Get your hankies ready, friends, because this is a love story.
Roy loves Julie. Shortly after they were married when Julie was 23, she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. She had been improperly diagnosed and treated for various health issues her whole life until one day she has a name and prognosis for a disease that 50 years ago didn’t let most children ever live to see kindergarten. For years, this was a private struggle. I first met Julie & Roy when I worked as an event director for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. They would attend galas and as Roy says, we did what we thought our part was.
Starting about a year ago, Roy knew he had to do more, feeling that God has a different plan for how he can turn his love for Julie into something big. He started Julie’s Dream Team.
At first, it started out as friends and family raising funds as a team for the Great Strides walk but Roy knew that was just the beginning.
Starting with an event last July at the Highlands Bearno’s, Roy and all their friends and family have put on a series of events including nights out at Buffalo Wild Wings, Belterra, Pat O’Brien’s on the San Antonio River Walk (where they made 125% in sales of the previous highest grossing night), a poker run and other events. I’ve been to some of these events – at least the ones where you can actually walk in the door. Julie’s Dream Team knows how to pack out a restaurant and do so for hours – like, until the beer is ready to just run out. At first, Roy said he had to ask and be turned down for fund-raising events. But, the Dream Team has really hit the big time with sponsorship from Papa John’s.
In mid-November, local corporate-owned Papa John’s stores started giving 20% of sales back to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation on Mondays when the code CURECF was used when ordering. Once again, the power of Julie’s Dream Team and friends and family of the CF cause came through. Papa John’s knows its ordering system is flawed and they have very few stores participating – however, more than $3,000 has been raised through this deal representing more than $30,000 in pizza sales. This is kind of a drop in the bucket for a Fortune 500 Company, but Papa knows this is not the real value of Julie’s Dream Team and the now 1,600 Facebook followers — not to mention the friends and family of 30,000 CF patients in the US. They’re currently working on perfecting their referral system and online code whirlygigs so that they can launch a nationwide day of sponsorship.
Roy feels that there are too many people depending on the success of Julie’s Dream Team and the CF Foundation for it NOT to be successful. As he says, “This has my wife’s name on it so it had better be good.”
JDT has already raised about $40,000 in the past year. The real dream is that he can inspire people to come out and enjoy their life by having a beer – and “if by living and enjoying your life, you can help some one else live theirs,” all the better. His only goal has ever to been to talk to more people about CF and grow support through the simple act of having a good time with friends. You really can make a difference in the life of another person. Just by drinking some beer.
THIS is real grassroots in Louisville. On a personal note, I am so happy to share this story of love on the week of my cousin’s 2nd anniversary of her lung transplant. She is known as The Fighter – even has the tattoo to prove it. But the fight for her and so many is not over. Transplants are a gift and a miracle, but lung transplants are not cures. CF has been in my family for generations and I know that Julie’s Dream is my dream, too.