The auction started out at $1,000, and a flurry of activity had the bid up to $2,800, when things began to get entirely out of hand.
"$5,000!", a voice from the back of the room shouted.
The crowd erupted with excitement.
From across the room, an older woman's hand went up, accompanied by a bid of $6,000.
More cheers filled the room.
At the table just to my left, a woman stood up, turned towards the crowd, and shouted "$15,000!".
In a matter of seconds, everyone in the room was on their feet, cheering exuberantly for the latest bid...
Later that night, Calgarian Amy Montgomery saw the story on the news. Amy was born with biliary atresia - the same disease that Dylan has battled his whole life - and felt a personal connection to the story and the helmet. Within a matter of 72 hours, Amy had made countless phone calls and sent dozens of e-mails to her network asking for their support to create a pooled bid in the hopes of winning the auction.
Fast forward back to the Canadian Liver Foundation's LIVERight Gala, it was understandable that the auction was over. No one was going to compete with Amy's extremely generous bid.
Amy approached the podium, and after what seemed like ten minutes of continuous cheering, the room quieted down, and Amy started to share her story.
At birth, Amy was diagnosed with biliary atresia, and has battled it her entire life. Now, in her early-30's, Amy is one of the only documented cases of a biliary atresia survivor able to bear children. Her message offered a great deal of hope and inspiration to a room full of people closely affected by or battling liver disease.
As Amy shared the details about her motives behind the helmet bid, emotion swept over the room. She hadn't asked for support from her friends and family so that she could walk away with the helmet. Amy's intention was to raise enough money so that the helmet could be gifted back to Dylan, so he could have it as a symbol of strength as he continued to fight his battle.
In addition, the VIP experience that was bundled with the helmet package was put back on the auction block, to raise even more money for the Canadian Liver Foundation. At the end of it all, our latest Helmets for Heroes project fetched a total of $16,500 - contributing to the $80,000 that the Canadian Liver Foundation was able to raise at the LIVERight Gala.
However, before Jan could wear the helmet at the Lake Louise World Cup, he had a minor setback of his own. While training for the races, Jan crashed and tweaked his knee. It is a reminder that there are obstacles in all of our lives, and dealing with them is part of the journey.
However, Dylan still got to see his wish come true, as Jan's teammate, Robbie Dixon, took the #PANDAmonium helmet down the race course at Lake Louise. Jan and Dylan got to watch the race together from the finish, and Dylan got his helmet signed by a number of the best skiers in the World. All in all, it was a huge win for everyone.
A GINORMOUS thank you to all those that made this latest project such a huge success. Together, we continue to make an impactful difference in the lives of deserving children.