Scares that Care Charity Weekend 5 brought fright and fun to Williamsburg, VA once again. An amazing event with a purpose where even the hotel staff dress up and decorate the halls, windows, and furniture, it feels more like home than a convention. Packed with over 2,000 attendees this year, StC had not just your usual con events like author readings, celebrity photo ops, and panels, but also events like Rocky Horror, costume contests, a silent auction, kids zombie hunt, escape room, singles mixer, film festival, video game room, a 5k race and even a zombie wedding. It has so much more than any regular con; it has a mission.
The goal of the Scares that Care organization is to provide help to three families suffering from medical situations that are quite often debilitating physically, emotionally, and financially.
Each year, three recipients are selected and funds begin to be raised to meet the end goal of offering each of them a check for $10,000. This year the recipients are Sawyer, a child with anaplastic ependymoma; Brian, a child who was burned in a household accident; and Hope, a veteran and single mother of two fighting stage IV breast cancer.
Throughout the year, special $5 donation days happen on a monthly basis and items are often donated to be in the silent auction, which raised over $22,000 this year. Even fans/attendees are getting in on the act of giving by setting up birthday charity pages on Facebook, or accepting donations for some old rad horror t-shirts (thanks again Michael Darwin!). A vendor doing massages at the con donated over $600, and horror icons such as Doug Bradley and Sid Haig donated $1500 combined. Even the Doubletree Hotel itself donated $7000! Additionally, the event held a blood drive which became blood drive of the week and the second largest blood drive in the Hampton Roads area.
I personally find the most satisfying way to support Scares that Care is by donating during the bra walk. StC founder/CEO Joe Ripple improved upon his upgraded green and purple light up corset that debuted last year by adding black and pink bra-printed leggings, purple and pink feather boa with matching headband, and leopard print slippers. This is a man who doesn’t care how ridiculous he might look when he’s raising over $2200 in his most fierce ensemble yet! Not only did he suffer through paper cuts galore with a smile on his face, but he was so helpful before and after the con in ways people may not even realize, from setting up a special Facebook group for room swaps to help people find lodgings (Doubletree sold out in 49 minutes once the con dates were announced) to sticking around and sweeping up the parking lot of the hotel when the event was over. Joe Ripple is a godsend and I will continue to support this amazing organization he started.
If you would like to do the same, donations are accepted year-round on their website: scaresthatcare.org. This year, enough money was raised to write a check to each of the families chosen, but it’s never too early to start raising money to help next year’s recipients.