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Joyful by Cyd Converse

It’s Monday morning and the start of a fresh new week, one for which I am so very excited! This Friday marks the 3rd annual Ryan Converse Memorial Golf Tournament (you can see highlights from the first tournament in 2011 here) and with the tournament comes a whole lot of joy. In 2010 our family said a very painful and unexpected goodbye to my 21 year old cousin Ryan, the result of head injuries following a tragic accident. To say losing Ryan was a devastating loss would be an understatement, but in his death four other families received the gift of life upon the donation of Ryan’s organs.

Every year since, the memorial foundation has called on the local community and countless local business sponsors to generate awareness for organ donation, raising nearly $18,000 at the first two events. One Friday morning each June we fill two local golf courses and come together as a family and a community to cast a spotlight on the importance of organ donation. This winter, Ryan was even honored at the Rose Bowl Parade on the Donate Life float in national recognition of the lives he saved and is continuing to save through his legacy.

All of this to say, today I am joyful. Following a beautiful summer weekend of swinging on hammocks, sharing laughter with family and friends, I am now jumping headfirst into a week of last minute tournament preparations. My sister will be flying home from South Florida on Thursday and my cousin from Chicago that same evening so the whole family can be together for the tournament weekend. And it’s so much more than a tournament! For me it’s evidence of the strength and love that my giant, slightly crazy, family shares – the same love and strength that has made me who I am today. And perhaps most importantly, this annual event to me is a celebration. A celebration of hope, joy and life. In losing Ryan we committed to do greater good for the world in honor of his life and I can’t help but think that he’d be pretty damn amazed if he knew all the people he has helped give a second chance at life.

My apologies in advance if I seem a bit scattered this week, but I thought I’d let you know ahead of time why that may be. On Friday you’ll find me and nearly 300 other people donning green in honor of Ryan’s favorite color as we play, love and celebrate his life and that of so many others. In addition to fundraising, we’ll also be again encouraging players to sign up to become an organ donor. If you’re not already a donor but would like to register, visit Donate Life for more information. Someday, you may just save a life.

I’ll be taking most of the rest of today off to run errands in preparation for the tournament, but before I cut out for the afternoon I just want to take a moment to give a shout out to F.X. Caprara, our major sponsor for the tournament each year. Without the generous support of the Caprara family we could not do what we do. And with that, be joyful today! Life is a beautiful gift. xoxo

[Photo by Cyd Converse. Edited with VSCO + Over.]

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