I was so looking forward to writing about Jill. I wanted to showcase her watches, but more importantly, I wanted to share her inspiring story about fighting stage III colon cancer and founding lemonsoflove.org, a nonprofit that delivers care packages to courageous cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
As I interviewed Jill she mentioned the upcoming Lemons of Love Charity Golf Outing. Among the items being raffled off was a brand new Rolex – a $50 donation bought you a ticket to be entered to win. Jill knew Watch Patina’s network included a lot of watch enthusiasts so she asked for help selling 20 tickets. What she didn’t know was how generous watch collectors – known as the #watchfam on social media – are when it comes to supporting one another, especially when a member of the community posts on Instagram about a family member battling a disease, such as breast cancer. It seems everyone comes out of the woodwork to rally – posting motivational photos, writing uplifting comments with positive emojis and making donations.
Watch Patina was in a position to put together an all-out fundraising campaign to help sell tickets. If we could get the word out to enough readers, the response would exceed Jill’s expectations – and help a lot of people. So, we emailed influential members of the watch community to get their commitment to repost on their Instagram accounts about Jill’s story and Lemons of Love as well as mention the Rolex giveaway. In total 19 accounts, including my own, spread the word to our collective 500K followers. And in addition to the virtual support, a local contingent of the #watchfam joined me for a planned event with Jill.
On the eve of the drawing, over 50 members of the watch community – from all over the world – had made a donation. Nearly 90 tickets were sold in a two-week timeframe raising over $4,000 for Lemons of Love. Besides the #watchfam, there was also an outpouring of support from Jill’s family, friends and business associates, bringing the total number of raffle tickets sold to 250.
I was in the room when the Rolex drawing took place. When the winning ticket stub was pulled and announced, I recognized the name instantly. It happened to be someone from our group: a collector with a beautiful family and a heart bigger than the state he’s from – Texas. He felt so fortunate to win and believes in Lemons of Love’s work so much, he made a one-time, $1,000 donation, bringing the total raised to over $5,000!
All the donations from the watch community would go toward creating, filling and delivering Care Kits for chemo patients receiving treatment at NorthShore Kellogg Cancer Center in Evanston, IL.
I joined Jill as she made the rounds surprising tough cookie chemo patients with bright yellow boxes full of goodies, which ease the discomfort of treatment and are meant to uplift their spirits. As we placed the Care Package in their hands, I couldn’t help but notice them crack a smile – and they hadn’t even read the hilariously cute card inside (hand drawn by a middle schooler). And the joy I picked up on didn’t end there… their family in the room expressed their gratitude for the gesture. They recognized, just like I did, how much of a ray of hope this gift was for their loved one at a scary time. Remember, Jill was once in their shoes. So she knows how having a positive outlook and getting moral support can be the best medicine. That’s why she founded Lemons of Love…
Thank you to everyone who got behind this fundraiser. Jill is a real life superwoman and Lemons of Love is a very worthy cause.