3 Generations take NYC

I am back in Rochester after a wonderful trip to Philadelphia and NYC. My mom and I did a planes, trains and automobiles adventure. It was our first time traveling together without baggage... I mean, husbands or children... :)

I had planned a "Galentine's" adventure that included some time at Drexel with Erin and her roommates, an overnight with mom's brother Brian and wife Julie in Buck's County, PA, and then an Amtrak ride to NYC for sightseeing, and, a chance to see the musical, Hamilton, on Broadway.

Despite all the hype and anticipation - Hamilton exceeded my expectations. I did my best not to sing along with every word. If you ever get the chance, go see it.

We had two days to enjoy NYC. Erin and I introduced Grandma to Uber and subway travel around Manhattan. We also walked 7 miles one day and 8 miles the next, checking out Central Park, shopping on 5th avenue, and enjoying an authentic Italian dinner in Little Italy. At 74, Grandma Gwen was more than up to the challenge. I'm so grateful for her good health and adventurous spirit.

The trip came at a great time for Erin. She's in the midst of a tough quarter of classes and a gray, winter season. A weekend away with two of her biggest fans was good for the soul. We laughed a lot and talked about life and dreams and goals, and reminded her that she doesn't have to have the world figured out at age 18. (She's still only 18!) She's still loving Drexel and has a great group of friends. I was glad to get to drop into her world for a first hand look.

I came out of the weekend reminded of the importance of the mother-daughter relationship. I am lucky to get a good draw on both sides of that equation. Being with my own mother reminds me that once a mother, always a mother. She still worries about me, in the same way I worry about Erin. We want to make the stresses and the hurts soften. We want to celebrate the successes and shout the accomplishments from the rooftop. 

One of the best things we can do for our daughters is lead by example. I do my best. I know my mom does, too.

"Here's to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them." 

Shannon Cup and Scholarship Night

January has come to a close... it's always one of the best and worst months of the year for us. We start off with the holiday hangover and the anniversary of Shannon's death, which always coincides with sending Erin back to school each year. That's a double whammy for this mom.

But, the month gets busy with our hockey fundraisers and the Shannon Cup, and it culminates in our annual scholarship night.

The Shannon Cup was a huge success once again. We had the great pleasure of meeting and talking with youth girl's teams from Farmington, MN, Des Moines, IA, Appleton, WI and many places in between. All in all, 24 teams featuring 300 girls came to Graham Arena and the majority of them visited our merchandise table and left with a Shannon O'Hara Foundation hoodie, hat, or t-shirt.

We love getting to meet these girls and share Shannon's story. We tell them about her love of hockey, but more importantly, about her love of team and friends. We try and spread a message of kindness. It's our small attempt to make a difference and make the world a better place.

The Rochester teams have embraced the Shannon Cup as their own, doing fundraising for the foundation. Two teams in particular this year, raised money through events and raffles.

The 12B Black girl's team presented us a check for $1,478. They were so proud to donate.

The 15A team, with girls who were playing in their last Shannon Cup before making the move to HS hockey, raised $4,001!

Mixed in amongst the Shannon Cup were two chances for the high school girls teams to support the foundation as well. The Lourdes girls held a Shannon night and donated three separate checks. Here are the words they shared:

Our first check represents the efforts of kids who are the same age as Shannon was during her playing days. During every home game, we have parents who purchase pucks and look for young kids to Chuck a Puck for Shannon. $110 represents their winning so far this year.

Our second check is a token of thanks from parents whose older daughters had the privilege of playing hockey with Shannon. The experience their daughter gained by being able to follow Shannon's journey has provided them with a sense of courage and appreciation that has been invaluable in their lives. This check is for $500.

Our third check is from the Lourdes High School Girls Hockey Family. It is an acknowledgment of how vital the Shannon O'Hara Foundation is not only for girl's hockey in Rochester but as an example to the entire hockey community of the difference one person can make in helping others. This check is for $999.99.

The number 9 represented in such a meaningful way.

The three public schools also did their part to support the SOF. Not only did the Mayo and Century girls teams volunteer all weekend at the merchandise table, Century, Mayo and John Marshall held their own Shannon night, coming together to donate $1,675.

The reason for all this fundraising? To give back. To make a difference in Shannon's memory and help local kids fund their education. Scholarship night is the chance to say thank you to the community and to recognize a few local kids for their efforts.

This year, 4 students were awarded $2,500 each toward their post-secondary education. Corrin Hanson (Lourdes), Megan Andrist (Century), Max Cothern (Mayo), and Sam Williams (Century) are the 2020 Shannon O'Hara Memorial Scholarship recipients.

And that's a wrap. We're exhausted but heartened by the events of the last month. We get to spend the month watching kids play hockey and reminiscing about Shannon's favorite times at the rink. In a world that's sometimes hard and cold, we are lifted up by the support from others. Acts of kindness always make a difference, so thank you to every person who donated a dollar or bought a t-shirt.

The Shannon O'Hara Foundation is going strong. We couldn't do it without you.