Food, fun, and a fantastic cause—they form the golden trio of a great event, and all three will be found on the evening of March 2, 2018, at the annual L.E.A.P. Fundraiser (Love Ends All Poverty). Proceeds from L.E.A.P. go directly to SewHope, a Toledo-based non-profit that works among impoverished communities in northern Guatemala. This year’s event will include dinner, music, a silent auction, a raffle, and a special appearance by Dr. Murray Howe (son of hockey great Gordie Howe), who will be speaking on his recently published book, Nine Lessons I Learned from My Father.
SewHope began 11 years ago as an effort to bring quality health care and education to the Peten region of Guatemala. Dr. Anne Ruch, an OB/GYN in the Toledo area, had been leading short-term medical missions to Guatemala for many years and wanted to make a more lasting impact. She and her husband came together with a small group of people from Toledo to form SewHope. They soon discovered that cervical cancer was the leading cause of cancer death in young women there, and so prevention of this disease became a major priority of the organization.
SewHope now operates a clinic in Guatemala, screening for cervical cancer and providing women’s health care in a region where most women have never even heard of a Pap smear. Thanks to the screenings and early treatment, hundreds of women have been saved from an early death from cervical cancer. Dr. Ruch credits the success of their work to the enormous generosity and kindness of the people of Toledo.
As SewHope worked with these Guatemalan women and listened carefully to community feedback, more needs became apparent. SewHope’s operations also include an education program for school-aged children, an agricultural co-op for community women, and a public health initiative that supplies local families with safer, cleaner stoves in their homes. “We’ve found that women, in particular, are key players in a community’s wellbeing,” explains Rachel Easley, executive director of SewHope. “By educating girls, providing skills-training and economic opportunity to mothers, and helping women keep their bodies healthy and strong, we’re providing a foothold for the community to climb out of poverty.”
L.E.A.P. is SewHope’s major annual fundraiser—past events have been a great time, and this year promises not to disappoint. According to Gloria Buganski, L.E.A.P. chairperson, “L.E.A.P is an evening with friends to celebrate and support our efforts in Guatemala. There’s something for everyone. It’s always a lot of fun.”
An exciting addition to this year’s event will be speaker Dr. Murray Howe. The youngest son of the famed “Mr. Hockey,” Dr. Howe will be talking about his father’s influence in his life, and will be autographing copies of his new book, Nine Lessons I Learned from My Father. A few special items of Gordie Howe memorabilia will be available in the silent auction.
“Something for everyone” applies to the silent auction portion, as well; from artwork to gift baskets to golf outings, there’s a wide variety of items and experiences up for grabs. This year’s big-ticket auction item is a luxurious ocean-side vacation rental on Mexico’s Pacific coast, complete with a personal chef, household staff, private beach access, and a breathtaking view (more details available at www.SewHope.org).
Tickets for the event are $65 per person, or $600 for a table of ten. The event will be held on March 2, 2018, from 6:30 p.m. until approximately 10:30 p.m., at Parkway Place in Maumee. Tickets and more information are available online at www.SewHope.org.
Whether you’re a hockey fan, a silent auction connoisseur, or simply looking for a fun way to support a great cause, L.E.A.P. is the event for you. Mark your calendars for March 2nd!❦