Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Donor Fullfilment: Two Sisters One Heart Foundation

Conjoined twins Emma & Taylor Bailey

Amazing Story x3

Emma & Taylor Bailey are conjoined from the belly button to the collar bone and share a common liver and single, seven-chambered heart that is failing. Most conjoined twins don't survive pregnancy, and those who do die within minutes or hours. While most families plan for a baby shower, Emma & Taylor's parents planned a funeral. After the miracle of the twins surviving birth, the family brought them home for what little time they had left. Three years later these girls have defied odds and despite their failing heart, are happy, beautiful children. Their parents decided to start the Two Sisters One Heart Foundation to both help with their daughters' medical bills, but also help families of other conjoined twins with burial costs.

Enter the Broadway Palm West Dinner Theatre in Mesa. Each year this theatre donates part of the proceeds of one of their productions to a local charity. In March they decided to dedicate their run of the musical Singin' In The Rain to the twins' foundation, planned a gala event for more fundraising and even brought in Debbie Reynolds from the original MGM movie Singin' In The Rain to be the honorary chairperson. The OneHeart Umbrella Campaign was born.

OneHeart Gala, April 4th
Left: The Baileys w/ The Duttons
Right: The Duttons & Debbie Reynolds

Photos courtesy David Spindel

To go along with the "Raining Love" them, the staff at the Palm set out to get umbrellas autographed from celebs in TV, theatre, sports and entertainment to auction as well. The response from celebrities was overwhelming with word of mouth bringing in more donations than anyone imagined. When Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner heart about the umbrella event, he invited staff from the OneHeart Umbrella Campaign to stand on the red carpet at Muhammad Ali's Celebrity Fight Night and collect additional autographs. The umbrellas from Josh Groban, Reba, Michael Phelps, Vince Young, Gov. Jan Brewer, Forest Whitaker and others came from that event. Thank you Mr. Warner! Nolan Nissle of Nissle Photography graciously covered the event for the campaign and David Spindel created stunning collages for each donated umbrella for the auction listings. Over 140 umbrellas were donated by celebrities and auctioned off on eBay to benefit the Two Sisters One Heart campaign!

I knew immediately that I wanted to create large, pop-open umbrella cards for each of the donors. The family and campaign staff loved the idea. The challenge, though, was how to make 150+ personalized umbrella keepsakes out of paper that looked just like the donated item: some umbrellas had been decorated with paint, flowers and messages, others were fun patterns and many were in classic single/double color design. Once I was able to see pictures of the donated umbrellas, I designed each keepsake to either mimic the donated piece or represent the donor.

Polka dot pattern on the mock-up below closely mimics Ms. Kanakaredes' umbrella. The Beijing logo was added for Olympian Michael Phelps' appreciation piece.

The mock up for Hugh Jackman's donation used the same colors and design. The ASU umbrella piece was rendered in burgundy w/ gold accents and featured the school mascot.

Mock up design below for the cast of Shrek the Musical and Sutton Foster.

Mock ups for the cast of Phantom (mimicing the shows Playbill rather than the donated umbrella) and Arizona Sheriff Joe.

The next challenge was how to send them. After several designs, I adapted a triangle envelope template and created a handmade matching or coordinating envelope for each piece.

Left: approx. 100 completed umbrella appreciation pieces ready to ship.
Right: Close up of the envelope for Gov. Jan Brewer featuring elements of the Arizona flag.

The inside of each umbrella had eight panels that contained a hand signed, personal message to each donor, pictures of the Bailey family and twins, thank you message from the Broadway Palm and OneHeart Umbrella Campaign staffs.

Left: approx. 75 partially completed umbrellas. The stack was eight inches tall. Right: Completed umbrellas for the Broadway Palm staff. Each umbrella has a personalized panel showing a photo of the donor and was hand signed by the Bailey family.

Fun Facts
2100+ - hand cut text panels and embellishments
1760 - hand scored folds and panels
1060 - the number of panels DH hand cut for me (thank you!)
785 - sheets white card stock (3+ reams)
392 - sheets 12x12 linen cardstock
340 - die cut umbrella handles (a few had to be cut twice
285 - feet of double stick tape (vario/scotch)
200 - hours productions time (I lost count after 200 ... it was three months of work)
166 - total shipping labels for entire project
160 + - number of umbItalicrellas made for donors, campaign staff, local businesses and sponsors plus custom envelopes to match
17 - trips to paper stores
9 - trips to the printer
6 - friends from church who helped cut out umbrella bases and envelopes
3 - reams white card stock
3 - seperate shipping boxes for delivery
2 - sets cutting and scoring blades

Final Thoughts
From my note to the Bailey's in the final shipment:
"For three months our family has thought constantly about yours. Each night after work when the kids went down, I spent a few hours working on this project, constantly looking at your family picture and photos of the girls. It has been a privilege to be part of this event."

1 comment:

  1. You are amazing! I don't know how you do it all. Those umbrellas are incredible!