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This past Friday night, Push to Walk hosted its 2nd Annual Casino Night/Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament. We had a great turn-out and were very happy with the event. Scott Barna, Donna Christman and the entire staff of Route 23 Auto Mall in Butler, NJ made this event possible. Scott is very generous to Push to Walk, donating the use of the dealership, his staff, getting players to attend and advertising the event. We couldn’t do it without him! Thanks, Scott!

As we learned last year, the people who come to play are quite an eclectic group. They come from all walks of life, and are attracted to the main prize of $5000. Some have a relationship with Push to Walk; some don’t. We hope that after attending, they’ll have learned about Push to Walk and the wonderful work we do for people with spinal cord injuries. And of course, we hope everyone who came had a good time!

We have such a wonderful group of volunteers, Board Members, clients and family members, sponsors and friends who all help with the event in some way. It is truly a team effort and one I am so thankful for.

About 100 people played poker, and as Darren ended the introductions and the tournament director instructed the dealers to “shuffle up!” you could feel the energy in the room. It was great to watch and see people having a good time. As the break drew near, people were up and about, chatting with others if they were out, or buckling down for the serious rounds to come. It really did seem like everyone was enjoying the night so far.

As the excitement built for the final table of 10 players, now there was a more serious feel to the atmosphere. The spectators were paying attention, and the players were focused on the cards. Each new round usually meant someone was eliminated, and the tension became more noticeable. With only the final 2 players left, the crowd leaned in, wanting to see what was going on. All of a sudden, it was over, and the winner was named. Wow! How exciting! Not being a poker player myself, and not understanding the finer points of the game, someone had to tell me who had just won!

Both players seemed happy with their prizes: #2 won a 55″ TV and the grand prize winner won $5000 in gift cards. In a VERY generous gesture, the winner gave back half of the winnings to Push to Walk. What a kind and caring man. He didn’t want any publicity for it; just did it quietly. How wonderful for Push to Walk and the clients we serve. How wonderful that there are so many caring, generous people in the world. With the entry fees, re-buys, add-ons and 50/50 raffle, the players were extremely generous and helped Push to Walk in ways they’ll never know. Preliminary figures show we raised several more thousand dollars from last year, coming close to raising $18,000 for the night! Awesome!

Events like this, even with the amount of work they involve, bring warmth to my heart and strength to my soul. Seeing so many people who want to help, while having a good time, too, is just such a wonderful feeling. THANK YOU to all the players, sponsors, volunteers and clients who helped make this a success.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Cynthia

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