Zippity Doo Dah® 2014 Report and 2015 Announcement

Dear Y’all,

Okay, so we’re a tad late bringing you this GREAT NEWS–but, boy, was it EVER worth waiting for! Fondren’s Zippity Doo Dah® Weekend 2014 was an overwhelming success–on the Fun Scale, of course!–but also in our most important goal: Heppin’ the Chirren at Batson Children’s Hospital!

ALL of the money raised at Fondren’s Zippity Doo Dah® Weekend goes to Friends of Children’s Hospital. We raise money through Patty Peck Honda’s Doo Dah Day Blue Car Giveaway, the raffle of one of my Larry Vrba Crowns, the Color Me Rad® Race and donations from generous folks like YOU.

Mississippi’s First Lady Deborah Bryant is a faithful supporter of Batson. She and her husband, Governor Phil Bryant, have become dear friends to the kids in the Palliative Care Unit at Batson. These are children who actually LIVE at the hospital, full-time.

Mrs. Bryant told us that these kids she loves so much get to leave the hospital once a month on a field trip. Why only once a month? We asked the same question! Because the van for transporting them can only hold one of them (with all their equipment and caregivers) at a time-and the result of that has been that by the time all five are brought to the location-it is time to start taking one back.

The Palliative Care Kids joined us for the Parade this year in BancorpSouth’s VIP area. As plans were discussed for bringing them to the site, the kids said they wanted to go the same way OTHER teenagers would go–they wanted to “drive” themselves. And I am here to tell you that those precious children did it–up that very daunting hill, in their “puff and suck” wheelchairs.

Clearly, our goal for ZDD™2014 HAD to be a NEW VAN for the Pallative Care Kids! One that will easily transport all five at the same time! And YES, WE MADE IT!

Boss Queen Lynn Lee of the Queen’s Classymates contacted a lot of y’all out there in advance of the Weekend–and y’all generously helped her and the Classymates raise close to $20,000 toward this van–THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH!!

We had a special advance screening of the movie HEAVEN IS FOR REAL on ZDD™ Sunday, brought to us by the writer/director of the film, Randall Wallace, our very own KILTBOY. The Palliative Care Kids joined us for the screening, too. At the end of the show, one of the girls told Randy, “I felt like God was right in my face.” And for those of you who know Randy, you know that was IT for him!

Randy returned home to L.A. after that weekend and called me to say, “Whatever we lack for the purchase of the van, I’ll write that check.” How MUCH do we love our Kiltboy?!

All of these wonderful gifts and the solid support of our sponsors made it possible for Fondren Renaissance Foundation to present Friends of Children’s Hospital with another nearly $100,000 CHECK, that includes the fabulous new van.

Our dear friends at The Cirlot Agency are designing the wrap for the new van and we will absolutely be sending you photos and videos when it is delivered to the Kids!

This video by Jim Albritton was shot at the press conference last week. It was an AWESOME day!

Braveheart Screenwriter, Sweet Potato Queen Unite to Help Mississippi Kids
Braveheart Screenwriter, Sweet Potato Queen Unite to Help Mississippi Kids

Randy’s generous gift gave rise to a new fundraising entity, on behalf of the Wallace Family Trust–and that’s not all. You will remember, of course, that Randy wrote the movie, BRAVEHEART–the Favorite Movie of Every Guy in the World!–and as it happens, 2015 marks the 20th Anniversary of the movie AND Randy has a new book coming out: Living a Braveheart Life. So, in no time a-tall, we had not only the name of Randy’s new charity but also the THEME for Fondren’s ZDD™2015: BRAVEHEARTS FOR BATSON™!

We are thinking that there will be a lot of folks with blue faces and plaid outfits hollering “FREEDOM!!” in the streets of Fondren!

Looking so forward to seeing our Palliative Care Kids (“the TRUE BRAVEHEARTS OF BATSON”) ride up in their brand new van. This gift does represent a whole new level of FREEDOM! to them and we thank you with all of our hearts for your help.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Fondren’s Zippity Doo Dah® Weekend 2015 will be March 26-29, as always presented by Fondren Renaissance Foundation, and sponsored again by our friends at BancorpSouth®, benefiting Friends of Children’s Hospital; and, to reiterate, the theme will be BRAVEHEARTS FOR BATSON™, with Randall Wallace as the Grand Marshal.

In keeping with our BraveHEARTS theme, we will be raising money so that the Friends of Children’s Hospital can provide 6 urgently needed “giraffe beds” for the Cardiac Wing of Batson. The babies in this unit are so very fragile, it endangers them even to move them from a bed to a gurney if they need surgery. These special beds make it possible to perform any necessary procedures on these tiny patients in place. We will need to raise another $100K to be able to provide this vital necessity for the tiniest HEARTS at Batson. We look so forward to achieving this goal!


Do you have any idea how rare it is for one non-profit organization to raise money for another one? The all-volunteer-ARMY of Friends of Children’s Hospital pitches in, and WE, the Queens, are the very happy beneficiaries of all the FUN!

Thank you again for all that you do to make the Fondren’s Zippity Doo Dah® Weekend a success for the sick and injured children of Mississippi through the Batson Children’s Hospital AND beyond, via membership in the Children’s Miracle Network!

Be particular–Jill Conner Browne, THE Sweet Potato Queen

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