#FightingBack4 – THANK YOU + UPDATED 2014 TALLY

I’ve said it so many times since Friday night that I probably sound like a broken record, but THANK YOU.    All of you, whether it be a ticket bought in person, a donation on-line, spreading the word via social media,  or any other way of showing support,  you are responsible for something incredible.    To really understand how genuine my appreciation is,   I need to go back a little bit.

This is a little long, but hopefully you’ll all stick it out until the end and give it a read.

Where to start?

Well, first let me preface all of this with an apology.   I have never wanted it to look like, or to be accused of using “Fighting Back” to get myself or C*4 “over” in any way.   I’ve stayed quiet publicly, and really haven’t wanted to publicly attach myself to the event and fundraising due to that.   However for the context of this letter, I felt the need to personally address all of you and by doing so will be identifying my role in “Fighting Back: Wrestling with Cancer” – and for that I apologize.   The face that I personally feel that should be attached to the Fighting Back community is Phrank Morin.   As we grow larger, I understand many of you will and have attached others, loved ones, family members and friends.   They are the ones Fighting Back belong to, and are dedicated to.  

So again, where to start?

Back in January 2011, when Phrank’s illness was deemed terminal, the wheels were put in motion to put on the first FB event.   The idea at that point was to put together a show in his honour, where he would be able to attend personally, and see for himself, how much he meant to people.     When he passed away much earlier than expected, in April of that year, the question arose whether if the show would go on.    With the blessing of Phrank’s family and friends, the decision was made to move forward with the event.

Fundraising took place for six months leading up to the event, to cover costs associated with the show, to help ensure that 100% of the ticket sales from the event would be donated to the Canadian Cancer Society.

In August 2011, the first FB event took place – and we surpassed all expectations.  An emotional night saw the Ottawa wrestling community come together, and raise over $10K in Phrank’s memory.    The decision to make it an annual event was made.  Plans and fundraising efforts for 2012 began nearly right away.

In August of 2012, at Fighting Back 2, over $14K was raised, in a truly mind blowing showing of community action.  

Heading into 2013, fundraising efforts certainly were not what they had been in previous years – and concern arose as to whether or not the community support was still there.  The thinking in my mind personally began to be that 2013 would be the final “Fighting Back” event.  Three huge shows, with the goal of hopefully hitting $35 000… more than anybody could have ever imagined, and the memory of our friend truly honoured.

At the end of the night last year however, my concern over lack of support vanished, as we hit nearly $12K.   The idea of “three years and done” disappeared.   The “movement” wouldn’t stop… because it could not stop.   We had raised over $37 000 in Phrank’s memory.  

That now brings us to 2014.

Over the last 12 months, we did our traditional fundraising efforts to cover the costs.   Financially, it was more of an uphill battle than ever before.   Fundraising was slower than expected – but one cannot fault anybody for that – as in three years, together, we had raised so much out of our community.   Giving isn’t always as easy as it sounds.  Money is tight, and times can be tough.     

Heading into this year’s event, the number of $50 000 had been mentioned as a goal.   A three-year, four-event grand total of $50K…  On one hand, it seemed within reach.  The amount needed was comparable to previous year’s totals.  However on the other hand, it certainly was reasonable to think that a “giving fatigue” might have sunk in to the community we continually turned to – and pulling out another huge number was impossible.   Well, we know how this all turned out.

Over the last week, internationally, and locally, fans supported the Fighting Back Movement.   Like I said above, it wouldn’t stop, because it cannot stop.   

At the end of the night on Friday night, we announced a total of over $15 000, allowing us to surpass our $50K goal.   That number was a combination of ticket sales and other donations, in person at the event, with additional fundraising taking place literally around the world.

The generosity showed truly shocked all involved.   Goals were not only hit, they were shattered.  And once the number was announced, donations continued throughout the night and well into the next day.   An updated tally has been counted, and I’ll be announcing that soon… for now, please keep reading.

Before I continue, I would like to acknowledge many of the groups and people who helped make this number happen.

Locally, the Ottawa wrestling fan base.  Month after month, C*4 fans donated, and gave generously.  That core fundraising allowed for the event to take place, period.  Without you, Fighting Back would not exist, or continue.   Your giving makes this happen.    Thank you.    

To the volunteers locally who bake show after show and help us raise funds, thank you.  To those Ottawa fans that raise awareness, donate selflessly, and spread the word.   I thank you, we all thank you.  Thank you to our crew who made Friday’s show happen, who are there the rest of the year helping out, and keep everything alive.
To all of the participants on Friday’s show – without you, this couldn’t have happened.   For the last three years you’ve all given your time to honour a friend and co-worker.  Thank you for giving it all in the ring, to entertain and pay tribute.

To Acclaim Pro Wrestling, a company that in all honesty, probably shouldn’t be donating any of their door money away – thank your for your generosity with you donation in July.   Your kindness will always be remembered.

To the participants in TNAid II, from the “Card Subject to Change” podcast network (http://cstcnetwork.com/) and InterSpecies Wrestling, for their fundraising efforts last week.   We’re grateful that you were willing to donate your money earmarked for buying TNA, to help with our cause.   Thank you to all of your listeners who tuned in and donated.  Thank you to all of the ISW staff for participating and spreading the word.   Thank you to those who stayed up well into the night on Tuesday with “It’s Raining Meng” ( www.twitch.tv/itsrainingmeng ), and all the donations you helped bring in.

Finally, a huge thank you to everybody to took part in newLEGACYinc’s incredible 24-hour stream-a-thon (www.youtube.com/user/newLEGACYinc and www.twitter.com/newLEGACYinc) over the weekend.  Your participation helped shatter our goal for this year’s event.   Thank you to the over 2000 people who watched on and helped raise awareness for our event.    Thank you to one of the potential (and unexpected) MVP’s of FB 2014, Vince Russo, who participated with the newLEGACYinc crew to help get attention and financial donations.    

I cannot state it enough… If you bought a ticket, donated, spread the word, retweeted, watched… heck, even sent us positive vibes over the weekend, THANK YOU.

I hope I haven’t left anybody out – and I apologize if I have.

Without you, the impossible goals would have remained that.  Without the community we have built, it likely would have been “three years, and $35 000”.    Without all of you, I would not be looking forward to August 2015, with high hopes.

Without all of you, I would not be announcing the updated tally of $21 850, and a running 3-year/4 event total of over $58 000!

You did this.  WE ALL did this.   

One more time – and please take it with everything written above.  From the bottom of my over-stressed heart heading into Friday’s show, turned filled with celebratory joy over the weekend, and from everybody behind the curtain who wanted to honour their friend Phrank….. THANK YOU.

See you in 2015!

–   Mark Pollesel
Organizer and Promoter– “Fighting Back: Wrestling with Cancer”

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