Good Morning Everyone! And Happy Fri-YAY!!!
Now, we all know this is a special place. Visually, in my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The sea breezes are healing for the soul and spirit. The layers of history and culture are absolutely captivating and keep me learning new, eye opening things every day. The dining is world class for such a small little rock in the middle of the ocean. And, the beaches, don’t get me started. 😉
But, you want to know what makes this place truly the most special place? The people. The community. There are so many amazing human beings residing in this tiny geographic area who care SO much about the well-being of their neighbors. They rally together when someone is in need. And many of you rally behind them, making all of you, near and far, an integral part of this amazing community. In this season of giving, I wanted to shine a lil light on two women’s stories of hardship who are being supported and lifted up by Love City.
There are two incredible women who live on St. John that are going through some very hard times right now. They have both been fighting serious battles with ongoing medical issues for many months while continuing to shine their lights of giving on the community here in Love City as they wage these wars that are tearing them down from the inside. But, in dark times, the light of kindness is brightest. And our little island has rallied around them to fundraise, assist elsewhere and build hope and positivity as they go through these difficult times.
Leslie McKibben and her husband, Steve, have been on St. John for many years. Every year, up until 2020, Leslie supported the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, an organization that fights the battle against childhood cancer. She did so by dying her hair a crazy, cheerful color (to match her personality!) every year, fundraising online for the cause and then shaving her head each spring in participation.
On island, Leslie dedicated herself to supporting non-profits here on St. John…And bringing absolute JOY to the faces of friends and family by showing up with her famously delicious cookies at random gatherings, bars, restaurants and events. She has been a strong supporter of the Animal Care Center and coordinated their annual gala for several years. Oh, and you might recognize this lovely lady’s name and face if you have ever sought out childcare on St. John. Her business, Kid’s Night In, is a go to for a fun night in for the kids and night out for the adults!
In recent years, she and her loving husband, Steve, started the Wednesday night Trivia for Cookies and Community in Coral Bay. Each week she would spend hours baking dozens of cookies before the pair set out to host trivia at Coral Bay Oasis (now Johnny Lime); raising funds for a different non-profit on St. John each month.
The fundraising at those trivia events, and island wide, have taken a different turn for the McKibben’s in recent months as Leslie began having some serious medical problems about four years ago. Over the past year and a half, the issues grew more unbearable and multiple trips to St. Croix, Puerto Rico and the upper 48 over time accumulated in a diagnosis that required a surgical resolution. She had her surgery, returned home to St. John and then developed a post-surgical infection that has required daily treatments.
Beverly Goodwine is a New York native who came to St. John many years ago with the hope of bringing physical and mental wellness to the community here. She began teaching Antigravity Fitness at the lower campus of Gifft Hill School in 2015, promoting the aerial yoga lifestyle that had helped her achieve significant weight loss and optimal mental and physical health. After the storms of 2017, she was diligent in bringing this well-being to the community and in 2021 opened the Point Wellness Body Shop in the same building as E-C Service Station.
Point Wellness continued Beverly’s mission of spreading health and wellness to community members who have little access to such creature comforts, adding Chiropractic and IV hydration therapy to her office that continued to offer Antigravity decompression, restorative and aerial fitness sessions.
I have failed, at this point, to mention the healing energy that Beverly exudes; both in her personal relationships and with her clients and patients. She is an absolute gem, spreading joy and kindness to all she meets.
Almost one year ago, Bev was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia and has been undergoing chemotherapy treatments over the past year. Just yesterday, she left island for Maryland where she will undergo a bone marrow transplant and be unable to work for the next twelve months. She will, during this time, need to continue to pay for her home and keep her business running on St. John as she heals and anticipates her return home to Love City.
Imagine for a moment the expense we all incur at an unexpected and unwelcome medical condition. And then factor in planes, boats, taxis and accommodations EVERY time you need treatment. Pair those added expenses with the uncertainty of knowing if you will have the proper medical care close by if necessary…or whether or not you will be able to return home. My heart absolutely breaks for these two women who have done SO MUCH good here on St. John. To Leslie, I wish a speedy and seamless recovery without further interruption. And, to Bev, I wish you so much strength and positivity in the coming months. Your presence on St. John will be greatly missed in your absence.
The St. John Revolving Fund is accepting tax deductible donations for Leslie and Bev.
You all remember the St. John Revolving Fund, correct? Well, for those of you that don’t, this organization is basically a community driven bank account for St. Johnians who find themselves in an unexpected tough spot partnered with financial difficulties. Operated and overseen by Cid Hamling and a board of community members, this non-profit is dedicated to providing no interest loans to those in immediate need and collecting charitable contributions in times like these. The Revolving fund collects and distributes funds donated and ear marked for a certain individual and accepts general donations in order to build the funds for those who might need them unexpectedly in the future.
In the true holiday spirit, and that of Love City, the community and businesses have rallied with the Revolving Fund around these two beautiful souls in order to help them financially in their times of need. Many fundraisers have been happening for months for both of them, culminating in several events during this holiday season. If you are not on island and you would enjoy contributing to Leslie or Bev’s recovery fund, you can do so by heading over to the St. John Revolving Fund’s website. On the last screen, you can specify Leslie, Bev or leave it blank to add to the general fund.
Also, Leslie is raffling off a St John T shirt quilt (queen size) to fund her recovery. It is made of old souvenir shirts that will be sure to conjure a little nostalgia!
Tickets for a chance to win the quilt may be purchased via Leslie’s Venmo (@Leslie-McKibben) or PayPal ([email protected]) account with “quilt tickets” in the comments. The drawing for this will take place at next week’s Trivia for Cookies and Community (December 21 at 6:30PM at Johnny Lime/Oasis) in Coral Bay. Tickets can also be purchased in person that evening, which leads me to the next little bit…
If you are on island, there are some ways to “party with a purpose,” if you will, over the next few weeks!
Monday, December 20 at Salty Mongoose there will be a fundraiser for Leslie with raffles, live music, good times and GREAT pizza! The bar will be donating $1 for every drink sold. So, show up thirsty!
The raffle ticket sales for this event are currently OPEN and those who are playing along will have the chance to win an AWESOME vacation package, coordinated by the lovely Mrs. Leah Hansen of Flyaway Charters 🙂
If you can’t make it to the party, these tickets can also be purchased online or by check via the above information. Please notate “Vacation Raffle Tickets” in the comments if purchasing online or on the subject line if purchasing by check.
And, on December 23, The Windmill Bar will be hosting a holiday party and fundraiser for Bev with Quelbe Resurrection Band providing live music from 4PM-7PM. Everyone’s favorite mountaintop bar has hosted many fundraisers for Bev to date and will continue to do so as she recovers from surgery. So, if you are on St. John for the holidays next week, stop by The Windmill Bar to join in some holiday cheer and participate in raising funds for a beautiful person.
I always tell people that, as residents of St. John, we have hard days, months, years too. But I’ll reiterate here that, in hard times, there is no place else I would rather be than right here on this little rock. With the incredible love and energy of this community in the air. Happy holidays everyone! Have a great weekend!