A surprise $50K gift

From left, Kevin and Ann Blake, and Mark and Kathy Stone
From a simple act of kindness

When Jim Chin, chair of the FSH Society board of directors, donated funds for travel scholarships so that 20 patients could attend our 2018 FSHD Connect conference in Las Vegas, he had no inkling of the dividends his gift would yield. $50,000 to be exact.

That’s the amount of the check that the Red Songbird Foundation presented to the FSH Society last Saturday in honor of Ann and Kevin Blake. Close friends of the foundation’s founder, Hilary Roberts, the Blakes had received scholarships to attend FSHD Connect. Roberts was so impressed that she decided to make the FSH Society the beneficiary of her foundation’s largesse. A full circle moment.

The Blakes had no clue as to what their friend had in store when they traveled from their home in England to Los Angeles to celebrate Roberts’ birthday and official launch of her foundation, which supports survivors of trauma caused by sexual, physical, and verbal abuse. Roberts, herself a survivor, is a singer-songwriter who has reached the Top 5 on the Billboard Dance Club charts.

Hosted by actor Terry Crews, the gala took place at the Beverly Hilton. Later on, Ann posted on her Facebook page, “I just had the most amazing night of my life thanks to Hilary Roberts. I got diagnosed with muscular dystrophy two years ago. Whilst staying with us in our house, we talked about life and what it throws at us.”

Ann’s conversation inspired Roberts to write a song, “Fight to the other side,” which she debuted at the gala. It was “heartfelt and so beautiful,” Ann said. “The video [of the song] was played for the first time last night and we were called to the stage where the CEO of the FSH Society was presented with a cheque for 50,000. I feel privileged, blessed and hugely grateful to everyone involved in making that happen.” So do we!

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