Incredible Weekend With The Burks FamilyNovember 16, 2010 by Bill Strong
Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of flying out to Kansas to meet the Burks family and attend their inspiring Climb4SMA kickoff event. It's never easy to leave Victoria and Gwendolyn -- and I so wish they could have gone with me -- but I was honored that Tony and Kristin Burks invited me to be part of their big event and I really wanted to go, meet them in person, and meet their son Jadon.
The Climb4SMA event was on Friday evening in Overland Park, Kansas right outside Kansas City and it was simply extraordinary. Truly. The location was exquisite. The setup was unbelievably professional. The silent and live auctions were extensive and impressive. The auctioneer and MC was perfect. The food was awesome. Their "Love Never Fails" video was touching. Kristin's personal speech was from the heart and polished and Tony's tribute poem/book about "the bug" (Jadon's nickname) was moving. And the band was great. It was perfect. Just perfect. The Burks didn't miss a single detail. Literally.
And the event was packed...jam packed...with hundreds of family, friends, and colleagues -- including Jim Baker who will be climbing all 22,840 feet of the highest mountain outside of Asia for the Burks Climb4SMA fundraiser -- all inspired by the Burks adorable son Jadon and his battle with SMA.You could literally feel the love, compassion, and support enveloping the Burks family by each and every person at the event. I've been to many fundraisers, but I've never felt anything like that before. It was surreal. It was wonderful. And it's something I'll never, ever forget. (Click here to read more on the Climb4SMA blog.)
The event was a huge success and I'm so proud of the Burks and what they are accomplishing. They are remarkable people and, although I wish it were under much different circumstances, I'm honored to know them and be connected with them.
On Saturday, the Burks invited me in to their home to have a Kansas BBQ (an aside...I absolutely LOVE BBQ!) and Tony's pork was amazing. And I finally got to meet Jadon. Jadon is simply adorable -- he has these beautiful, mesmerizing blue eyes. It was the highlight of my weekend to get to meet him and spend time with the Burks family. I learned about Jadon's favorite cartoon -- VeggieTales -- and we all had a blast chatting, laughing, exchanging war stories, and just having a great time together. The Burks are one of those special families that I feel so fortunate to be connected with. They are such warm, loving people completely dedicated to Jadon, his care, and his quality of life. We have similar outlooks and philosophies and they are so positive and focused in the face of such adversity. We just get one another. And that is special.
Thank you Burks family for such a wonderful weekend! It. Was. Awesome! And I can't wait to figure out how to get us ALL together. Jadon and Gwendolyn would have an absolute blast!