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Miracle Makers: Team Ali-Gaiters Strides Towards a Decade of Successful Fundraising Events

Outstanding Commitment by a Community Group

Team Ali-GaitersAfter Ali Klube’s successful treatment in 2002 for a serious heart condition, her parents were inspired to give back to Golisano Children’s Hospital in appreciation for the phenomenal care they received. As a result, they have been dedicated supporters of the annual Stroll for Strong Kids, raising more than $2,000 in 2003, their first year of participation.

The crew took on the name “Team Ali-Gaiters,” using a clever play on the word “gait,” which is a way of walking. Their enthusiasm blossomed as they discovered how much they could help and how many ways there were to get involved. The team has grown from less than 10 members to 45. Just as the team’s numbers have grown, so too has their involvement. In 2003, they launched the Team Ali-Gaiters Clam Bake to raise additional funds.

But their story doesn’t end there. Five years into Team Ali-Gaiters’ fundraising efforts, Ali’s cousin Nathan was born with a serious heart condition.

“At the time we got involved in 2003, we had no idea that we’d been raising money to give back to another member of our family,” said Jackie Klube, Ali’s mother and an aunt to Nathan.

Nathan received the same exceptional care as Ali, and has had two of three surgeries he needs to repair his heart. Nathan’s experience has inspired the Team Ali Gaiters to deepen their commitment, raising more than $115,000 in the past nine years and ultimately earning them the Miracle Maker Award for “Outstanding Commitment by a Community Group” for 2011-2012.

Spending so much time at Golisano Children’s Hospital made the Klubes intimately aware of the number of families in need of the support that community groups like Team Ali-Gaiters provides. Each year at their Clam Bake, Team Ali-Gaiters honors other children who have been treated at Golisano Children’s Hospital. Connecting these families at their own event provides motivation for all members of Team Ali-Gaiters.

The Clam Bake event has grown exponentially. Starting with about 100 people in the Klubes’ backyard, last year’s Clam Bake attracted 600 people. The ninth annual Clam Bake, scheduled for June 9 at the Honeoye Falls Fire Department Training Grounds, is a family-friendly event that features music, food and beverages, clowns, a bouncy house and more.

Music for Miracles, another event sponsored by the Klubes, came to fruition two years ago as an additional way to raise money for Golisano Children’s Hospital. This year’s date has not been set yet, but the event will follow its traditional format of “five bands for five dollars,” Klube said.

“Team Ali-Gaiters is always looking for ways to get involved with supporting families, both through their fundraising efforts and by developing strong relationships with other families who know what it’s like to have a loved one in the hospital,” said Mike Fahy, assistant director of Community Affairs at Golisano Children’s Hospital. “It’s really inspiring to see what a tightly knit group Team Ali-Gaiters continues to be as more families jump on board. They are all such a pleasure to work with and it’s been an honor to get to know the Klube family and everyone on Team Ali-Gaiters over the years.”