Donations triple expectations during auction event
Help Blake Beat Burkitt's
Donation jars at the ready for the Help Blake Beat Burkitt's Fundraiser. Bartenders also donated their wages and tips. Photo by: Brett Williams[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_0340-copy.jpg]500
Mac and Cheese was loved by all, donated by Noodles & Company. Photo by: Brett Williams[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_0320-copy.jpg]410
Help Blake Beat Burkitt's T-shirts were very popular. Photo by: Brett Williams[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_0306-copy.jpg]400
Even the Atomic Koi worked to provide a welcoming atmosphere. Photo by: Brett Williams[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_0360-copy.jpg]320
The calm before the silent auction storm. Photo by: Brett Williams[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_0308-copy.jpg]310
Organizers fly about preparing for the Help Blake Beat Burkitt's Fundraiser. Photo by: Brett Williams[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_0326-copy.jpg]310
Blake's aunt Stacy Laufenberg Schmidt painted faces for the cause. She was quite busy. Photo by: Brett Williams[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_0378-copy.jpg]310
Photo by: Brett Williams[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_0399-copy.jpg]330
Blake (right) with his father Kevin and cousin (left). Photo by: Brett Williams[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_0416-copy.jpg]270
Photo by: Brett Williams[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_0449-copy.jpg]300
Blake Rickert who is also known as "SuperBlake" for the way he has endured his treatment by smiling through it all. Photo by: Brett Williams[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_0467-copy.jpg]250
Photo by: Brett Williams[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_0499-copy.jpg]280
Blake and father Kevin (left). Photo by: Brett Williams[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_0505-copy.jpg]310
A WKOW-Madison reporter works on a report about the Help Blake Beat Burkitt's Fundraiser. Photo by: Brett Williams[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_0547-copy.jpg]250
Balloon guy was only second in popularity to Blake. Photo by: Brett Williams[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_0556-copy.jpg]230
Lead organizer Kristina Miller won praise for her work in planning the event. Photo by: Brett Williams[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_0574-copy.jpg]290
Reflections on a great effort by the organizers Caitlin Waldhart and Kent Miller. Photo by: Brett Williams[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_0624-copy.jpg]240
Blake Rickert with his grandfather (right) and an unidentified family member. Photo by: Brett Williams[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_0677-copy.jpg]340
Atomic Koi organizer Hawk Sullivan likened the pace strength of the crowed to New Years Eve. Photo by: Brett Williams[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_0803-copy.jpg]200
Organizer Kent Miller models a Help Blake Beat Burkitt's Fundraiser t-shirt. Photo by: Brett Williams[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_0818-copy.jpg]230
Photo by: Brett Williams[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_8294.jpg]210
Photo by: Brett Williams[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_0892-copy.jpg]270
Organizers Kris Prusynski (left) and Brett Williams (right) with an attendee. Photo courtesy: Brett Williams[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_0911-copy.jpg]220
Photo by: Brett Williams[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_0953-copy.jpg]180
Kevin Rickert. Photo by: Brett Williams[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_8267.jpg]190
Caitlin Waldhart prepares a UW Tailgate Experience auction package for display.[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_8269.jpg]180
Help Blake Beat Burkitt's Fundraiser auction item.[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_8275.jpg]330
Help Blake Beat Burkitt's Fundraiser auction item.[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_8276.jpg]440
Help Blake Beat Burkitt's Fundraiser auction item.[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_8283.jpg]270
The fully stocked beer cooler bid sheet was well-trafficked.[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_8302.jpg]180
Help Blake Beat Burkitt's Fundraiser auction item.[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_8307.jpg]300
Help Blake Beat Burkitt's Fundraiser auction item.[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_8335.jpg]260
The Atomic Koi party on through the afternoon.[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_8351.jpg]160
Gold with Bob Lindemeier fetched $300[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_8359.jpg]160
These custom cupcakes from Cupcakes-a-go-go were go-go-going and gone within an hour.[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_8364.jpg]190
Help Blake Beat Burkitt's Fundraiser auction item.[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_8372.jpg]610
Help Blake Beat Burkitt's Fundraiser auction item.[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_8383.jpg]470
A young attendee is entranced by the Atomic Koi.[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_8399.jpg]140
Blake's mom Jill Rickert.[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_8371.jpg]150
Help Blake Beat Burkitt's Fundraiser auction item.[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_8417.jpg]170
Stacy Laufenberg Schmidt pressed her daughter into service at the t-shirt, bracelet and tattoo table.[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_8419.jpg]500
Brett Williams and Kevin Rickert.[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_8426.jpg]180
Some bidders phoned a friend.[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_1013-copy.jpg]370
Blake Rickert.[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_8376.jpg]280
Help Blake Beat Burkitt's Fundraiser auction item.[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_8434.jpg]220
Patrick Rogne was tireless as a greeter at the entrance, doling out door prizes and managed to distribute two difficult items: Two patio umbrellas.[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_8301.jpg]190
Help Blake Beat Burkitt's Fundraiser auction item.[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/help-blake-beat-burkitts/thumbs/thumbs_img_8438.jpg]160
Gallery photos by Brett Williams and Willy Street Blog
Nearly three months ago, when organizers started planning the Help Blake Beat Burkitt’s fundraiser, they never thought they would nearly triple their even most ambitious monetary goal. But thats what happened when approximately 200 people packed the Atomic Koi in Fitchburg for four hours Sunday (April 27) and raised through a silent auction, raffle and donations $13,591 to help offset the cost of 4-year old Blake Rickert’s successful treatment of Burkitt’s Leukemia.
The star of the event was Blake himself who got permission to leave the hospital for a few hours to attend the fundraiser. Despite fighting an illness all week, he was all smiles as he connected with friends and family and was fascinated, as were all the kids in attendance, by the “Balloon Guy”, who fashioned balloon figurines. Other kid favorites included face painting by Blake’s Aunt Stacy Laufenberg Schmidt and temporary tattoos of the “SuperBlake” logo.
What is interesting about the effort is that the committee of around eight to ten people reached out to businesses they knew as well as drafting a simple fundraising letter to send when cold calling those businesses and organizations they didn’t.
Seeking a few big ticket items as well as lots of smaller gift certificates, the committee grouped the items into packages tailored for a wide range of budgets; because frankly disposable income is still hard to come by just a few short years after the great recession.
“A total of 165 items, including food were donated from about 105 local businesses and 34 individuals and families.” said lead organizer Kristina Miller.
Many of the attendees were friends and family and just about all the auction items were snapped up. The remaining were distributed through a raffle which featured quite a few good prizes as well. Prior to the event, a fund at Associated Bank had been collecting donations all along.
Helping the fundraiser outperform expectations was Atomic Koi owner Hawk Sullivan who also served on the planning committee. In addition to providing the space, Sullivan also pledged that all money collected through bar sales would go straight to the Rickerts, donating the cost of labor and product dispensed.
In addition, the processing fee for all credit card transactions from drinks and to process payment for the auction items was absorbed by Sullivan. He was assisted behind the bar by his wife Natasha and employee Saul Castillo (who also participated in the planning). The Sullivan’s and Castillo donated their wages and all tips to the cause.
In characterizing the crush of people at the event, Sullivan remarked that the bar was so busy it was “like New Years Eve”.
While not all benefits in the future may have access to a facility owner who is willing to host an event on such generous terms; the effort serves as a blueprint for others who may not have deep connections or large budgets.
The key ingredient for the success of this event seemed to pivot on the passion of the Rickert’s friends and family as they focused hard on planning and maximized their resources. Blake has stayed focused too. He as just one more maintenance treatment to go and prospects are good that he will remain cancer-free in the future.
The HBB fund, which can accessed at any Associated Bank branch, is still accepting donations; just reference the Blake Rickert Fundraiser. Checks can be made payable to “Blake Rickert Fundraiser.” Receipts available upon request.