Please join us on May 2nd to honor Noel and Tammy Cunningham at the
1st Annual Irish Network Colorado's Ambassador's Gala.
Tickets are $75 per person/$145 per couple.
The Morgan Adams Foundation is honored to have been selected by Tammy Cunningham and the Irish Network as the charity beneficiary for this event.
For more information and to register for this event, visit www.irishnetworkco.com/events.
To learn more about why the Cunninghams mean so much to MAF, please read the following article from our Winter 2011-2012 Newsletter.
by Joan Slaughter and Steven Adams
As so many of you know, our daughter, Morgan, "presented" her brain tumor emergently in the wee hours of a snowy night in December 1997 when she was 5 years old. And you all obviously know that her battle against brain cancer and the lack of kid-oriented cancer treatments is what led us to want to help fund more research for pediatric cancer. And many of you also probably know more about that journey than I might think - because we share it with you all so often.
But do you know about a quiet little love affair that was struck later that month between a 5-year-old girl and a local chef?
When Morgan woke from her surgery, she had a lot of collateral damage - and not the least of the troubles we battled that month was not being able to get her to eat. At the time, our girlfriend and then neighbor, Dawnie, was working at Strings Restaurant on 17th Avenue. One night she told Noel Cunningham, the owner, about Morgan and her struggles.
"You find out what that kid's favorite food is!" he said to her. Then, he insisted on cooking up a batch of something and having Dawnie bring it to us at the hospital. It was awkward for us - we didn't know him and it felt so crazy that a total stranger wanted to help. We told her not to worry him about it. But night after night Dawnie called, saying, "Listen, Joan, he's driving me crazy. He said to tell you he can only do two things: He can pray and he can cook. And he's already praying, so why won't you let him cook?" How do you argue with that? We finally said OK, and Dawnie arrived 10 minutes later with fettucine alfredo and chocolate mousse from the restaurant...and Morgan ate the entire thing! Her first solid meal, and it was from Strings.
When Morgan was well enough to leave the hospital, she just wanted to stop in and say thank you to Noel - and from that day forward, a crazy little love affair started. After every single treatment, we went to Strings for lunch where Morgan had her own special table. No matter what happened, we went and had lunch. And crème brûlée. That Morgan made. With a blowtorch. At 5 years old. Because he LET her. And because he told me, in no uncertain terms, that it was his kitchen and there really wasn't anything that I could do about it. He was letting my kid (blind in her right eye since the surgery, no less) wield a flame thrower. Nice.
After Morgan died, and Steven said he wanted to do a fundraising event, we went to Noel and asked him for his help. We had no idea what we needed to do - how to get food, how to get enough booze, how much we might need. Noel just said he was in. He'd do ALL the food and all the booze and he would make the magic happen. Because he had fallen in love with Morgan, and he wanted to see something good come out of the sadness.
I remember sitting in the restaurant telling him I thought it was crazy - and him telling me that we would MAKE THIS HAPPEN.
And it did. Our hallmark fundraising event artma was born. And magic happened. Because it was sprinkled with a huge helping of Irish Fairy Dust in the form of Noel Cunningham. My friend Kelly reminded me the other day of his character: "I can remember him at that first artma, pushing a trash can around and cleaning up himself." Because that was what he did. And because he loved my kid - and because he loved all kids. And because he gave and he gave.
His spirit lives on in The Morgan Adams Foundation. We can continue our work because of all the people who believe in what we do and because of all the goodness this community chooses to invest back into itself. Noel believed. He shared. And he gave.
I know there are thousands of people who have similar stories to tell, who will immediately produce for you a "Noelism" when you mention his name. Who will immediately share with you the way in which he touched their life or the life of someone they know. Stop and listen - he was a wonder and the stories are fabulous. He gave us his strength and his passion. He loved our daughter. Noel was our friend for many, many years and we will miss him madly.