Guest contributor Karina Collins is senior events coordinator at PATH.
This year, we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Breakfast for Global Health, PATH’s annual fundraising event. Since the first Breakfast, the event has grown from a group of 100 supporters gathered in our conference room to an event with more than 1,000 attendees in two locations. This week, for the first time we’re having Breakfast in the city of Bellevue, on the east side of the Puget Sound region, as well as in our headquarters city of Seattle.
In ten years, we’ve told touching stories to thousands of people and raised millions of dollars to catalyze PATH projects. And even though the event has grown and changed, our purpose has always been the same: to come together and share our common belief that innovation can change the world and that there is a role for each of us in this work.
Behind the scenes at Breakfast
I start planning each Breakfast eight months in advance, and by the time you sign in for the event, I’ve seen your name on hundreds of spreadsheets and could probably tell you your email address off the top of my head. (Don’t worry. I won’t, because that would be weird.) I’ve made sure our featured speaker has arrived safely from another corner of the world. I’ve fact checked, proofread, ironed, folded, printed, and arranged hundreds of details all so you can experience and support PATH.
I could tell many behind-the-scenes stories, like the year we moved 300 pieces of African art in less than 4 hours, and the year teams of volunteers hand drew 80 Indian rangoli designs. I could share the odd facts I’ve learned, like exactly how much gasoline can be in a car inside an event space (a quarter of a tank). And I certainly could help you plan a breakfast menu from just about any country in the world.
Inspiring stories that deserve to be told
And I can tell you many inspirational stories of how attendees connect with our work through the event—like the venue staff member who told me how, even though he is part of events every day, he most remembered the Breakfast during which we reported on our groundbreaking meningitis vaccine launch in Africa.
He took the story home to his father, then in his 90s. His father, a missionary in the region in the 1960s, broke down in tears, and began to tell his son things he had never heard before—heartbreaking stories of seeing people being struck and killed by meningitis, and the pain of not being able to help. The son said it was one of the greatest moments he was able to share with his father, who passed away a few months later.
You make a difference
I plan events for PATH because I want you to find your connection to PATH’s incredible stories. I want you to know the children in our stories by name: Oceane, standing proudly after receiving a lifesaving vaccine; Aachel, whose mother in India made sure she was delivered in a health center; Jean-François, whose battle with meningitis meant he never had a chance at a healthy life.
I want you to know our incredible staff members, like Alfred Ochola, whose dedicated work to ensuring no child dies of diarrheal disease in his home country of Kenya has earned him the nickname “Dr. No More Diarrhea.”
These are stories that deserve to be told, and felt, together. And I am privileged to bring them to you, because I believe our work begins and ends with you.
Thank you for ten great years of sharing in PATH’s Breakfast for Global Health.