On December 1, 2011 Christine was awarded the first annual Howard Kelley Community Award by the Coginchaug Valley Education Foundation. The award was named in honor of the late Howard Kelley, former superintendent of schools for Regional School District 13. The award is given to "a community member who embodies the spirit of Howard's leadership in the community, particularly his devotion to volunteerism and education." Christine felt that this award was made even more special because she knew Kelley and knew how much he did for the community. Christine said that, "it's nice to be recognized by your hometown. None of this would be possible, really, without them. I'm hoping that by getting this award more people in town will get involved." The growth of After the Storm and the continuous increase in money that the organization raises is a tribute to Christine's tireless effort and dedication to her community.
Christine after receiving the Howard Kelley Community Award, seen here with her husband, Bruce, her parents and Howard Kelley's Wife, Renee and their daughter. Photo thanks to Martin Anderson.
On December 20, 2011 After the Storm made their annual donation to the Cancer Center at Middlesex Hospital. This years donation of $20,000 marks the largest donation from After the Storm yet.
After the Storm's donation will benefit the Cancer Center's Center for Survivorship and Integrative Medicine, which provides intergrative therapies such as massage, reflexology, yoga and Reiki to cancer patients, that are not typically covered by medical insurance. According to Pat O’Brien, the director of the CSIM, “Christine has been a powerhouse in raising funds for the Center. Because of her and the other members of the Foundation, the CSIM is able to provide the helpful benefit of integrative medicine services such as Reiki and reflexology to those breast cancer patients who might otherwise not be able to afford them. We are extremely grateful for everything that After the Storm, Inc. has done for our patients.”
The donation is all thanks to the annual Art Bra Fashion Show and Auction that is held every August. This year the event raised over $25,00 dollars with hopes to reach $35,000 in 2012.
Christine Willett, Betsey Maloney and Caitlan Callahan of After the Storm present a check for $20,000 to members of the Middlesex Cancer Center's staff, Meghan Burgess, Lisa Cull and Pat O'Brien.
On November 29th After the Storm stopped by MidState Medical Center to make a $2,500 donation to The Palladino Family Cancer Center. The cancer center plans to use this donation for it's Survivorship Symposium that will take place January 21st at The Augusta Curtis Cultural Center in Meriden. The event plans to provide a certificate for those who attend that will be redeemable for and integrative therapy of their choosing, including massage, yoga, Reiki treatment or reflexology.
For more Information visit The Palladino Family Cancer Center.
North Haven Health and Raquet held a Zumbathon on November 19th to support After the Storm! Light refreshments were served and raffle tickets were sold before the two hour workout. Over 50 people attended this fun Friday night workout. Different Zumba instructors took turns raising everyone's heart rate during the Zumbathon. A special thank you to Trudi and Chrissy for raising $1,045 for After the Storm!
On October 12th, the students and staff at Green Acres Elementary School, located in North Haven, celebrated their third annual Pink Day. Everyone wore pink to raise money for After the Storm. Students and staff were encouraged to donate $1 to wear anything pink. Some students dyed their hair, and others wore pink shirts, socks, shoelaces, and hats. At the end of the day, $609.90 was raised for After the Storm to help support integrative medicine programs for cancer survivors. Thank you, Green Acres!
In Honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Yolo Laser Center & Med Spa hosted a fun filled night with a specially designed spa menu, refreshments, and raffles. There were beauty demonstrations and deeply discounted treatments offered as well.
Raffles were held every 30 minutes and included; Juvederm, Chemical Peels, Laser Hair Removal, Jewelry by Bella Perlina, Teeth Whitening by Dr. Alan Friedler, Gift Basket from In’ O Scents, Gift cards from In a Flash and Salon Refuge.
100% of the raffle ticket sales, which totaled $320, benefited After the Storm, a charity that helps cancer survivors heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually during their diagnoses and treatements, as well as restore balance to their lives by supporting survivorship and integrative medicine programs.
Article Published in ASRT Scanner, December 2010/January 2011 Issue.
During the Empowerment Eleven conference, Anne Garland presented Christine Willett, President and Founder of After the Storm, with the Woman of the Year Award. Christine was invited to the conference to speak about her experience with cancer and subsequent life path of helping other survivors. The honor was a surprise for Christine, who was not told about it until her name was called! Anne said she picked Christine for the award because, as a young woman, “I was just so moved by her resilience, strength and courage. She is a role model for so many. An amazing group of people support her.” Local celebrity, Scott Haney from Channel WFSB, even donned the Ding-A-Ling bra before his closing keynote speech and got teh crowd on their feet! Anne donated 100% of the proceeds from the raffle, which totaled $315, to After the Storm to support integrative medicine services for cancer survivors.
Christine with Anne Garland and Scott Haney of WFSB
Second Annual Art Bra Show
August 2010 - After the Storm Inc. is ecstatic to announce that the Art Bra Runway Show 2010 at The Riverhouse made over $13,000 on the highly decorative bras that were auctioned off on August 19th! The evening began with heavy appetizers and mingling among the guests. Everyone was enjoying the terrific weather outside on the patio and unwinding from a long day at work. The show itself opened with Katie, age 6, and Chloe, age 2, Alsback serenading Christine Willett, President of After the Storm, with “Happy Birthday” and presented her with a cake in the shape of a bra. The girls were adorned in cupcake bras and walked the catwalk raising $300 on their bras. One by one, fifteen models and their awesome attire strutted the runway. Dr. Andrea Malon and Dr. Lisa Hull from Middlesex Hospital surprised the crowd when they came out wearing some of the bras from the show. However, “The Man Show” is really what got the crowd going. A group of six men donned specially made bras that reflected the Village People and danced a routine like you have never seen before! Since the crowd was so enthused, bidding continued very generously during the second half of the show.
Lisa Pichnarsik, an attendee, raved about the show, “I ended up buying the "construction worker" bra from the half time show! My mother-in-law would have loved it - she was an easy going, happy person who loved a good laugh. I showed the bra to my husband when I got home and he thought it was hysterical!! We've actually hung it in the garage so we can get a good laugh every time we come home from work.”
In addition, Lisa Uguccioni of the American Cancer Society loved the show too. “We all agreed that this was one of the nicest events we have attended. The enthusiasm from the staff at Middlesex and from After The Storm was incredible. As a group we took this project on as a "team builder" and we really had so much fun creating the bras.”
Plans are already underway for Art Bra 2011 on August 18th at The Riverhouse. If you would like more information about Art Bra, to make a donation or find out about volunteer opportunities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Second Annual Luau Breast Cancer Benefit at the Hitching Post Tavern
August 2010 - The Hitching Post Tavern hosted their Second Annual Luau on Saturday, July 31st. After the Storm was elected the beneficiary for the second year in a row! The party started at 11:30 a.m. and lasted into the wee hours of the morning. All the proceeds from the dunk tank and the concert raffle were donated to After the Storm. Many regulars and friends came down to the Post to be able to dunk their favorite bartenders. There was a constant line of people that donated money to be able to soak their friends. Nashville Drive, who kindly donated their performance, played at 1 p.m., and Arizona Maid Band played at 9 p.m. Both performances were awesome! In addition, Happy Days Vending and Mountain Spring Water donated the dunk tank and water. After the Storm would like to thank everyone that came out and participated in dunking their friends. The biggest thank you of all goes out to the owners and staff of the Hitching Post Tavern for supporting our goal of helping survivors along their journey of healing and recovery.
New Britain Rock Cats Fundraiser
July 2010 - In the sweltering heat, After the Storm held their Second Annual Rock Cats Game. Our president, Christine Willett, threw out a heater for a first pitch during the pre-game ceremony. After the Storm received a percentage of the tickets we sold. In addition, a raffle was held for amusement park passes, which included either a tattoo or face painting. At the end of the day, After the Storm made over $500! We would like to thank Jessica Johns, our very talented face painter and tattoo artist for donating her time and talent to our cause. In addition, we would like to thank Amy from the Rock Cats for making sure all of our needs were met before and during the game. It was a terrific day out for survivors and their families!
Wii Bowling 2010
February 2010 - After the Storm, Inc kicked off their one year anniversary with a Wii Bowling Fun Night at the Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center on Friday, February 19th. The purpose of this event was to allow survivors and their families to come to the center for a reason other than treatment.
Twelve teams of four registered for this family event and many extended family members came to cheer on their team. All ages participated from the very young to the young at heart. Words of encouragement and good advice were distributed throughout the evening, as well as hoots and howls from all teams.
Brad Sebean, Corey Nevers, James Sebean, and Joshua Tuck took home the distinction of being the first place team with over 1,500 points. Brad Sebean also attained first prize for the Top Individual Score of 234. Winners received gift certificates donated by Subway.
After the Storm has several fundraisers planned for 2010 to subsidize integrative medicine programs at the Center for Survivorship and Integrative Medicine at the Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center. On June 29, a golf tournament will be held at Lyman Orchards. In July, After the Storm will be selling tickets to a New Britain Rock Cat game with a portion of the ticket proceeds going back to the foundation. Art Bra will be held on August 19 at the Riverhouse in Haddam. If you are interested in volunteering, donating raffle items, or making a monetary donation, please visit our website at http://www.afterthestorminc.org/
After the Storm Inc. Donates $10,500 to Middlesex Cancer Center
After the Storm Inc. Donates $10,500 to Middlesex Cancer Center
November 23, 2009 - After the Storm Inc., a newly founded organization to help breast cancer patients and their familes, recently donated $10,500 to the Center for Survivorship and Ingergrative Medicine at the Middlesex Cancer Center.
After the Storm Inc. is committed to helping the survivor continue on the path from "Survival" to embracing "Living" again. After the Storm held many fundraising events to ensure that Connecticut residents are aware that there are support groups and programs to promote well-being after their diagnosis. The money will be used to help defray the costs of the intergrative medicine programs, such as yoga and reflexology. A portion of the donation will be set aside for scholarship money for survivors, determined by the hospital, who cannot afford to participate in the programs. All breast cancer patients will also recieve a free reflexology session. In addition, in 2010 the Couple Yoga and Gentle Massage class will be free of charge for Survivors.
In 2009, After the Storm held several fundraising events during their inaugural year. Through the many efforts to "spread the word", After the Storm is proud of their volunteers and breast cancer participants that have helped support the organization this year to make it a success through these statewide events. The annual events included a New Britain Rock Cats baseball game, a golf tournament, a clam bake, and the most talked about – Art Bra.
Plans are underway for the 2010 events, which will include a wiffle ball tournament and a bra making contest to be added to the list. After the Storm is always looking for volunteers at events, businesses to make a monetary donation, or items for raffle prizes.
For more information about After the Storm Inc. visit afterthestorminc.org or call 860-349-5936.
Autumn, A Season of Change
Lynn Halliday, November 2009
On a crisp, autumn night, October 5, 2009, the River House at Goodspeed Station was the site for Middlesex Comprehensive Breast Center’s Breast Event Night. The smiling faces of the volunteers were adorned in shawls weaved in a beautiful shade of pink. Comfort was in their eyes as they checked off our names and presented us with a large goodie bag.
The evening started out with literature and greeters in the front lobby and many hugs that followed. The elegance of the beautifully decorated tables in pink with pink Gerber daisies in coordinating vases completed the ambiance. Fr. McCann started the evening off with a prayer and blessings. Gary Havican, administrative director of the Cancer Center proceeded to discuss all of the new and exciting updates that Middlesex Hospital has done over the past year, which has led to it being accredited as a National Breast Center. The new marketing video was also introduced featuring some the hospital’s survivors.
Gary was followed by Dr. Andrea Malon who also to explained the new and advanced technology of the hospital and staff. She welcomed one of her own patient’s as one of the guest speakers. Christine Willett, founder and president of "After the Storm", presented her speech in a creatively adorned bra and cape that was embellished with "Save the Tatas". Christine spoke to the crowd of how she was first diagnosed. At the age of 30, in her 7th month of her second pregnancy, the fear every woman lives with, a lump was found. Her courage to have a mastectomy and deliver a healthy baby boy, Chase, made us realize how precious life is. Christine also let us travel these last 2 years with her on how she founded "After the Storm". It was announced that After the Storm will be donating $10,000 to the hospital. Christine’s speech was very emotional, not just for us, but for her too. We all felt the same feelings and our heart went out to her and her family. I know, because I have known Christine for over 20 years and I am very proud of her.
Christine was followed by another cancer survivor, the well known author of "Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy", Geralyn gave us a very personable and genuine recollection of her journey 14 years ago when she was diagnosed at the age of 27. Through her beautiful smile and direct eye contact with the audience, you felt she was just an individual hit with the emotional ride just like all of us. But the difference was that she was able to reach out to the millions across the world through her book and Lifetime movie. Geralyn had the courage to write her inner thoughts and add the common bond that we all found in our Breast Cancer Journey. She finished the conference with a "book signing" and "meet the author". All books were donated by Middlesex Hospital. She is still determined to help all of the breast cancer patients in her works with Lifetime. Be sure to check on her movie On Demand on Comcast for the month of October until November 2nd.
We look forward to another informative and inspirational event next year!
Clam Jam 09
August 27, 2009
Clam Jam 09 could not have had a more beautiful day! After the Storm, Inc was blessed with wonderful weather, hard working volunteers, and bands that worked together to entertain our Clam Jam guests for hours of fun. Shore Discount Liquors in Deep River provided the tasty beverages and Guilford Food Center provided the lobster, steak, hamburger/ hot dogs and tasty sides with Bruce the BBQ Master coming in for the save with more food to finish out our day.
A family fun event was held with the kids of all ages enjoying popcorn and snow cones. The Bosco family of volunteers entertained at the bubble station and rock painting table and two bounce houses, one donated by Read Amusements, kept the kids busy. We welcomed Deep River Congregational Church’s Teen Issues class, who sold ice cream and helped man the bounce houses, raffle table, and of course supported Cody of Jimmy Jive and the Uptown Five who opened our day with some great music. The Nut Megs followed with classic rock sounds and the day was closed out by our very generous friends the awesome band, The Lost 45’s, who not only donated their time but the sound equipment as well.
We are thankful for the bevy of vendors and crafters who also supported our event and provided some great products for shopping and raffle prizes as well.
After the Storm, Inc board members thank their friends and family members who worked very hard to get this event ready, set up, work it, and then clean it all up. It was a successful event introducing After the Storm Inc. to Deep River and the shoreline area, while raising awareness and funds for the integrative services provided via the Survivorship and Integrative Medicine Programs at Middlesex Cancer Center.
Art Bra 2009
August 26, 2009 - Art Bra 2009 was a huge success! Over $11,000 was raised on a beautiful evening overlooking the Connecticut River at the Riverhouse in Haddam.
The evening began with scrumptious hors d'oeuvres and mingling among the attendees. Everyone was curious about what the bras were going to look like, and many people huddled together to look through the Bra Books that were available on the tables. You could feel the anticipation and the electricity in the air!
The auction started off with Katie Alsback, age 5, modeling a sunflower bra and singing "You Are My Sunshine." She was accompanied on guitar by Cody Carver of Jimmy Jive and the Uptown Five. Katie had everyone on their feet and tears in their eyes. The auction started to rock after Katie’s performance. Beth Furuno got the crowd clapping and the bidding going! All of the models following her had terrific energy and provided plenty of laughs for the audience. Miss Connecticut 2008, Ashley Glenn, closed the show with the bra, "A Formal A Pair," with a bid of $500! Eleven lucky winners also received valuable raffle prizes and an Art Bra to take home.
A HUGE thank you goes out to Thomas Industries, Video Images, Carlos Julia and Mark Ludington, Dean Wentworth and Kevin Brady, Michael Benson Photography, Westfield Shopping Center, and Kelley Smith of the Riverhouse. Without these individuals, our success would not have been possible.
Fundraiser for Cancer Survivors (From WTNH - News Article)
(WTNH) - Christine Willett was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 30 and since then has worked tirelessly to raise awareness about the disease. She was inspired to create the non-profit foundation, After the Storm, to help assist cancer survivors heal from the aftermath of their diagnosis and treatments and help restore balance to their lives. To watch the video click here:"http://www.wtnh.com/dpp/on_air/gmc_weekend/news_wtnh_runway_show_to_benefit_cancer_survivors_200908080915"
The foundation's next fundraising effort will be August 20th at the Riverhouse at Goodspeed Station in Haddam. A group of brave local women will model these "art bra creations" on the catwalk to vibrant music to raise funds for cancer survivors.
Tickets are $40 in advance for the reception with heavy appitizers, dessert and pinktinis, starting at 6:30 pm.
Cocktail hour will incluse a chance to bid on silent auction bras. 25-30 bras will be modeled in the runway show that begins at 7:30 pm.
For more info: call Christing at 860-685-0698. If you would like to donate a bra, please email email@example.com
Rock Cats Baseball Game 09
After The Storm, Inc rocked their first official fundraiser on June 13, 2009 with the New Britain Rock Cats! The board of directors collectively sold more than 200 tickets to the game to honor our Founder and President, Christine, and those who weather the storm of cancer. Christine was given the honor of being the Hartford Courant’s Hometown Hero for her work with After the Storm, Inc. The following was read as Christine was honored:
"Christine started After the Storm Inc. with the dream of being able to help others heal after their ordeal. Because it is her story and her dream, Christine does the majority of the fund raising and foot work behind the scenes of After the Storm, Inc. This is in addition to being a full time 4th grade teacher in North Haven, a mom to two future baseball players, and a wife to Bruce. As members of her board of directors, we are all honored to be a part of her dream and are so proud to be working by her side and to be her friend. She is our children’s godmother, our mentor, and our leader. We honor Christine today for all she has endured, all she has done to help others, and all she has yet to accomplish."
Christine then had the opportunity to throw the first pitch, and her practice must have paid off as the ball glided easily over home plate! Pre-game events wrapped up with the announcers inviting the crowd of more than 4,000 to visit the After the Storm, Inc table where we auctioned off Rock Cat Tickets, a signed team ball, a Rock Cat’s t-shirt, and tickets to Clam Jam coming up in August. Joining us in support for After the Storm, Inc was internationally awarded face painter and artist "Z" Leach, who entertained the crowd with her singing, dancing antics, and of course face painting and glitter tattoos.
The After the Storm board of directors thanks The New Britain Rock Cats for the fundraising opportunity, publicity, and chance to honor Christine and spread the word about After the Storm. We also would like to thank Z for her continued work with After the Storm. And last but not least we thank our family and friends for supporting us during this busy season of fundraising, coming out to the game, and generally supporting the After the Storm efforts. We could not do it without all of you!
Holiday items for sale through December. All proceeds are donated to After the Storm inc. Please call Lynn Halliday at 860.304.6577 to place an order!