Member Fundraiser Spotlight
We have been fortunate enough to come across some of the most amazing people in the world through our dedication to recovery for children with autism spectrum disorders. These people come to us in many ways. Some are family members, some are friends, and some are simply good-hearted people that want to make a difference in the world. We have been inspired by their stories and commitment to raise awareness and funds for others. We specifically created a program we call “Member Fundraisers” (MFR) for these individuals, and it is our honor to highlight a family that pioneered this movement and who are now an integral part of the GR family.
Ladies and gentlemen, please meet Mr. & Mrs. Brent & Cristal Hedrick.
Cristal & Brent at their 2013 Rock The Spectrum event
Cristal & Brent supporting the 2014 Rescue Our Angels event in Chicago
GR: Brent & Cristal, you have been dedicated to children with autism for quite some time and you are obviously passionate about this cause. What drives this desire to help these children and their families?
B&C Hedrick: It all started with our goddaughter, Shaylee. Initially, Cristal and Michele (Shaylee’s mom) were the spark plugs desperately trying to find answers and solutions to help her in any way possible, that is when they came across GR’s web site and things began to get clearer. As we began to learn more about autism and how prevalent it had become, we felt as though we had to do more to help children in our area.
GR: You created an event in your hometown of Branson, Missouri, called, Rock The Spectrum, and we are honored to be beneficiaries of this event. Can you share with our readers an overview of this event and how you come up with the concept?
B&C Hedrick: Originally, we started with a smaller “family fun” event called “A Day for Shay” along with The O’day family and we had a great response. We ultimately felt as though the event needed to be maximized, as every year we held the event, we always saw a significant potential for growth. We held that event proudly for 3 years and after a lot of discussion, Brent and I decided that if we created something different that included a larger audience; we would have a bigger effect and raise more awareness for autism. That risk was a little nerve racking but has paid off. We still include families of course, with fun activities like bounce houses, dunk tanks, and dressed up characters but we have also added a concert atmosphere packed with great entertainment. This is the 3rd year for Rock the Spectrum and it has now grown to be an all-day event (roughly 8-hours) from beginning to end, with thousands expected in attendance. This year, we will end the night with a special VIP party for all of our event donors and host committee. We are very fortunate to have a lot of support from local businesses and great friends.
GR: If you had any advice for someone out there who wants to get started with creating their own benefit or adding a beneficiary to an existing effort (big or small) what would you share with them?
B&C Hedrick: Our advice would be to start simple at first, then go big. (Unless you are already an event pro.) We found that starting off with a reasonable idea, a good crowd, and some easy fundraising methods, like: silent auctions, raffles, etc., it will help any event grow to its maximum potential. We also suggest you tie in anything that you already have a passion for doing. We have also done a lot of little things like having local businesses sell Rock The Spectrum (RTS) puzzle pieces for $1 during the month of April. We have many local companies who hold a Jean day once a month where their employees pay a $5 donation to wear jeans. We also had a friend that came up with an idea to do a wrap design for autism on a taxi. We sold ads to local business and placed their logos on the taxi for one year. It’s amazing the amount of people that step up in support once you are resolved for a cause.
GR: When is your next event?
B&C Hedrick: We are so excited for this year’s event!! It will be September 5, 2014 at the Branson Landing in Branson, Mo
GR: Thank you Brent & Cristal for all you do to support Generation Rescue. You are true rock stars in our book and we cannot thank you enough.
B&C Hedrick: Thank you to Generation Rescue for letting us be part of your amazing team.
If you are interested in hosting your own art opening, cocktail party, rock show, yoga class or lemonade stand…we will be happy to help. Please reach out to [email protected] for more info.