This is just the Beginning…

It’s hard to believe it’s been just 9 months since we launched The Izzie Fund.  As we begin to close out the year and look towards 2023, I can’t help but feel a big sense of pride in what our small team of volunteers have been able to accomplish this year. On December 31, most of us begin to wonder where the year went, evaluating how our time was spent and looking back on the goals we set 365 days earlier.  In doing so, we tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves and forget about the little, everyday wins that lead you to that big moment. In life there will always be highs and lows; the extreme ones that change you in that very moment are what I like to call, moments of magnitude.  Losing Izzie in 2021 was one of those moments. Launching the charity in her namesake in 2022 was another one. Somewhere in between those moments of magnitude is where the healing and magic happens. Here’s a look back on our 2021 “wins.”

  • March: the charity officially launches on what would have been Izzie’s 16th birthday
  • May: our story is featured on KDKA’s Sunday Spotlight with Briana Smith (who is pretty amazing btw!) Watch it here
  • June: our 1st community event
  • AugustDecember:  we hosted 10 community events & made so many friends along the way
  • September: we hit 500 genuine followers on Instagram
  • November:
    • We accepted our 1st dog into the program.  Learn more about Gerald and his progress here
    • We launched our 1st Giving Tuesday campaign with great results!
    • The Post-Gazette featured The Izzie Fund, Read it here. Soon people from all over the country reached out to say they heard about our story! 
  • December:
    • Northern Connection Magazine featured our story in their December issue.  Read it here
    • Our last event for the year was a well-deserved wine tasting and shopping experience at Salty Paws Pittsburgh.

Whew! I am incredibly thankful for the help I received this year.  Family, friends and friends that feel like family – you know who you are and (hopefully) know how instrumental you were in launching The Izzie Fund.  The local businesses who supported, donated and co-hosted events with us, I thank you!  The “strangers” turned “friends” of The Izzie Fund, thank you for reaching out when you heard our story.  You should know that you weren’t just a supporter, but a cheerleader when I needed it the most. Your letters and personal stories gave me direction and the courage to push forward. Finally, none of this would be possible without my sweet ‘lil Izabela – the HEART behind our charity! There is a quote from the great Bob Marley that reads: “You never realize how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have.” That phrase became my mantra in those final months with Izzie.  Even when doubt sets in, we have the strength in us to keep pushing forward.  Focus on the baby steps and the small wins and never forget, the best endings always have confetti… Happy New Year!

Together, let’s raise a glass to 2023!


New year… same me… bigger goals!