what-is2

 

History

The Olivia Davis Foundation was founded on Thanksgiving Day of 2008.  The foundation was started by friends and business partners of The Bruce Davis’ family. Bruce is one of the co-creators of the Kids Bowl Free SM program.  Bruce’s daughter Olivia had been diagnosed with Rasmussen Encephalitis (A Very, Very Rare Disease that robs your child of her mind, then physical abilities, the one that destroys half of your child’s brain, essentially destroying who they are.)  You’ll be able to read the entire story below about the families struggles both emotionally and financially.

Bruce and his wife Steph have both been long time entrepreneurs and self employed.  Many of us that are self employed entrepreneurs struggle to ask for help for anything.  We are confident in our abilities to move mountains, look at problems and find unique solutions, take what most people would consider a failure and learn lessons from the “failure” to enjoy future successes.  We struggle to even ask for help getting simple errands done as we don’t want to feel like we “owe” anyone.

Bruce and I are business partners and almost like “family”.  There were times that Bruce and I would talk via telephone 5, 10 or 15 times a day as the 3 year struggle in the story below escalated.  Many times we would talk and Bruce would tell me about the all night sessions staying up next to Olivia in the hospital making sure that when she had a seizure he or Steph was there for her.   The nights that they had to sleep with kitchen timers and medicine in ice next to their bed, awaking at just the right time to give Olivia shots.  The medicine needed to be just the right temperature and given at just the right time.

They as a family needed to move from their home to a rented apartment in Miami so that Olivia would be near the Miami Children’s hospital for her many procedures.  This meant moving their other children (Natalie and Ever) away from their friends. Changing schools and being introduced to an entire new culture.

My Daughter Presley & I

Bruce & Steph through the entire process remained incredibly strong. I am not sure how they did it.  As the parent of a healthy 5 year old daughter I counted my blessings each and every day…you never know when it may be you!  

As you might imagine the cost of an illness like this is ASTRONOMICAL (into the MILLIONS) and of course insurance doesn’t cover many of the expenses for a case like this.  Bruce & Steph NEVER complained once about the situation (even though it would be easy to do).  They just kept their focus on making sure that Olivia was taken care of, their other children could get to school and participate in school activities and keep their business alive and some how still make it through each day.

Bruce had explained to many people that he didn’t want them to have fundraisers or events to help with the mounting medical bills.  Like I said earlier as an entrepreneur we struggle to ask for help when we need it, even though we’re more than willing to give a helping hand when we have a friend in need.  It’s just the way we are wired I guess.

Bruce has been a mentor of mine for a long time, business partner and he had recently helped me through a few of my own struggles.  A partnership gone bad, a divorce and he was instrumental in helping me conquer a battle with drinking.  I can still remember his words loud and clears “Darin it’s time for more thinking and less drinking”…it’s been 3 years and 4 months dry since then!

So after 3 long years I couldn’t sit still any longer.  I decided to ignore Bruce’s request that we not help his family. I organized a fundraiser that was offered up to some of Bruce’s bowling center clients and a few select close friends.  This was a simple donation request and I wanted to deliver it to the family on Thanksgiving.

So it was born!  On Thanksgiving Day I was able to fax over a letter to Bruce’s family with over $10,000 of donations and then a month later obtain a single $5,000 donation (which actually launched the foundation).  This was obviously just a drop in the bucket, but it helped on the most pressing bills and the bill collectors that were calling many times each day.  In typical Davis’ family class they immediately that day helped out one of their new friends they had met at the Miami Children’s Hospital.  The family that Bruce helped out that day is struggling even more than Bruce’s family.  The guy was desperately in need of money just to put new tires on his rusted out pick up truck, so that he could continue to drive  his 22 year old daughter (that’s the size of an infant) to dozens and dozens of Dr. visits.

I knew that Bruce would feel awkward receiving assistance.  To make sure that he would take the assistance, that I knew he needed I made a promise to him that when this passes he, his family and I would use our talents and knowledge to raise funds for the Miami Children’s Hospital where his daughter spent a great deal of time, and other families that have been affected by Epilepsy.

Bruce and his family as you’ll read below are on the road to recovery… slow but sure.  It’s been quite a difficult, strange and awkward experience to be involved with.  Olivia Davis is an inspiration to me.  Anytime that I think I’m having a tough day I remember what this young girl has been through over the past 4 years.  Having her ability to walk and run taken away, yet she has a determination to get back up on her feet.  She’s had part of her vision taken away, yet she doesn’t see anything but blue sky and sunshine.  Olivia’s ability to use her left hand potentially taken away forever, yet she was playing basketball with her friends at school just 30 days after having the right half of her brain removed.  I was fortunate to be on vacation at their home the day when she came home talking about playing basketball.  It was moving just to listen to this young lady who has had so much taken from her yet she’s so very courageous.  Olivia is one of the most unique, tough and inspirational people that I’ve ever met.

As bad as the Davis Family situation was there are many families that have no hope to recover, and many families completely bankrupted and/or divorced due to their unfortunate medical situations.  Since Olivia is on the road to recovery the Olivia Davis Foundation is shifting gears and we’re also helping the following charities and causes.

* The Miami Children’s Hospital
* The Epilepsy Foundation Of Florida
* Make A Wish Foundation
* Our Time Theater – This is an organization that helps children that stutter
* Scoliosis Research Society

We are also accepting donation requests from families that had participated in the Kids Bowl Free Program.  We are focusing all of our efforts on children and families affected by a debilitating childhood illness.  Requests can be emailed to --> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  We review all requests and approved them on a quarterly basis.  Here are the months that we approve requests January, April, July, October.

Sincerely,

Darin Spindler
The Olivia Davis Foundation

PS…Most importantly the board of directors of the Olivia Davis Foundation has made a commitment to donating 100% of all donations.  All board members are entrepreneurs and business owners.  We are doing all of the work, fundraising, etc. Pro Bono.

PPS…Our fundraising efforts will include opportunities for you to participate along with us as a family.  Our first big fundraiser will be the running of the ING Miami Half Marathon on January 31, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  Miami is home to the Miami Children’s Hospital.  If your family would like to contribute to our run it would be much appreciated and we’re encouraging you to follow our training on the Darin & Andy’s Adventure page of the Kids Bowl Free Clubhouse. Andy and I are two of the Co-Creators of Kids Bowl Free and we encourage your family to train with us.  We’ll be posting our training results and you can post your families exercise activity along with us.

 

 

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