Birthday Fundraiser Delivers Fun and Generosity
The date is October 3rd, 2021. If you are a Cleveland Browns fan, you know this is the day they defeated the Minnesota Vikings, 14-7. If you are Dustin Mitchell, you know this is the day your team won AND the day your birthday was celebrated in a big way!
Kathie Mitchell, Dustin’s mom, knew she wanted to celebrate the special day with a huge party. Originally planned for 2020 (the year Dustin turned 40), the party had to be postponed due to the pandemic. The wait only brought more excitement and people ready to celebrate.
Over 150 people joined Dustin in the backyard of his parent’s home. Family, friends, Dustin’s roommates from Starbuck home, and team members of Echoing Hills came together for a few hours of food, fun, football, fellowship, and even some fundraising!
“I was touched that so many people came out,” shares Kathie. “It was both unbelievable and overwhelming. Such a good feeling knowing that you have friends that both support and celebrate you.”
It meant a lot to Dustin, too. “I liked being with family, friends, and my staff. I am so happy we got to have a football party!”
A large tent set up in the backyard provided the opportunity to watch the game projected onto a large screen. It also gave a space to enjoy BBQ, pizza, and ice cream made available from one of two food trucks – Smokin’ Rock N’ Roll and Lorenzo’s Pizzeria and Restaurant.
Kathie knew that family and friends would want to bring gifts but also knew Dustin did not need anything. She encouraged guests to bring donations instead of presents, and they delivered! In total, over $12,000 was received in honor of Dustin’s birthday! Kathie and her husband Terry decided to split the donations between Echoing Hills as an organization and Dustin’s home, the Starbuck home.
“We wanted to give back to where Dustin lives. We appreciate the support they give to both Dustin and our family,” says Kathie. “Words cannot express what everyone’s generosity means to me. I am so grateful but not surprised. We have very generous individuals in our life!”
Kathie, along with her good friend Sue Zelasko, planned a similar party for Dustin in 2013. In total, they raised $5,800 that year. It was Sue that suggested they do it again for Dustin’s 40th birthday. Although Kathie and Sue were the major driving force behind the party, it wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of so many!
“I am so thankful for Sue and my family for all they did. Dustin’s dad, brother, brother-in-law, sisters, sister-in-law, and my daughter’s boyfriend, Andrew, were a big part of the event” says Kathie. “I am also grateful to my friend who bartended, my brother, Mike Langer, who did a lot of work behind the scenes, the Kral family, and all the friends that stayed to help clean up after the party was over.”
Dustin, too, is grateful for the party. “I want to thank everybody for coming to my birthday fundraiser!”