Carolyn Gdowski

My gift was two-fold, it was the gift of fundraising dollars that benefitted Sherra’s boys to assist in their college education as well as a gift to the Sherra Tanner Memorial Oncology Education Fund that her husband Chris established through the Northern Colorado Medical Center Foundation.    In addition to the gift of funds, I believe Team Tanner assisted in the healing process for many of it’s members but most significantly her husband Chris.   Chris was never a runner and throughout that process he set and exceeded his finish time goal for his 10K.   This coming May Chris will be racing in the Colorado Marathon (running the full 26.2 distance) in memory and honor of Sherra.  As I said to the team and I truly believe: “Running is hard, fundraising is hard, they take people out of their comfort zones.  But each member has learned that in doing good for others, there is healing that comes out of that”. Chris Tanner shared with me that throughout the process of training and racing he experienced more healing than he could have ever hoped for.

I believe I was given my passion for giving from my grandparents and then my parents. I am forever grateful for their model.   To me, giving is what gives me a significant sense of purpose. I would rather give than do anything else and truly at times I have to “rein myself in” and be contentious of our family finances as well as our family time together.

The impact of Team Tanner was significant and will carry on for a lifetime.  The college funds the boys received will provide them with open doors that may have been open before but not as easily.   The funds raised by Team Tanner definitely assisted Chris in providing for his children.    In addition, the impact the continuing education fund established for oncology nurses will provide those nurses with knowledge so that they can continue to be “Angels” (as Sherra referred to them) to all whom are in their care.   And finally the healing that took place during the months of Team Tanner has allowed Chris to become present sooner to his needs as well as his boys.   That is priceless.

The ripple effect has been the benefit of the scholarship dollars and how they will affect the boys’ futures as well as future patients of the oncology nurses.

I feel a huge amount of success in Team Tanner for which I am grateful. It was a very difficult process for me as I too was grieving but the process also reinforced I am a leader of one (me) and I am not very good at rallying a team.   The exhaustion of being a cheerleader to 45 willing but not engaged participants was huge.    If I could do one thing better it would be to learn how to gather a team of truly engaged individuals who split the work for the good of the recipients.  Many of the members wanted to be a part of Team Tanner because of their love for Sherra but their commitment stopped at that.   If I were to take this on again my prayer is that I will be led to manage it differently.  Every Gift Matters  is a tool that I will most definitely use in my future “projects”.  I am grateful for the knowledge the book has given to me and I expect to read it time and again.