By Rich and Aimee Klinger
We packed our four children and luggage into our nine-passenger suburban on Sunday July 22, 2012 and headed south from our home in Halifax, PA. As we departed, we were skeptical about our adventure. We had traveled 1050 miles in approximately 18 hours to Orlando, Florida to attend our first NFED Family Conference. We traveled through the night to keep the Are we there yet’s to a minimum.
When we arrived at registration on the first day of conference, we immediately spotted many other little ones who resembled our Brayden, who was recently diagnosed with ectodermal dysplasia. It wasn’t long before we were greeted and welcomed by Jason D’Angelo. As we sat through the very informative group sessions, we realized that there were other people who were affected just as much as our son; but also others who had more difficult issues to adapt to. It was at this conference that we realized that Brayden had Hypohidrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia.
In those four short days, everyone made us feel like part of their family. We found ourselves so inspired by the Hamm family and their annual golf tournament that they coordinated as a fundraiser to benefit the NFED. We were also inspired by the Matus & Kelso families’ annual Rally for Ally event. On our way home from Florida, we discussed ideas to raise awareness for ectodermal dysplasias and help this wonderful foundation. We quickly decided that we wanted to host an event that we would have a vast amount of knowledge about.
Cars have always been a passion of my family and something that we have always enjoyed being around. A few weeks after discussing our options on the drive home from Florida, Brayden’s Create-A-Smile Car Show was born. But a car show didn’t seem like enough. We felt we needed to add something that would be enjoyed by everyone. We decided to add live music with the hope of one day bringing a big name music artist to the stage. With the addition of live music, our event became Brayden’s Create-A-Smile Car Show and Concert.
The first year, we had a lot of community involvement and time to plan. We had vendors, a bake sale, a silent auction with donated items and the car show entries to help raise money. In 2015 – our second year – we found ourselves slightly distracted by the birth of our triplets but that did not stop us from hosting the event. With the help of the NFED family and many volunteers, we made it happen. We are committed to hosting this as an annual event in our community because we enjoy helping others just like our son and spread awareness about ectodermal dysplasia and the NFED. Although we didn’t make as much money as the second year due to lack of preparation time, we still had more cars participate in the car show than the year before.
We encourage all of you to find something you are passionate about and plan a fundraising event for the NFED. Regardless of the money you raise, it’s the time and effort put forth to help an amazing group of individuals – our NFED family – that’s so fulfilling.
Editor’s Note: Rich and Aimee Klinger live in Pennsylvania and are parents of seven children. Their 6-year old son, Brayden, is affected by XLHED. They have been hosting Brayden’s Create-A-Smile Car Show and Concert since 2014.
Are you interested in hosting a fundraiser to benefit the NFED? Contact Seth Ferris, NFED Family Fundraising Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office at NFED 618-566-2020 to start planning your fundraiser. You can also learn more on our website .
You may also like:Share Your Story