Dear Red Fred Backers,
It's 6:30p in Salt Lake City and just this afternoon, I returned from workshopping with our fourth Creative for the Red Fred Project: Colin Kopacko. I thought I'd share a few things from you regarding the visit.
• I arrived Friday afternoon, jumped in the rental car and made my way to Midtown, where a great guy, Greg Marx, gave me keys to his soon-to-be sold house. When I arrived at the house, the real estate agent was actually showing a couple the space. Greg had revamped this place and it was very nice. There was a large bedroom with a queen size bed and a bathroom with a tub with jets. Great little area to be located in as there were cafes and restaurants in walking distance from the front door. All this was done, free of charge to me. Imagine my gratitude!
• After I dropped my bags, I headed out to meet our film crew, Ryan and Jed. The two of these gentlemen work for Kidnected World—a lovely organization intent on sharing the powerful stories and interests of children, around the world. They volunteered to be eyes and ears and to create a piece of our time spent that we will show later. We met up and drove to the Kopackos together.
• We stopped at Chick-Fil-A to grab some waffle fries for Colin and Jesse, as this is the only solid food they can eat. And I wish I was being figurative—but I'm not. These two brothers have mitochondrial disease which attacks on a cellular level which doesn't allow their bodies to digest proteins. We enjoyed some fries with the boys and then jumped into figuring out the story.
• The super-fun was designing Colin's Trooper, Charlie. You'll have to wait to see what he looks like, but I'll give you a couple of hints: he's "Hulk" green and is almost as tall as Stilts.
• Ryan and Jed were able to capture some of the everyday processes of health and medication the boys and their parents go through. This was especially sobering, as we learned what "maintaining a healthy life" meant. We were moved to tears. You'll get more on that when Ryan and Jed's piece is produced.
• Saturday morning we met downtown, in Memphis! The boys were bundled up, topped with their RFP Creative Caps. Colin even brought his own camera to join me in shooting. We were hunting for colors that matched the Troopers that will be involved in his story, as he's very interested in the idea of camouflage. We also walked around historic parts of the city and even saw the entire city from the roof of The Peabody Hotel.
• After the city, we drove to a park to capture a few images Colin had been musing on. He called them "mushrooms." We spent a few minutes there and then said goodbyes to one another.
• Last night I had dinner with an old friend of mine, Angela, that has volunteered to be the Volunteer Coordinator for the book-signing when we next come back. That's a big deal and it means the world to have a friend out there that will help make it a success! Thanks Angela and Ty!
• Our time this morning was cut short, as we had a miscommunication, so we were unable to take a family photo; that being said, we did Skpye tonight and Colin informed me of more details of his story.
On a personal level, I had a rough go one of the mornings. Being a witness to these families... being a stranger that comes into their home and gets a glimpse at what goes on... it's all very humbling and at time, hard—because I find it hard to understand how they keep going. I shared a very real, honest response to this, via Facebook, and have decided to share it with you, as I feel/know I have your trust.
Click here to see the video on our Red Fred Project YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rQ7MYFb2-o&feature=youtu.be
Lastly, I thought I'd add some images from our time together to let you in on our experience.
As always, I am deeply moved by your continued support and love. We are so excited to continue this project across the country. Everyone we encounter—on the planes, in cafes, on the streets—loves the Red Fred Project. You helped us get here and we're going to continue to grow.
Heart-felt thanks to each and every one of you!
Dallas & Red Fred