It’s with mixed emotions, that we have decided to cease operations of The Brian Ahearn Children’s Fund at the end of December. The Fund was established in 1999 in memory of Brian who died the previous August of brain cancer. At the time of his diagnosis in October of 1997, Brian was an eighth-grade student at the Warwick Valley Middle School.
The overwhelming, Warwick community support for our family during Brian’s battle with his illness was the seed for the mission of the Children’s Fund. And like the unwavering support that we received for Brian, the Children’s Fund was the recipient of this community’s support for all 22 years. At the same time, this mission would not have taken shape if it was not for Mike Conklin, Dave Lawrence, Jerry Gallagher and Bill Walker who approached me with the idea of a fundraiser in Brian’s memory. Our founding group carried on with this mission as well as the original idea for scholarships.
The primary mission has been to assist area families with seriously ill children, or families (with children) dealing with a severe hardship. To date, the BACF has distributed well over $1.3 million to qualifying families. The Brian Ahearn Memorial Scholarship has also been awarded to college-bound seniors in the Warwick Valley School District for 22 consecutive years. The scholarships, which totaled $83,000, have been awarded to students who had overcome adversity in their lives.
We have had many loyal sponsors, donors, volunteers and event participants over the years – unfortunately too many to name in this space. The Spring Golf Outing has been our key fundraising event since 1999. This year’s Outing was postponed from May to the end of August due to the virus, but it was still very successful. The proceeds from the Outing allowed us to fulfill family requests right through this fall. We were fortunate to have had excellent participation in the Outing every year with an average of 232 golfers through the years. That includes over 40 who have played in at least 20 of our 22 Outings. We also had a number of Golf Outing Sponsors who have been with us since the very beginning.
Although our funds were distributed over a three-county area, the bulk of our financial support occurred in the Warwick-Chester communities. In addition to the support of our fundraisers, the Children’s Fund was the beneficiary of regular donations – primarily tied to our local community. The incredible generosity of the area makes this a very special place.
Now that we’re coming to a close, I’d like to thank everyone who supported The Brian Ahearn Children’s Fund for all these years.
THE BRIAN AHEARN CHILDREN’S FUND