Mar 23, 2014
Kieran and I were in NH last week in order to see some good pals and hang out for a few days before making our way to VT for the Slash and Berm event at Killington which benefitted the Molly Fund. I accepted a new job in October and the position required that we relocate back to NC, so we packed up our house in Hampton and moved to Carolina Beach in November. We miss our friends terribly, and Kieran was super stoked to be able to sneak away and make the trip to NH/VT with me in order to hang with his BFF’s for a few days. While I was in Hampton, I was reminded just how incredible the Molly Fund has grown over the past five years because everywhere I turned there was a vehicle with a Molly sticker plastered on the window or rear bumper.
A few short years ago, whenever I saw a Molly sticker I immediately thought of my little girl. I would see her smiling face and I would feel the pain of her passing. But now my feelings have changed. The Molly sticker, to me, represents family and all that is important in my life. When I see a Molly sticker, I am reminded of my beautiful family and the blessings that have been bestowed upon us. It’s easy to spray, “family first.” That is a romantic catch phrase and I often have to keep myself in check and focus on the “work, life, balance” mantra because it’s easy to get too caught up in the daily grind and the chaos of making a living to support your family. The Molly sticker symbolizes what is important in my life: Family, Community, and Love. Last week Kieran and I did a hot lap through New England in order to get our dose of that magic....
The Molly Fund has evolved tremendously since 2009. We have seen countless friends and organizations embrace the magic of The Molly Fund and launch their own FUNraisers to benefit The Molly Rowlee Foundation (Molly Fund). Our good friends at KB’s Bagels, in Hampton, host an annual feast that benefits The Molly Fund. Phil is a Hampton local and he flips the tab for catered Italian feast and the donations accepted go towards The Molly Fund. This year Phil and the KB’s crew raised well over $1,000. Michael Gerardi owns Mountain Dogs Ski and Snowboards in Plaistow, NH. For the past four years, Michael hosts a pre-winter bash in order to hype the upcoming shred season and get everyone stoked for snow. There is a ton of food, silent auction and raffle prizes, and they always premiere a few new snow movies. Michael uses his event to benefit The Molly Fund and this year Mountain Dogs raised over $2,000. Pretty cool stuff…
The NH Seacoast community rallies behind Molly. Local surf shops, Pioneers, Cinnamon Rainbows, Summer Sessions, and Zapstix sell Molly stickers and bracelets. Bella Rose Pizzeria (RIP) does the same, and Sean Correll took it a step farther and named a pizza after Molly and the proceeds benefit The Molly Fund. It is absolutely humbling to see so many beautiful people go above and beyond the call of duty in order to raise money to help folks, people that they will never meet, who have children battling cancer at Children’s Hospital – Boston. That Molly magic extends far beyond the boarders of NH, and that’s the reason why Kieran and I hopped a flight to NH last week because the fine folks at Killington and Smuggler’s Notch played hosts to two amazing events that raised a good chunk of change for The Molly Fund.
Paige & Emmett Manning run point for the Smuggler’s Notch “Molly Rail Jam” event on March 15th, and we can’t begin to thank the entire Manning clan and Smugg’s for creating such an impactful contest that is more focused on the snow community and having heaps of fun as opposed to your standard “contest.” What is truly magical about the Smugg’s event is that there are a handful of lil’ rippers that go out on their own and FUNraise for The Molly Fund. Harper Oliver leads the charge and this little girl raised over $2,500 for The Molly Fund. Harper and her posse have embraced the spirit of the Molly Fund, they were inspired to lend a hand, and these kids exemplify what The Molly Fund has evolved into over the course of five years. Harper and her pals are heroes. Thank you, gang.
Darkside Snowboards is a legendary shop located in Killington, Stowe, and Okemo. I have known the owners, Billy and Teeta Langlands, for a long, long time and they’re both awesome folks. Evan Ricker is Darkside’s GM, and Evan called me last summer to talk about a contest idea that he was working on and how he wanted the event to benefit The Molly Fund. The Stash Park, located at Killington’s Bear Mountain, is built by Burton Snowboards, and Evan and the Killington Parks crew created a banked slalom course that ran through the Stash Park and the Stash and Berm event was a reality. On Saturday March 15th they ran the open contest and Kieran and I were on hand for the event. We had close to 80 riders show up to compete and I saw a handful of pals of mine that made the trip in order to compete in the event. Sunday the 16th was the team challenge and there were 20 teams, comprised of 4 riders per team, that competed on Sunday and the weekend events raised close to $3,000 for The Molly Fund. Many thanks to Evan Ricker for his overall awesomeness, and big props to Jeff Alexander and Mike Garceau, from Killington Marketing, for creating the hype, and the amazing work from the K Parks team for building the monster. The overall support that we received from Burton and Matt Jagemann, and his crew from White Flag, was unreal. Thank you, Jag, Chris, Ryan, Erin, and Lyndsey.
Kieran and I did some shredding at Killington, while we were in town for the event, and then we caught a flight back to NC on Sunday morning. By Monday night, I had packed away our snowboards and outerwear and we were back into our shorts and flip-flops. Winter is over, for us, but we’re already thinking about this summer and our plans to spend some time back on the beach in Hampton where we’ll catch up with good friends and throw down the fourth annual Molly Surf Celebration. Yep, get stoked for The Molly this summer because we’ll be back in town and stoked to do our part to help create the magic of the Molly. Family first. Community and love…..
Hugs and high five!
Jul 10, 2012
I can’t believe that it’s been over four months since I last posted an update on the Molly site!?!?! I apologize that I’ve been slack, but to be completely honest it was only this morning that I was “inspired” to pen an update. Life has been fast-n-furious lately and it seems like it was only…..yesterday that we wrapped up the Bruins vs. The Surfers hockey game and that was in March! It’s July? Really? Whoa….
I realize that I’m repeating myself but I think that it’s important to reiterate how truly blessed Meg and I feel. When Molly was first diagnosed with cancer and during her five month battle, we were blessed to be blanketed with a tremendous amount of love and support. When Molly passed away, July 12th 2009, we were blessed to have an army of folks gather us in their arms and shower us with so much love and comfort that we were able to survive the horror of Molly’s death. And when Meighan came to me last summer and asked me what were my thoughts on having another baby….I felt blessed to know that Meg and I had survived the nightmare. God has a plan and he has a sense of humor because Meighan and I were blessed with a son, Thomas James (TJ) who was born on…April Fool’s Day. Yep, we’ve been busy since the Molly hockey game…hence the four month gap in the updates. But we’ve come up for air and lil’ TJ is just epic. The dude is sleeping through the night, he’s been super easy, and Kieran is so stoked to be a big brother. We are blessed…that’s for certain.
I was inspired to post an update today because Molly spent some time with me this morning. Since TJ has been sleeping through the night, and on a pretty solid schedule, I’ve been able to slide right back into my early morning surf routine. There have been little waves all week and I’ve been getting in the water at 5 am most days, breaking out my stand up paddle board, and logging some long sessions with my pals. This morning I wasn’t thinking of Molly. I was paddling back out, after catching a wave, and Molly’s voice rang through my head. “Daddy, let’s catch another wave.” My body immediately radiated these “tingles, “full on goose bumps, and my eyes filled with tears. I could feel Molly’s presence and I had to sit down on my board to compose myself. I didn’t say anything to my pal’s; I just sat there for a moment and had a little cry, but Molly inspired me to write the update because it’s summer and summer means that August is right around the corner…which translates into The Molly Surf Celebration event is upon us!!
The Third Annual Molly Surf Celebration is going to be held at The Wall, in Hampton, on August 25th and 26th. This event is, of course, a FUNRAISER as we need to continue to drive money into The Molly Fund. There is a $20 entry fee and registration will be at 7:00 a.m. at 10th Street on both days. We are going to hold the GROM SURF CONTEST on Saturday the 25th and the Adults on the 26th. Last year all of the adults surfed the contest IN COSTUME. It was epic!!! If the grommies want to surf in costume, that’s totally cool and it’s always “kinda” mandatory that the adults get into the festive mood and surf in costume because that’s what The Molly Surf Celebration is all about! The groms can bring and surf their own boards in the event, but the grownups have to leave their boards at home because WE PROVIDE the boards that they will have to ride in their heats because that’s the magic of The Molly. Adults have to draw which board they have to ride out of my cowboy hat! Cowboy up!!
The Grom contest will have divisions from 0-10 years old and 11-14. Kia Nichols, and your lil’ band of ripper bros, have been promoted to the adult division so you all had better get your costumes in order and be ready to surf alongside the big dogs!
Please save the date and we hope to have ya’ll join us on the beach for a wonderful weekend of surfing, community, and love. We’ll have food at the event to feed the folks surfing in the Celebration, and we only ask that all of you help us pray for some awesome weather as we’ve certainly been blessed with perfect weather for the past events. It can’t hurt…..
The Molly Surf Celebration reminds us all how blessed we are for our healthy children, our families that we cherish, as well as all of the good that we’re doing with The Molly Fund and helping families that have kids battling cancer. Hope to see ya’ll on the beach in August. Get those costumes dialed!
Next Thursday morning I’m going to paddle out just as the sun peeks over the horizon and I hope to catch a few waves with Molly before first light. That would be rad……
Buck, Meg, Kieran, and lil’ TJ
Mar 14, 2012
My father had me playing organized hockey in Illinois when I was four years old. My only memories of that time were accompanying my dad to one of his friend’s house where he bought me some used equipment. I loved all of the cool gear. I remember my dad coming in to wake me up at 4:00 a.m., dressing me in my equipment, and driving to the rink in the wee hour of the morning. I remember the mother/son game, and my mother (always the classic jokester) wore a Chicago Bear’s football helmet and an apron during the game. I still have the photos and I always manage to laugh out loud when I show the album to Kieran. But my folks moved us to NC when I was five years old and you were hard pressed to find any ice rinks in the dirty south during the early 70’s. Needless to say, it was close to fifteen years before I ever laced up a pair of hockey skates and ventured back onto the ice.
I played college soccer at UNCW (Wilmington). If you’re familiar with that part of NC, then you know that I attended college at the beach. I majored in soccer and minored at ducking barrels at Masonboro. During my senior year, a local roller skating rink was transformed into an ice rink, The Ice House, and we organized a UNCW club hockey team. I asked my parents for CCM Custom Tacks for my 21st birthday, bought equipment from a mail order company out of Brick, NJ, and I was back playing hockey. I was so bad……(humility is a wonderful teacher).
I love playing hockey but, to be honest, hockey isn’t my thing only because I didn’t grow up playing the game. As a soccer player, I can appreciate how similar hockey is to soccer but the problem is that I can’t RUN into the spaces where I need to be in order to receive a pass – support a player – or even have a chance to score. I have to SKATE into those spaces and that’s….the problem. Skating is @#$% hard. I watch all of my pals that are playing on our Surfers Team and they make it look so easy! I try to emulate what they’re doing and, yeah, it’s not working too well for me. The Surfers have been practicing for the past four weeks and my groin hasn’t hurt this badly since I was bull riding. My groin never hurt this badly when I was playing soccer!
But all kidding aside, The Surfers vs. The Boston Bruins Alumni is a very big deal. This is the third annual game and this year we’re facing off against the legends this coming Sunday, March 18th, at 1:00 p.m. at The Rinks at Exeter. Sunday’s game is, by far, the biggest Molly Fund FUNrasing event of the year. This is our opportune time to raise a ton of money in order to make the magic happen and we need your help. Please join us this Sunday and please bring your entire family to the game. Ticket prices are only $15 for adults and kids 12 and under are FREE! Rick “Nifty” Middleton will be skating for the Bruins. Rick is a good friend of mine, I know that he’s over 40, but the guy is pure magic! Kenny Linsemen is one of our good surfing pals and Kenny is a true Bruin legend as well. I mention both of these guys because they’re Seacoast residents, they have both been in full support of The Molly Fund since day #1, and it won’t surprise me the least bit if Rick and Kenny make a few calls and rally some of the big dogs. Ray? Cam? You never know. Rick and Kenny can make some magic happen…
We have assembled an awesome Surfers team for the 2012 game. The majority of the players are from the seacoast area, most of us surf, but every single one of us is “in it to win it.” We were all tasked to FUNraise $350 in order to play in the game. Meighan, my wife, and a lot of the players have been hustling in order to sell ads for the game program. Seacoast Harley Davidson dropped in as the TITLE SPONSOR and we can’t thank them, as well as our buddy Skip Winter, enough for the awesome support. There has been a tremendous sense of urgency for us to capitalize on this Surfers/Bruins event because it means so very much as this game is our largest Molly FUNraising event of the year. The big picture; it’s all about “paying it forward” and driving money into The Molly Fund which will allow us to provide financial assistance to families that have children battling cancer. It takes an ARMY to make that happen, so we invite you to please join the Molly ARMY and come to the game this Sunday at The Rinks at Exeter where we can all make some magic happen. There are folks that need our help. Molly would have wanted to help. Let’s rally…..
See ya’ll Sunday!
Feb 11, 2012
I popped into a convenience store the other day and the girl behind the counter must have recognized me and she told me that when her mother was visiting her from Mississippi this summer they were walking the beach when we were having The Molly Surf Celebration in August. Her mother bought a Molly sticker which is pretty cool. The girl told me that her mother pulled into the parking lot of her local grocery store, not too long ago, and her mother parked beside a car that had two Molly stickers on the back window - one pink and one white. Even in Mississippi we have folks representing and showing support for The Molly Fund and that’s awesome.
That little story popped into my head when I was driving around Hampton checking the surf this morning because I saw Molly stickers everywhere. I was stuck behind a truck at a stop light and the guy had a Molly sticker on his back window. I pulled into the lot at Jenness Beach and there were a few cars parked with Molly stickers on their cars. Of course, many of the cars and trucks belong to pals of ours but I’m constantly surprised when I see so many Molly stickers on cars that I don’t recognize. Every once in a while I catch myself daydreaming when I see a Molly sticker and I think of her. This happened today when I was stuck behind the truck at the light in front of Cinnamon Rainbows. I could feel Molly’s presence and I looked over at the empty seat beside me and smiled. Molly is everywhere….
In a little over a month from now, we’re going to be blessed with the birth of a baby boy. Meighan is so very pregnant and absolutely beautiful. Meg and Kieran have been “wintering” in Wrightsville Beach, NC while I’m traveling so much for work. I spent a few days down there last week and I was amazed that Meg is radiant – totally glowing – and I’ve never seen her so gorgeous. I am flying down there next weekend and driving them back to NH because it’s time for them to come home. Vacation is over, baby!. The fact that Meighan and I are going to have another child is nothing short of amazing. February 14th marks the date three years ago that Molly was first diagnosed with cancer. It’s been a tough few years, I’m not going to lie, but when Meg came to me with, “Hey, what do you think about having another baby?” That is the very moment that I knew that we had survived the nightmare of Molly’s death. “ALL IN, BABY!!!!!” We conceived immediately. God has a plan, I reckon.
I am not preachin’, because that is definitely not my style, but I can’t help but be thankful that the Lord is allowing me the opportunity to be a better father to our baby boy right from the get –go. I don’t have many regrets in my life but when Molly and Kieran were born I was so wrapped up and completely consumed with my career that I totally blew it. I wasn’t getting up in the middle of the night to tend to my babies because I was getting up at 4:00 a.m. to drive to Richmond, VA. I can cite a hundred examples of @#$% that I blew off at home, when the kids were tiny, because I needed to be on the road growing my business 30%. God has a plan and I’m determined not to screw up this time. Thank you, Lord, for giving me a third chance to make things right. Meg will definitely need a wrangler with this one …..
The Molly Fund is a priority in our lives and we’re all about paying it forward with the help of an ARMY of pals that continue to go above and beyond the call of duty to help us raise money for families that have little ones battling cancer. Meg and I are fortunate to be surrounded by love and support but it breaks my heart when I learn that many of the families that The Molly Fund helps does not receive the same emotional or financial support. We all live chaotic lives. The majority of us have demanding jobs that require us to work well beyond the 40 hour work week norm. But we find time to make the Molly Fund magic happen because God forbid that the nightmare, that Meighan and I survived, could totally financially devastate another family faced with the same situation. Meg and I are blessed on so many levels that it brings tears to my eyes because it was only three short years ago that our lives were completely devastated - TOTALLY DESTROYED. But we have survived. We managed to make it safely to the other side and life is good but we have an ARMY of people that we owe our lives to because those folks embraced us and dragged us to safety, through the darkness of Molly’s death, and it’s a priority for us to…pay it forward. Thank you all for the continued love and support of the Molly Fund. God has a plan….
We need to continue to help drive money into The Molly Fund and March is action packed with a few key events. The first event on the radar is February 24th in Burlington, VT. One of my previous Burton regional team riders, Jason Leuck, is now a student at the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Burlington and he’s rallied a silent auction to benefit The Molly Fund and I will be making the trip up I-89 to attend the event.
The Fourth Annual Molly Rail Jam is going to happen again at Smuggler’s Notch, VT, on March 2nd and Paige, Emmett, and the entire Manning clan will be running point again this year to ensure that the event is a success. Kieran and I will be up there shreddin’ the gnar and Kieran is super stoked for the trip. I imagine that this will be the year that Kieran “Cowboys up” and hits his first rail. Epic…..
The HUGE event that we have on March 18th will be The Surfers vs The Boston Bruin Alumni, and this year we’ll be returning to The Rinks at Exeter, NH where we know that we’ll be playing in a standing room only crowd. Please mark your calendars because the game will be at 1:00 p.m. and you can score tickets at the game or by swinging by Pioneers, Cinnamon Rainbows, or Bela Rose Pizzeria. Please join us for the game where you can cheer on your favorite old time Boston Bruin stars or watch me score another epic goal. Did you see my goal last year?!?. It was epic……
Thanks again for all of the wonderful support and we hope that you join our efforts to help “pay it forward.” There are families that need our help and….it takes an ARMY to make the magic happen.
God bless hugs, and high fives!