Blacksparrow Auctions has posted the catalog for the Monsterpalooza Charity Auction. View and dowload the catalog here. You can sign up for the auction, too. Proceeds will go to two very worthy charities, Scares That Care and The Sophia Bijou Fund.
One of the two charities that we are working with in the Monsterpalooza Charity Auction is the Sophia Bijou Fund. When John Davis at Poster Mountain told us about Sophia, we immediately wanted to do something to help. So we reached out to Mathias Valdez, Sophia’s dad. Many of our consignors have generously committed to donating either a portion or all of their consignment proceeds to Sophia’s Fund.
We have asked Mathias to write a letter, talking about Sophia and her courageous fight. This is his letter:
“Sophie, up until now, was one of the most rambunctious and playful kids I have ever met. She loved going to the park, coloring, going for walks. All of that stuff. She never was much of a fan of movies or TV aside from ‘her shows’ which consisted of PBS morning kids programming… a daily ritual. She was never a sick kid, and even when she did have a cold or any illness, she never let it keep her down. Still running, jumping on the bed, still playing and going 100 miles per hour.
On the weekend of October 20th 2012, Sophie started complaining of pain in her jaw. She explained it to us as her face hurting. We thought she might have a headache or possibly be coming down with an ear infection. Although neither of those things had ever happened to her.
Of course, your kids always get sick on the weekends, or after doctor’s normal hours, so we decided to wait it out until Monday and make her an appointment if it persisted. It did. Saturday she developed a fever and was still in pain. We suppressed the symptoms with the usual Tylenol or ibuprofen dosage. It helped for the time being, but by Sunday she was in real and terrible pain. She had stopped eating (she loved eating) because of her face pain, which by then we understood was in her jaw. So we decided a trip to the ER was in order. She had never been.
We arrived at the ER about 9 or 10 Sunday night. One of the first things they decided to do was draw labs. Blood. The nurses were nice and helpful, but terrible at drawing blood from a toddler. She was poked upwards of 5 times and had one blown vein before they got a good draw. This was traumatic for her as she had never had anything like this happen to her. But she liked seeing the blood.
The nurse would come back about midnight to tell me that they couldn’t find anything wrong with her. But her labs were of some concern and she wanted to send us home and follow up with our pediatrician in the morning. This was a red flag. I asked what was concerning about the labs, and she said it could be a number of things. One being Leukemia, but not to worry about that yet. So the next day, 9am sharp, the pediatrician called us and said come in so she could take a look. Another red flag. The doctor said that Leukemia was not a concern to her, she said it was most likely an abscess in Sophia’s jaw that was causing the pain and infection that caused the fever, so she wanted to admit us back to the hospital for a CAT scan and other testing. So we went. Red flag number 3.
By this time we were pretty startled but confident in the doctor’s opinion of the matter, so we went for the tests. She was admitted to our local hospital at about 5pm. And tests were ran. CAT scan, labs, vitals. Then we waited. They drew blood multiple times saying they wanted to double and triple check their findings. And then we were left alone for a long time.
We became increasingly worried as the time passed. By about midnight the nurse came in to tell us our pediatrician was coming in to talk with us. No scheduled kids’ doctor comes in at midnight to ‘talk’ to a family. So the anxiety ensued.. My wife became incredibly worried when she overheard the nurse at the station mention the word oncology on the phone.
You see, my wife lost her mother to breast cancer about 5 months ago. So all of these blood counts and tests were eerily familiar. But our little girl can’t possibly have cancer… Right? No, no way… Something funky, but NOT cancer…
Finally the doctor arrived. She came in the room and closed the door. She sat down and started to explain…
She apologized for not sounding more sincere about our concern in her office. She continued by giving us the news… Or rather dropping a bomb on us.. ‘I believe your daughter has Leukemia,’ She said. ‘The C-scan came back negative. Nothing wrong in her face or jaw.’ She went on to tell us that she has no idea why Sophie’s jaw hurt, but it did lead them to finding the cancer in my little girl, so if not for that, then who knows. She told us they could not officially diagnose her in our hospital so she was going to rush us to Denver in the morning at 9am to Children’s Hospital Colorado for further testing.
As you can imagine, or if you are or have been in a moment like this, tears came in a flood. We could not believe it. How did our little girl go from headache to cancer in 2 days. No, no way. Wrong. Not possible. But it was…
We were taken to CHC by ambulance and the full diagnosis was confirmed by a surgical biopsy. The initial stay in the hospital was about 2 weeks and included 2 more surgeries and multiple chemo infusions, which were all very surreal and foreign to us. But nowadays, we frequent the 7th floor. She usually has chemo treatments about once a week, sometimes twice. She has bi-monthly spinal taps (sometimes less) and is on an awful and constantly changing variety of medications to combat the side effects of chemo and she still has another 2 years of treatments to go.
Given the circumstances she is really taking this well. On her good days she seems like the Soph that we were use to and the bad days, we know, will pass. There is a great success rate with this type of Leukemia and we are more than hopeful that she will reach the 5 year survival.
Everyone has a struggle, this one is ours. All we can do is stay positive, make jokes and enjoy all of the good days. At least when she is done with all of this, she will have confidence and be proud that she beat cancer starting at age 3.
You can follow more of Sophia’s journey at www.smileskillthegerms.wordpress.com
Sophia at the beginning, October 2012.
Sophia at her 4th birthday party last week.
Seattle was a blast. The organizers of Emerald City Comicon are class acts. They invited us to their show with open arms and greeted us with generosity, kindness and hospitality. We want to thank the entire staff of Emerald City, in particular Kristina Rogers and Joe Parrington. We look forward to coming back next year with another spectacular display.
As the first leg of the Hunger Games Costumes Tour, ECCC was a huge success for us. Even though many attendees were aware of our presence — our marketing efforts have been paying off — we still got plenty of new exposure and we were able to further extend our message. By far the greatest satisfaction we experienced was seeing the delight from fans when they saw the costumes. The range of emotions were moving. From shouts of joy to utter delirium, fans soaked in the display and reveled in the character costumes worn by their favorite stars.
We are also especially proud of working alongside Food Lifeline. Hunger Games fans demonstrated their magnanimity by helping to raise 735 meals over the three day weekend to combat hunger in the Western Washington area. Hunger is obviously a serious problem, not just in our state and country, but also throughout the world. Every little bit helps and awareness is the first step. We look forward to working with Food Lifeline again in the future, as well as with its national affiliate, Feeding America, when we take the Hunger Games Costumes Tour eastward.
Now, we set our sights on what’s ahead of us. We have a busy schedule with the Monsterpalooza Charity Auction and C2E2, both in April. First up, our attention is on Monsterpalooza. We are thrilled to work with Eliot Brodsky to bring a live auction to his show, which is the largest and most respected horror/fantasy/sci-fi convention in the country. All the industry professionals attend and there are always a few famous faces in the crowd. Proceeds from our auction will benefit charities with whom we have partnered. Generous consignments have come from many of our friends, such as HMS Productions, eFX Collectibles, ScreenUsed, Outpost Collectibles, Movie Prop Hero, Section 9 Entertainment, FX Toys, Darkwoods Productions, Collector’s Edition, Theme Park Connection and Van Eaton Galleries. The catalog is currently in production, but we can share with you a few of the goodies we have in store, which include an original stretching poster and piece of wallpaper from the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, a vintage To Catch a Thief one-sheet poster, a 1/45th Scale Replica of Captain Nemo’s Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, a bound script of The Mist from the personal collection of director Frank Darabont, limited giclée prints from Gris Grimly, Alec Baldwin Hero Ring from The Shadow, a stunning “Heart Box” inspired by Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs created by HMS Productions, and much more. The catalog will be available in about two weeks.
Then after Monsterpalooza we go back on the road with the Hunger Games Costumes Tour in Chicago at C2E2. Not content to rest on our laurels, we will be conducting the Vintage Toys and Pop Culture Auction, which our friends at C2E2 will be hosting. The catalog for this auction is also currently in production. Admittedly, we are having a lot of fun and being quite nostalgic with this catalog. Part of this auction will include one of the largest ever assembled collection of AFA-graded vintage Star Wars action figures. All the major figures will be represented: Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Obi Wan, Yoda, you name it. We will also have 1960s Star Trek toys, Masters of the Universe, G.I. Joes, original art, and a nice section of CGC-graded comics, including an Amazing Spider-Man #1 and Fantastic Four #1. One of the neatest featured items will be a 1978 Kenner Stretch Serpent complete in box, one of only 5 known examples. The highlight of the sale will be a rare 1978 hand-painted Kenner Sears catalog prototype hardcopy Darth Vader 15″ scale figure. This is the holy grail of Star Wars collectibles. The catalog for this auction will be available by the end of the month or early April.
As you can imagine, we have a lot of fun doing what we do. However, none of it will be worthwhile unless we can share the joy and in the process give a little back to the less fortunate. We highly value our partnerships, in particularly with the charities that we are currently working with and will be working with in the future. We are extremely lucky to be working in our field. Perspective keeps us anchored and we try not to forget that.
We have been busy. Can you tell?
The Blacksparrow team had its first auction on Feb. 10. The Arthur Ronnie Collection: Books & Autographs was a nice way to launch. We are very proud of the catalog we produced, the reception we had for Arthur Ronnie, the exhibit we put up at James Gray Gallery, and the overall effort from everyone involved. A lot of people helped guided us and we are deeply grateful. We learned a lot from this first endeavor and we are heartened by what lies ahead. And we are already engrossed in our next projects.
So what’s next? Well, there’s Emerald City Comicon–the first official leg of the Hunger Games Costume Exhibit Tour. Joe Parrington and his team have opened their arms to us and we are energized to give them a great exhibit. Today, we picked out the mannequins that we will bring to Emerald City. We will have about 20 original costumes on display. All the main characters will be represented: Katniss, Peeta, Effie, Caesar, Gale, Seneca, Prim, and more. If you’re in Seattle, come see us!
We’re also working on two upcoming auctions: the Monsterpalooza Charity Auction and the Vintage Toys & Pop Culture Auction. Stay tuned for more news on these sales. We have some great things in store.
We are honored to be taking part in FIDM Museum & Galleries’ 21st Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design exhibit. We have offered a handful of Hunger Games costumes to be put on display from February 12 to April 27. Interested fans of The Hunger Games should most definitely go see this exhibit, which features over 100 costumes from select films of 2012, including movies from this year’s Academy Award nominees (A Royal Affair, Anna Karenina, Argo, Django Unchained, Hitchcock, Les Misérables, Lincoln, Mirror Mirror, Skyfall, Snow White and the Huntsman, etc.). This is a great exhibit that offers visitors a close-up view of the costumes. The exhibit opens February 12.