THANK YOU

As you all know (or can read more about in previous blog posts, if you’re really bored), in November I published a coffee table book of Irish images taken on my 2013 trip, as well as galleries of images from Ireland and England to sell for the purpose of raising money and awareness for the Massachusetts Resiliency Center.  The Resiliency Center was set up by a government grant, for the purpose of aiding survivors of the 2013 Boston Marathon attacks with counseling, therapy, and financial support.  What I love about the Resiliency Center is that it’s for everyone; people that were injured, yes, but also those who were emotionally changed that day… first responders, survivors, their families, spectators, people of Boston who were affected and need help dealing with it now.  They are doing great work in helping to heal the city of Boston, and everyone from outside the city who was there that day.

 

A week or so after I self-published the book, my dad and stepmom came to Vermont for a weekend visit, and my stepmom asked me if I had thought about doing a press release.  Truth be told, I hadn’t… I was promoting a lot through social media, but I knew she was right; a press release would reach a broader audience, if it was well written and well executed.  Enter Jim Farrell, a contact of my stepmom’s; Jordan Von Trapp, my saucy travel writing friend and proofreader; and Tom McCarthy, husband of my friend Karen and a reporter in Cork city, Ireland.  Thanks to these three people, within a week I had a great press release written and released to news outlets all over western MA, Boston, and Ireland.  I can’t even tell you how much I lucked out.  Jim was great about perfecting the press release and getting it out quickly, Jordan helped me with some final edits, and Tom grabbed it and helped get it all over Ireland within a matter of hours.  It was unbelievable.  My A-team!  I can’t thank them enough.

 

I got a lot of support from my hometown area, a little support in Boston, and a ton of support in Ireland!  It felt great every time someone picked up this story, because it felt like what I was doing actually mattered.  I was so sad for so long when I returned from Ireland, and it was so great to feel like I had turned that into a positive.  Going through 22,000 photos had been a daunting task, and one that I wasn’t sure I would ever make it through, but I was proud to have followed through on my word and put together this donation.

 

Lastly, the support I got from all of you was beyond my wildest dreams.  My initial fundraising goal was $500… and you helped me surpass that within the first week of these things being public.  I thought maybe I would sell a couple copies of the book… and I sold 40.  Your amazing generosity helped me raise $1,200.00 for the MA Resiliency Center, and I could not be more grateful.  For those who had been following my growing amount on Facebook, you'll know this isn't the full number, which turned out to be just over $1,600!!!  Unfortunately, I found out from a whole handful of accountants (because I didn't believe the first 2 I asked, including my own) that I would be taxed on the amount raised, even though I was giving it to a charity.  I would like to state, on the record, that I think this is total BULLSHIT.  Unfortunately, it put me in a position to have to take the tax money out to cover myself, and they recommended taking 25% out for taxes, which is what I did, leaving the donation at $1,200.  I know this amount probably seems like a drop in the bucket when you consider how much care and treatment the people affected are going to need for the rest of their lives, but every little bit helps, and standing behind the city of Boston and everyone affected is so important.  By making a purchase and supporting them, you proved again that love can really drive out hate.  That love can win, over and over again.

 

I wanted to share some of the coverage the book received, as well as a selfie (clearly) of me with the check, which is now on its way to the MA Resiliency Center!  This check was drawn today, 2 years to the day that I left for my Ireland trip.  Very symbolic, no?  :)

 

 

 

IrishCentral is a media outlet I follow through Facebook, and before I even finished the press release, I had messaged them about my book and promoting it.  Kayla Hertz wrote to me immediately with some questions, and wrote a great piece about my trip.

 

 

 

The first outlet to pick up the story from the press release was the Boston City Biz List, which took the press release and put it on their website within an hour or two…

 

 

 

My hometown newspaper, The West Springfield Record, had done a story on me years ago when I first started my small business, and they supported me again by publishing this story about  my book…

 

 

The Irish Examiner picked it up the same day, with this great article from Denise O’Donoghue…

 

 

The editor of the Sligo Weekender tweeted at me about the story, and he also published it on December 4th….

 

 

It meant a lot to me to have this story published in the Cork News, where I spent a good chunk of time and where I still have good friends…

 

 

The website Evoke did a nice photo layout and story about my trip and the book….

 

 

The other big paper in my hometown area picked up the story and did a piece, and this was their MassLive version of that story...

 

 

The story was also covered by the Evening Echo, the Donegal Democrat and the Irish Daily Mail.  I wish I could share the PDF’s of those articles with you, as there’s no place to see them online, but unfortunately I would be violating copyright laws in Ireland if I shared them.

 

The other crazy thing that came out of this project and the press release… I did my first ever (and probably last ever lol) television and radio interviews!  I was interviewed by Emily Volz of WGGB 40 in my hometown of Springfield, MA, about the project and how it came about.  I was nervous and scared, but this was such a cool experience and I am thrilled I got a chance to do it.  You can see the full interview here…

 

http://wggb.com/wp-content/themes/wggb/vidplay.php?va_id=5545042

 

A few minutes after I left the television studio, I received an email through my website asking if I would like to be on a radio program out of Amherst, MA called Celtic Crossings. Louise was great to talk to about this endeavor and you can listen to the podcast here…

 

So there it is!  All the great coverage and support I received putting this book out there and helping raise the donation to the MA Resiliency Center.  I would not have raised anywhere close to this had it not been for doing the press release, so I sincerely thank everyone involved and everyone who picked up the press release and published it.  Most of all, above all else, I want to sincerely thank everyone who made a print or book purchase.  Your support and your contribution is what made this donation possible, and it means the world to me that you invested in this great cause by buying my photos.  I can't say it enough, but really... THANK YOU.

 

Boston Strong.