Then Saturday came, and it all began to roll in. First in the afternoon we get word that the shows were selling out. Then people arrived and start buying raffle tickets and bidding on auction items, and the thing just becomes this unstoppable force! It keeps rolling on until by the end of the night we've tallied somewhere in the $19,000-$20,000 range. Re-read that last sentence. I'll wait. Yeah, exactly.
There were so many great stories from the weekend. Here's just a sampling:
- Like the friend of ours who I booked to do a teambuilding workshop a month or so ago. He calls and says "Remember that check you gave me for the workshop? I'm tearing it up. Put it in the Billy fund."
- We did a huge media blitz before the show. The Friday, April 28th cover story on Billy in the Lawrence Journal-World. Great article, you should read it.
Jason and I are at Mix 93.3 on Friday morning promoting the show, and "Rocket" the morning DJ guy, gave us a CD of "Popo Zao" that was actually autographed by Kevin Federline. We then raffle that off at the show. Hilarious.
- Jason has one of my favorite lines of the weekend. He, Billy and I are at 98.9 The Rock promoting the benefit on Johnny Dare's morning show. Johnny was terrific, really interested in Billy's new leg, which is very high tech looking, with a clear shell part. The boys start talking about ways to decorate that and Johnny recommends filling it with water and goldfish. Billy mentions skittles. Jason says "Fill it in like a rainstick. Then people will be all 'Is it raining? No, it's just Billy doing crunches.'"
- Some amazingly generous people came to the show and bid on the auction items. We sold nearly everything! The auction itself accounted for about $10,000! It was helped by the brother and sister who got into a bidding war over the 2 tickets to next season's SNL Season Premiere. The sister won out in the end with a bid of $2200. So the brother tells Jason that if he can hook him up with 2 more tickets, he'll match his sister's bid. Done.
- My friend Ryan Dolan procured 4 VIP tickets to a taping of an episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. We live auctioned them from the stage. The bidding started at around $250, but quickly grew to $500. Then it ramped up past $600, then $700, then $800. I thought it was going to end up there, a nice sum certainly when a bidder finally yells out "$900!". Everyone cheers, there's a pause, and the same guy yells again "ONE THOUSAND!" I yell , "Sold!" and we get a cool grand by the man who outbid himself.
- Billy had probably the best idea which came to life at the benefit show. A few months back, Jason did a bit on SNL called "The Young Chuck Norris". It was one of those SNL Digital Shorts, and it was a video for a song. Jason played a character named Doug Brogar, the prototypical classic rocker with ripped jeans, long hair, American flag bandana, fingerless gloves, etc. It's a funny song which you can view here. So Billy has Jason email him an mp3 of the song a few weeks before the benefit so the band can learn it. And at the show, Blackpool Lights closes out their set by inviting Doug Brogar and his backup singers, The Liberty Belles, to the stage. Jason, accompanied by his wife Kay, Billy's girlfriend Ali, and Monique sing the Young Chuck Norris song, in full wig and costume. It was incredible! Here's a picture from the rehearsal:
I could go on and on. Suffice to say, the band sounded amazing, the comedy was hilarious, and everyone had a great time. We sold over 40 items in the auction and raffled off another 25 or so prizes. Along with donations that came in before the show, the overall amount raised for Billy is around $32,000 or so. And that number is growing. The website is still up, and online donations can still be made there. Though we've got enough to pay for Billy's prosthetic leg, there is still the enormous debt accumulated from a year of chemotherapy and surgery and hospital stays, etc. So feel free to keep donating!
Thanks again to everyone who volunteered, donated prizes, came to the show, performed in the show, bought tickets, promoted the event, bid on auction items, maintained the website, and overall gave of their time and effort and money to make an unforgettable night go from a crazy idea to a beyond-our-wildest-dreams reality.
P.S. - More pictures from the event are coming soon!