A foundation, in it simplest form, is a base on which something is built, a footprint for a new beginning. No matter what a foundation holds up, whether it be the Freedom Tower in New York, the house where all your childhood memories were made, or the legacy of a daughter lost way to soon, a foundation must be strong and firm to ensure the integrity of the structure it holds. I know I have blended two definitions of the same word in the sentences above, but you can not have a foundation to ensure a legacy without a secure foundation to hold it up. One word, with two definitions, but at the end of the day they are so much the same. The Lindsay M. Benton Foundation was built on a foundation of love and the desire to carry on the legacy of a young lady that had a dream. There is no stronger foundation than the unconditional love of parents. To aide in the strength of any foundation are footers, these footers are piers, or columns, that hold the weight of a span from one end of the structure to the other. The Lindsay M. Benton Foundation has many footers in place to help carry the load of this endeavor. The hundreds of family members and friends that love and continue to support our girl. Without this non wavering foundation and the dedicated footers our foundation would crumble. So before I even begin telling you about the Lindsay M. Benton Foundation I need to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to everyone that has made this aspiration a reality.
The Lindsay M. Benton Foundation is a non-profit 501(C) formed by Lindsay’s parents, all four of us, and her brother. The sole purpose for this foundation is to continue Lindsay’s legacy and financially support the charities that Lindsay loved and the organization’s that help her fulfill her dreams. The foundation was started after we realized that supporting the Lindsay M. Benton Cheer and Art Fund was not enough, we knew in our hearts Lindsay would not want us to stop there. She lived her life large and we wanted her legacy to be the same. Our goal, as a foundation, is to bring awareness to organ donation and the importance of registration, to educate as many as we can about organ donation and to share the story of how our daughter ironically fulfilled her dream through being a donor of life’s gifts.
At our first meeting as an official foundation we decided what charities we would be working to support and why, we also discussed how we would raise the money for these organizations. Needless to say, this was a very emotional meeting. It was filled with loss, it was filled with tears, but it was fueled by love. The love for a young lady that had a passion for living life to the fullest and a desire to one day save lives. We will continue to donate to the Wilmington Christian Academy Cheer, Art and Scholarship Fund in Lindsay’s name and we will also donate to Patriots For Pink and New Hanover County Special Olympics because they were two annual fundraisers Lindsay was actively involved in each year. Since Carolina Donor Services was the shinning light for our family during a very dark time, and they helped Lindsay fulfill her dream, we decided they too would be an organization to which we would donate.
Now, we had all the paper work to make us official, we had a mission and we had a goal, what we did not have were the funds; how do we raise money? My step daughter had recently told my wife about a volleyball tournament she played in to raise money for cancer research. I found the purpose and story behind this tournament somewhat parallel to our own. The Michelle O’Neill Foundation was raising money to battle pediatric cancer. The founder, Carol O’Neill, was Michelle’s mother and has run this tournament since it’s inception, twenty one years ago. Twenty one years of selflessness, twenty one years of awareness and twenty one years of remembering Michelle. This is another story of how a mother, a family, lost a loved one way to soon. This is what we wanted for Lindsay. So, now we have a fundraiser, a beach volleyball tournament at Captn. Bill’s Backyard Grill in Wilmington NC on September 30, 2017. The owners and employee’s at Capt. Bill’s were so receptive to our foundation, they welcomed us with open arms. They have been instrumental in helping us get this tournament off the ground and running. Being rookies on this new path, you can understand we have been a little stressed, but after many months of hard work the tournament is drawing near. Next Saturday, the 30th, we will see all the hard work, all the stress, all the tears and all the love come together for our girl Lindsay and the organizations we support. We have been very blessed with family, friends and sponsors, so blessed that we have already been able to present the first ever Lindsay M. Benton Cheer Scholarship and made a donation to “Patriots for Pink” during their pink games at Wilmington Christian Academy. I can not tell you how I, personally, have been humbled by this entire foundation journey. The love of strangers, the respect shown for Lindsay and our family, the hope for healing through tragedy, the volunteers, the sponsors, the list could go on forever. Forever, a word, a statement within itself, a dream that this foundation will surpass, forever.
I left one key element out in the opening statement about foundations, YOU! Without the love and support of each of you we would not have the funds to donate to these great organizations, we would not be able to carry on a legacy that is so near and dear to our hearts. Most importantly, without YOU we would not have this unmovable, unshakable, steadfast foundation to build the Lindsay M. Benton Foundation.
I would like to personally invite each of you to come out and join us this Saturday as we enjoy a day of sun, fun, volleyball and remembering Lindsay. Again thank you for reading my blog and supporting the Lindsay M. Benton Foundation.