Woodlands CrawPHish Festival. It's a great event that started out in 2008 under my all-time favorite event name - the Cure PH Bug Boil.
But there's more to the history. In 1999, Jack Stibbs connected with PHA and said he and his family wanted to organize a golf tournament for PH research. It would be PHA's first large-scale event.
Jack and his wife Marcia's daughter, Emily, was diagnosed with PH two years earlier, when she was five years old. I met Jack and Marcia that year when they and I both attended our first board meeting. That was a dozen years, 10 golf tournaments, a few galas and 3 bug boils/crawPHish festivals ago. In the intervening years, Emily has grown up to be a lovely young woman who is now attending college and the events that this amazing family, including son Jake, and their devoted and driven team of volunteers have produced have generated over $1,800,000 for pulmonary hypertension research!
Jack will be the first to tell you that a true backbone of all these events is Matacha Saul. Matacha began work with Jack as his legal assistant three months before their first event and was immediately (and willingly) drafted into working on that first golf tournament. Today, she is the firm's office administrator, marketing coordinator and Jack's legal assistant. Somehow, with all that, she is able to keep these amazing events going and growing. At PHA's 2010 International Pulmonary Hypertension Conference, she received the Julie Hendry Memorial Award for her extraordinary efforts over the years. This year's effort - the CrawPHish Festival - drew over 3,500 happy bug-eaters, up from 2,000 last year!
Here's Matacha telling us why she does what she does. We are so very grateful.
Oh, and when this video is over, you might want to take a look at the other short video interviews I did with some other great folks (love that FlipCam!)...