The May 16 Gather and Give for Gavin turned out to be the largest attended fundraiser in the history of Hudson Fields. Julie Hudson, who coordinates Hudson Field events, said throughout the day she estimates 3,500 to 4,000 came to support the Birl family.
The event has raised more than $100,000 for the family, said Kyle Shaffer, sales and marketing manager for Revelation Craft Brewing, who spearheaded the effort. More money is still coming in, she said.
Gavin, a Cape High sophomore, was seriously injured in a snowboarding accident Jan. 12 in Pennsylvania, which left him paralyzed from the chest down. He is facing more operations and long-term therapy. Gavin is driven to Philadelphia twice a week for intensive physical therapy.
“The news about Gavin hit everyone hard,” Hudson said. “In a moment your life can change forever.”
The Birl family spoke during the event to thank those who turned out to support them. Gavin took the microphone as well and told everyone he was going to walk again.
“We are truly, in capital letters, truly forever grateful for what everyone has done,” said Katherine Birl.
She said her family is overwhelmed by the support. She said she feels blessed to live in such a generous community. Besides the fundraiser, people have written letters, sent cards, dropped off gift baskets and gas cards.
“The event has opened my eyes that there are way more good people in this world,” Shaffer said. “The Birls have always helped and donated to others. It was right to give back to them in their time of need.”
The Birls own Smokin D'z Real Pit BBQ , located at the corner of Route 1 and Cave Neck Road, and are well known for their many fundraising events.
Shaffer helped the family set up an account at Community Bank after issues arose with their Go Fund Me Page. She also created a Gather and Give for Gavin Facebook page.
Hudson said more than $15,000 of silent auction items were donated by businesses and artisans and another $10,000 worth of items were donated for the live auction. All of the vendors and food trucks donated a portion of their proceeds.
Shaffer said among the many heart-warming stories at the event, was the sale of a guitar donated by Tom Marshall of Lewes, who recently passed away. Two bidders went together and purchased the guitar for $5,500 and then donated it to Gavin.
Country music star Jimmie Allen, who grew up in Milton, sent a private gift to the family, donated items for the auction and spoke with Gavin using FaceTime during the event.
And monetary donations poured in. Hudson said more than $35,000 was raised just from ticket and T-shirt sales and donations collected at the entry gate.
“We were humbled to see how the community came out to help this family,” Hudson said. “We were beyond moved by the support of businesses after a horrific year.”
Shaffer said the event was run by a small but dedicated team of volunteers who worked for three months prior to the event.
Shaffer said all funds will go to help with medical expenses, which are piling up. She said the family recently received a bill of $69,000 to pay for the emergency helicopter transport from the ski resort to the hospital.