In case you missed the 2012 Symposium held here in Washington, D.C., Erica Ruble presented a standing room only presentation alongside fellow co-chair Shelly Kozicki, and there was a good reason Erica and Shelly’s presentation was in demand — they not only know the facts of fundraising, they practice what they preach. Erica, for example is just coming off a very successful poker tournament, a now-annual event that plays the odds and doubles down in the search for a cure.
The 2nd Annual Lance S. Ruble Poker Classic took place on Saturday, May 12, 2012, with proceeds benefiting the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. The event was held in loving memory of Lance S. Ruble, Erica’s father, who passed away from mesothelioma almost four years ago. Erica, determined to make this event a success, rallied the support of not one but two communities. “I called on my friends in the meso and poker community to come together and support this great cause for an unforgettable night.” A professional poker event company was hired to run the tournament. There would be limited spaces available to play, but Erica made sure the event would be open to the public. The tournament was sold out with 40 players (each buy-in or cost to play for the card players was $100.00 with the option to re-buy or keep playing for $25.00), and over 100 people attended the event. For those not playing, raffles and a live auction were offered, with drawings every ten minutes. Local businesses and large corporations all contributed, and the items raffled and auctioned off were wide and varied. “We auctioned off a donated painting,” Erica said, looking back on the generosity of the event’s donors. “27 corporations or businesses in our community donated to the event. 1st place prize was a 2 night stay at Shula’s Hotel in Miami Lakes, Florida with a complimentary golf foursome. 2nd place was a 1 night stay at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Resort in Hollywood, Florida. 3rd place was a $500.00 gift certificate to Beverly’s Jewelers. All of these prizes were donated. The generosity still overwhelms me.”
Once the last card was dealt and the final bluff called, the 2nd Annual Lance S. Ruble Poker Classic tournament raised over $8,500 for the Meso Foundation. This was $1,500 more than last year’s tournament. “We chose poker because our friends and family enjoy playing poker,” Erica states. “My family wanted to bring everyone together for a good cause, and make it a really fun night out with friends and family.”
With their experience as the Foundation’s Fundraising co-chairs, Erica and Shelly have developed their own tips and techniques to offer the community when it comes to hosting a fundraiser:
- When you are choosing a fundraiser, pick something that your friends and family will want to participate in and is a good fit for your target audience.
- Don’t be afraid to ask businesses to donate to your event and also encourage them to attend. The worst a business can say is “No.”
- To make the event more personal, more poignant, find an event that can serve as a tribute to the loved one’s life. (The Rubles also host an annual roller hockey tournament as Lance Ruble was a roller hockey coach.)
- Time your events to coincide with significant days of your cause. (The Rubles host an annual walk for National Mesothelioma Awareness Day in September.)
“Most importantly,” Erica states, “don’t ever think you can’t make a difference. Our family has raised over $170,000 for mesothelioma research in honor of my dad, all going to research grants established in his name.” Whether it is a donation or a successful poker tournament like Erica’s here, it is all a step forward in finding a cure.
Whether it is to volunteer your time, participate, or simply make a donation, you can find out more about what meso fundraiser is coming up next by checking our website. The next event coming up for the Meso Foundation to raise awareness and funds for research is the “Ridin’ the Wind with Rob”, happening in Pekin, Illinois, on July 28. The event promises to be a mix-and-match of vehicular mayhem where participants will enjoy a group ride for a cure. Bikes, trikes, cars and all types of transportation — even rollerblades and skateboards — are welcome!
For more information and more upcoming events across the country, take a look at our events page on our CureMeso.org website.