I had butterflies in my tummy and goosebumps the entire night after meeting Gregg Haxton. It wasn’t because of his undeniable charm and charisma, although he’s definitely got that going for him! It was his story. His real life miraculous story left me feeling instantly connected to the Life’s Peachy cause.
After a nearly fatal scooter accident in Taiwan that left him in a coma for 7 weeks, Gregg Haxton's friends started Haxstrong to raise money for his medical bills. After his remarkable recovery, Gregg was dedicated to keeping the Haxstrong charity alive and help other people who have gone through unspeakable tragedy. Haxstrong supports people both emotionally and financially. The mission of the Haxstrong team became, “You are never EVER alone!”
Debbie Peachy was only 28 years old and living in Kaohsiung when she passed away from cancer in 2012. Her sudden diagnosis of cancer was devastating for her close friends who describe Debbie as, “compassionate, active, and full of joy". So to honor Debbie Peachy, the annual Life’s Peachy fundraising event was born!
住在高雄的Debbie Peachy 在2012年因為癌症去世，當年她才28歲。她的朋友都誇讚她熱情主動、富有人情味及開朗，然而被宣判罹癌時，她和她的朋友都感到晴天霹靂！所以，Life’s Peachy慈善年會，就因為她而誕生了！
Together, Haxstrong volunteers and friend’s of Debbie helped to organize, promote, and execute the event. This year’s successful event was the 4th annual Life’s Peachy! Proceeds from the event went to the Hope Foundation of Taiwan to support their fight against cancer. Several large donations were made from local vendors and restaurants including Port Kitchen.
高雄市漢斯壯慈善協會的所有人團結一致，為了Debbie共同策畫、宣傳以及舉辦這項年會。今年已經邁入第四屆活動，也是最成功的一屆！而活動後所募集的所有善款，都捐給了財團法人癌症希望協會(HOPE Foundation)協助他們對抗癌症！其中最大筆的款項包含當天的攤販、餐館，當然還有波特廚房(Port Kitchen)！
The day of the Life’s Peachy event was thrilling and so much fun! Beginning in the afternoon, there was face painting, and many kid friendly booths set up. I couldn’t get enough of all the adorable the kids!
The kids absolutely LOVED the face-painting and would return for another round after sweating the paint off their face every few hours. The face painting booth was one of the many popular afternoon activities. And it wasn't just for kids! Adults alike got to be their favorite superhero for the day thanks to the talented Haxstrong volunteers.
One of the ways Haxstrong raised money at this event was selling tickets that could be used for different activities. This included the ring toss, water balloon fights, football throw, and more. Kids competed to earn prizes and bragging rights!
So many people in the community came together for the Life's Peachy cause. Vendors sold food and handmade crafts, and even young children were selling homemade baked goods to help raise money!
Comical performances kicked off the entertainment! They were judged by popular Taiwanese singers Lara and Esther, who made a very special appearance. The shows ranged from a wild dance by a guy in a bacon suit, to some talented singing. But the rightfully crowned champion was a hilarious performance done by a girl who carried a homemade balloon doll as a prop!
The theme of Life's Peachy was, "Cancer CAN be beaten!" I felt honored to volunteer as the photographer for the event. As with many of the volunteers at the event, I too have lost loved one’s to cancer. My best friend Mari lost her life to brain cancer at the young age of 31. Coincidentally her birthday fell just 2 days after the annual Life’s Peachy event, so this event was very special to me. One of the volunteers, Brittney, made buttons to honor loved one currently fighting cancer and those who have passed away from cancer.
When it got scorching hot (as it often does in Kaohsiung), some volunteers carried water guns offering a quick cool down! There were many food vendors offering everything from ice cream, root beer floats, hot dogs, and more popular local foods. Discounted beer, sangrias, and cocktails were also available from the Pier-22 Restaurant. Special "Life's Peachy" handmade cookies were even created from a local vendor to support the fundraiser.
As if face-painting wasn't fun enough, there was also a photo-booth with all kinds of shocking dress-up attire! Kids and adults alike selected their favorite wigs, mustaches, bunny ears, hats, and more to show off for the camera. You could also buy temporary tattoos as a fun way to show your support!
Life's Peachy was at a beautiful location packed with tons of entertainment for kids and adults. The perfect way for families to come together. This is exactly what Gregg, the founder of Haxstrong, wanted. He told me in our first meeting that he wants more Taiwanese and local families to know about Haxstrong charity. Haxstrong is here to support ALL people of the Kaohsiung community in their time of need.
Pier-22, a local favorite restaurant and bar, was chosen as the venue for Life's Peachy. And wow what a view! The downtown waterfront view of the sunset with the famous 85-floor building as a backdrop makes this location absolutely stunning. Not to mention the colorful lights and huge balcony overlooking the stage. The owner of Pier-22, Wayne, and his staff were extremely warm and welcoming.
The night was packed with so much awesome entertainment. I'm lucky and grateful I got a front row view of all the shows (perks of being the photographer)! Several local bands performed, including Ghost Money and Fights With Monsters.
當晚有許多專業的娛樂表演。我很幸運能一直站在第一排看所有的表演(當攝影師的驕傲)。許多當地樂團包括Ghost Money和Fights With Monsters。
Then there was the Star Wars show! Kids and fans got to take pictures with Darth Vader, Storm Troopers, or their favorite Star Wars character. After watching their precise lightsaber skills and thrilling performance, it's easy to see why this was one of the most popular shows of the evening!
Exotic belly dancers gave a jaw dropping performance and then stayed after the show to take pictures with their fans. There was such a big variety of entertainment at Life's Peachy!
Amazingly HOT fire shows had the crowd speechless and in awe. The performers did some risky stunts including putting fire into their mouths!! I personally loved the music they chose to fire dance to. It was an upbeat mix of house and electronic that went perfectly with the unique performance.
All the jaw dropping entertainment made the night so exciting I didn't want it to end! But wait, the BEST part of the night was yet to come for my boyfriend and I...
For hours I watched winners claim their raffle prizes of elaborate prize baskets, restaurant gift certificates, and more. Then I finally got smart and purchased some raffle tickets for our friends and us. And then it happened. The grand prize of a donated scooter was up for grabs. They called our names, "Ryan and Meg" over the speaker!! I thought it was a joke when they called OUR name. But actually...WE WON A SCOOTER!!!!! The perfect end to an already amazing day.
整整4個小時我盯著摸獎者不斷喊著別人的名字跟給他們各式各樣的好禮，包含：餐券、餅乾禮盒等等。最後我終於忍不住跟朋友合資買了幾張摸彩券試試運氣。然後，事情就這樣發生了…。最大獎機車一台，即將站上舞台。當「我們」的名字”Ryan and Meg”從他們口中一起說出來的時候，我以為是開玩笑。但是事實上，我們抽！中！了！一台機車。這絕對是個最難忘的結局！
There so much more I could say about this extraordinary event. But you will just have to experience it for yourself next year! To see even more photos, check out the Life's Peachy gallery on my photography page.
Thanks for reading :)