
Rugby friend (Kyra!)
Rugby Dads...Fort's dad and Kyra's dad
Having fun with Jen & Edie
Rugby Moms...Kyra's mom, Netti's mom, Fort's mom
Pauly, on the bar, begins his introduction by pointing out WHY we are here.
Lots of happy faces here...Pauly must have been exposing...whoops! I mean entertaining everyone!
I put LOTS of tickets in for this one...darn....
one happy winner...
checking tickets for winners...
One of Pauly's teammates on the Wolfhounds won the 50/50...Pauly made him work for his winnings....
Netti assisted Pauly in the emcee duties this year...she did a GREAT job!!!!
At the end of every rugby game, AND after all the tickets are drawn at this fundraiser, they do THREE CHEERS (at the fundraiser, it's THREE CHEERS for FORT!) HIP HIP HOORAY! HIP HIP HOORAY! HIP HIP HOORAY! it is LOUD and very emotional for us...but we LOVE this!!!!!!!!!!!
Donny and Hula (one of the $100 winners!)
Pam and Crazy Legs (Kelly)...she said "the first time Fort saw me play, she said "man, you have CRAZY LEGS"...and it STUCK!" She said some people don't even know her real name... um...like....FORT? (a lot of people didn't know HER name was Melissa either!)
Pam, Netti, Donny (THANKS Netti for all your work on this FUNdraiser!)
Went to Donny's Homecoming at Wilmington College.
Interesting (however sad) connection we have to one of his fraternity brothers.
Curt (Mange)(who happens to be the head football coach/Athletic director at Portsmouth High School) and his wife Mary lost there 27 year old daughter to ovarian cancer last February. Courtney was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer when she was 14 and in high school. She went on to excel in THREE sports in high school and was the class Valedictorian. She went on to college, graduated, got a job, THEN was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer. Needless to say, her mom and I talked for a couple of hours and we found out our daughters had a LOT in common. And now, so do we.
Friends for life, I'm sure. Thanks Mary.
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Former Wilmington College football players (most from the class of 1971 who were honored at halftime of the Homecoming game). In this group - most are (or were)head football coaches/Athletic Directors at high schools in Ohio (some of the schools...Portsmouth, Indian Hills, Valley View, Avon Lake, Versailles, Uniota, Waynesville...just to name a few)
If Miami University is the cradle of coaches for COLLEGE coaches, Wilmington is the cradle of coaches for HIGH SCHOOL coaches! Oh...and there are THREE School Superintendents in this mix too! AND Fort knew most of these guys! (at least she met them when we took them to Wilmington football games when they were little!)
Donny with a couple of his football buddies (and fraternity brothers) from Wilmington...and yes that's the Quaker mascot!
VOLLEY FOR THE CURE ~ Fairmont High School
Ang & I arrived at the Volley for the Cure to find a table set up and some great posters for Fort. Great crowd (although Fairmont lost the match) and very supportive of our cause - we raised about $150 in random donations for our 3day walk!
The speaker at this event was ANOTHER Fairmont student who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 21. GET YOUR MAMMOGRAMS. (if you have a history of breast cancer in your family - REQUEST a mammogram before the age of 40. Better safe than sorry!
Here's to YOU Jackie....
I couldn't wait...just a little sneak peak at the memorial for Jackie's tree (which sits behind Fort's bench at Fairmont High School) ~ it should be set in the next week or so...
just a note on the fundraiser...
When we first arrived at the fundraiser, I went to talk to Pauly. He directed me to
Elizabeth and new baby Luke (adorable, by the way!), who was sitting with a HAP'S friend of Melissa's. Her name is Marianne. She and Melissa became friends when they realized they shared a common bond...they both had breast cancer. I know Marianne was very helpful to Melissa, encouraging her to join her friends at Haps - a very supportive group....was she RIGHT!
Recently Marianne lost her daughter in law to a rare form of cancer. We talked for quite awhile. We shared stories of Melissa and her daughter in law Jen. We both cried...but it was good for both of us, I KNOW.
The really nice thing about the fundraiser? As difficult as this time of year is,
I love to go, and will NEVER miss this because they all continue to remember and talk about Melissa. It is almost like she is there...just no booming voice or the sound of her laughter. So while there is definitely something missing, her laughter resounds in the laughter of her friends. It makes me laugh AND cry. We miss her EVERY SINGLE day, but are thankful for her wonderful friends who remember her to us on a regular basis.
THANK YOU FORT FRIENDS for loving her and remembering her.
Enjoy this beautiful fall weather...she did!