Change Happens….

Change happens…I get it…but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Six years ago my mom and I had a meeting with Dave at our local Starbucks.

When I met Dave I was nine years old and I was on crutches because I had dislocated my knee (again). We briefly talked about my latest injury and then started talking about Celebrate Virginia Live (CVL) and its benefactor Project 324.

Dave created Project 324 and wanted to talk to me about being involved. I told him how much music means to me. Throughout my medical journey music has been my constant. It cheers me up, it pushes me, it comforts me, and it inspires me. I enjoyed listening to him talk about his ideas for Project 324, and how he wanted to bring art and music together to enrich our local community and beyond. His dream quickly became mine, and I brought my mom along for the ride.

From the first day I stepped foot on the field at CVL, I was welcomed into the CVL family. Through the years, I went from being the little girl who introduced the National Anthem Singers and Young Marine Color Guard, to the young lady who was the face of Project 324 and an expert golf cart driver.

I have always loved lending my voice to my medical charities, especially Children’s Hospital Foundation and Children’s Miracle Network of Richmond. Through Project 324 I had an opportunity to blend my love of giving back to my medical community and the artist community.

CVL was my second home. There I was just “Megs” the Jr. Officer in Command. I was not Megan “who has medical challenges”. I was never seen as different. I was included in everything from setting up to shutting down and all the craziness in between. I have literally grown up on that field.

I learned so much from my CVL family. Each year I was included in more and more. My favorite was the community outreach. We held a Music Farm to collect used instruments to refurbish them and gave them back to the local schools, we sponsored music therapy camps for children who had lost a loved one, we upgraded patrons “to make someone’s summer”, we held logo contests, gave back to local schools, promoted local voice talent searches, but most importantly I loved working with the radio stations to promote local artists.

Project 324 provided a venue for local artists to showcase their talent. Project 324 gave opportunities to kids, teenagers, young adults, and community music group’s time on stage to sing our National Anthem.

Project 324 had an awesome internship program. Our interns have gone on to do some amazing things. They now hold jobs as event coordinators, community relations assistants, social media consultants and public relations.

This week has been bittersweet for me. CVL has been renamed to Celebrate Virginia After Hours (CVAH) and is under new management. Change is hard, but I am happy our community still has concerts in their back yard.

I will miss the joy and excitement of transforming a field into a concert venue. I will miss the anticipation as the gates open for that first show. I will miss the high fives and sighs of relief when the headliner takes the stage, but most of all I will miss my CVL family.

Dave, Peter, Nate, Dawn, Ray, Kelly, Emma, Ashleigh, Savannah, Hayley, Fran, (all the Matt’s), Christal, Jeremy, Edwin, Tiffany, Thunder Crew, DJ 2 Much, Sharon, WFLS, and everyone I have missed. Thank you for being a part of my life. Thank you for always being there. Thank you for never treating me different. Thank you for loving me and my family. Change may happen, but you will always be a constant in my life.

As Dave would say….the show must go on

As Peter would say….that’s a wrap

Love, Megs

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Bret Michaels IS something to believe in!

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I have been very fortunate in my role as Junior Officer in Command at Celebrate Virginia Live to meet some wonderful artists. I have enjoyed sharing their stories on my blog and how they have used their success to pay it forward.

Last night was one of the first times I actually became emotional when meeting an artist. When I met Bret Michaels I felt my eyes fill with water and a lump form in my throat. We have both been through similar things medically and just sharing that bond and talking about friends and family with diabetes overwhelmed me. I think if he had time we would have talked for hours. He gives big hugs that just make you feel comforted.

My mom summed it up and said, “He is truly genuine”. I had to ask her what that means. She explained that it means you believe in the message you are spreading and really care about the impact you are making and the people you are touching.

Every winter my Children’s Hospital /Children’s Miracle Network of Richmond holds a Radio-A-Thon. Last year Darius Rucker and The Band Perry gave me items to donate to the silent auction. I was thrilled when Bret Michaels signed a “Chance Dog” for this year’s event. Bret said he was touched I was thinking of others.

I know a lot of people think I am “lucky” because I attend all these concerts and stand on stage with the radio stations, but for me it is about bringing the community together. It’s about giving back and being thankful for all I have been through. I can bring awareness. I have a VOICE that needs to be HEARD!

That is why Project 324 is important to me. Project 324 is about bringing the arts and the community together. Giving kids a chance to live a dream by getting on stage and singing the National Anthem, or a local band getting a venue to showcase their music. Project 324 is about paying it forward. Giving those in our community a chance to use their talents to make a difference in the world. Helping a filmmaker finish that film, providing a scholarship for a child to take music lessons, sponsoring a sports team, or inviting local charities to spread their messages. Every person who comes out to a show is part of making a difference.

Rocking out an RV with Bret is still on my “Bucket List”, but I am not lucky I am blessed that I am part of a family at CVL that allows me to help pay if forward and promote the spirit of giving back to our community through Project 324. You are never too young to make a difference.

Love,

Megs

“How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment; we can start now, start slowly changing the world!” – Anne Frank (diary entry, 1944)

Spring has Sprung!

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Time to start getting busy. I love Spring. The weather is just right. Not hot, not cold. This also means charity season will be in full force. I love raising awareness. I truly believe this is my calling. I like bringing people together. I plan on blogging a lot about my events. My blog is called “Megs in the ‘burg” because I am a local girl who wants to highlight the great things our community has to offer.  I hope you will share this blog and also follow me on twitter.

Celebrate Virginia Live is not only a great concert series they support the “ARTS” through the charity Project 324. One of the projects they are supporting is a local Fredericksburg Filmmaker, Paul Lewis, and his Kickstarter campaign to make a movie called “Ford Madox Ford: A Man Mad About Writing”.  I also had an earlier post about the PBS Online Film Festival “Live Art”. It is very important we keep the arts alive. It must be encouraged and never discouraged. Everyone keeps asking me if I know who is coming this concert season. I won’t know until you do. I know the suspense is killing you, but I have no doubt the CVL team will bring another amazing season for 2013.

I do know we have some new sponsors that you should check out. One is Legends Sports Grille. This is my kind of sponsor because I love food. Especially MAC and CHEESE. Legends is an authorized ticket vendor for Celebrate Virginia Live. If you have a business that is interested in being a sponsor for the 2013 concert season, go to the CVL website and sign up.

If you have been following me for awhile you know I am a patient at Children’s Hospital of Richmond/VCU. I love giving back to the hospital. Many don’t realize that Children’s Hospital has a satellite location here in Fredericksburg. I help raise awareness for ALL medical conditions and Children’s Miracle Network of Richmond. Next week we have a meeting to kick off the fundraising season.

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I hope that you all will enjoy my postings. If you have a local business and would like a shout out, let me know.

Love……Megs ♥

Summer Wrap Up

Summer is coming to a close and the last few weeks have been wonderful. I wrapped up the Celebrate Virginia Concert Series. I can’t wait until next year. If you missed it check out the CVL Rewind at Fredericksburg Live. I love being apart of Project 324.

After the last show, I headed down to Florida to see my family. I really enjoyed singing for my grandma. My Pop was moving along great. I am glad he is doing better. I was really scared after his stroke last year.

I went on an airboat to check out the alligators. Well…it is the scariest thing EVER. Watching Gator Boys or Swamp People on TV is one thing, having the gator swim up to your boat and you are inches off the water is another. I crossed it off my bucket list and do not need to do that again. We also went to the Miami Seaquarium. I really love dolphins. I didn’t get to swim with them, but It was exciting to see dolphins performing with a Killer Whale. It was a very hot day. I was glad to get back and go swimming with my cousin. I pretty much spent the whole week in the water. I love to swim. My Aunt said we were developing gills. We watched a lot of Olympics.

Last weekend I participated in the Feature Film “Senior Prank”. I was part of the Homecoming scene. I am very proud of this movie because it is about anti-bullying. I have been bullied in the past and I think it is very important to spread awareness. Some kids think that picking on someone else and calling it “joking” is not bullying. Well it is!  Grandma says, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”.

My brother leaves for college this week. I know we fight a lot but I will really miss him. My mom is going to be a wreck. It will be fun to visit him through the year. I can’t believe 6th grade is only 2 weeks away. I am a little nervous, but I will power through.

Fall starts the busy season for fundraising. Children’s Hospital Foundation and Children’s Miracle Network have several fun events planned.

 I encourage everyone to take a virtual tour of Children’s Hospital of Richmond. Remember…“Every Dollar Makes a Difference”

 More to come….

Megs

Miracle Treat Day at Dairy Queen

Yesterday was Miracle Treat Day at Dairy Queen stores all over the country. Proceeds of $1 or more from every Blizzard treat purchased at participating DQ stores were donated to Children’s Miracle Network.

I was invited by Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) of Richmond  to visit the Dairy Queen, located at 5115 Mudd Tavern Rd, Thornburg, VA, to partake in a Blizzard treat.

Imagine my surprise when I walked in and it was a party in my honor. I was so touched. I was named the Champion Child for that location. I was greeted by the owners, managers, staff and a giant inflatable Oreo blizzard. They showered me with gifts and made me the superstar of the day. Rachel and Amy from CMN Richmond came and bought my family a Blizzard treat and shared in my special day. They were spending the day traveling all over honoring Champion Children and their families.

Their energy makes me want to work harder at being an advocate and encouraging people to make a difference.

For the record, a Cookie Dough Blizzard makes for an excellent lunch!

Big Success for Children’s Miracle Network!

Megs at the LemonAID Stand Weather and last minute scheduling conflicts could not keep us down!  We managed to raise $681 for Children’s Miracle Network over the two days of the LemonAID stand fundraiser.  I’m really happy about that.

My mom and I were out there all day, and even though most people were happy to donate without accepting a drink, we still managed to run through our entire supply.  I want to thank everyone that came out to support the cause!  Your donations will help bring some happiness into the lives of some very sick children.