Dancing the Night Away: Riley’s Dance / by The Wave Set

It’s not everyday that you get to be a part of an event as special as the one we were last night. For months I went on about my business, and every time I made a new calendar appointment I would see “Shop For Riley” 6:00PM April 10th! Well, I could not help but feel like that specific event would stand out amongst all of the others and now I know why.

Last night, Jared, my father, and I attended a fundraising event for Little Riley Kogen which was ran by her incredible parents- Ali, and Mitch (with the help of their family and friends). This event was not just another fundraiser though. As a matter of fact, it was far from it.

Picture this: You pull up to the venue to get your picture taken in front of the huge celebrity back-drop, on the Pink Carpet (In Riley fashion). Just a mere 10 steps away is what was so awe-inspiring though. You enter in to about 30 different tables setup with every imaginable type of shoes, hats, shirts, necklaces, bracelets, kitchenware and more setup all over. All of which are complete with their own local store owner or clothing designer in charge. Along with these items for sale and their lovely representatives was a decorated ballroom that only a select few could pull off! I mean it was beautiful! Just enough amount of fun and chic. To ice the cake, the spread of food was so simply satisfying that I found myself lapping it a time or two.

However, it wasn’t the accessories for sale or the mini cupcakes (that I managed to eat too many of), that impacted me in such an incredible way. It was the people that all came out to be a part of the event that made it so special. I enjoyed taking in the night while watching as all of the attendees gathered and shared their evenings with us.

For those of you who don’t know, Riley Kogen was 5 years old when she tragically passed away. As Ali so beautifully described last night: At the 11th hour, when they had spent countless hours in the hospital, Mitch used every single last inch of strength he had to contact NJ Sharing Network. When he was answered by the folks there he explained that he needed to speak to someone, and it had to be quick. There wasn’t much time left, and he knew that this wasn’t the end for Riley.

The next day, several of Riley’s organs were used and transplanted to people who without them would have also passed away. Riley was only 5 years old, but she lives on in the people whose lives she saved.

I still cannot fathom the amount of anguish that Riley’s family has faced in her recent passing, but what I want to highlight is their strength and how beautiful it is that they are choosing to celebrate Riley and the time they got to share their lives with her. Unfortunately, I never met Riley, and that’s a damn shame because simply put, she was a firecracker! You can tell by her pictures that she had the kind of energy that could light up an entire room.

After Mitch and Ali became more familiar with NJ Sharing (North/Central New Jersey’s organ procurement organization committed to increasing the number of lives saved) they realized the current issue and demand for organs. They decided they wanted to take things one step further and that was when they launched their organization: Riley’s Dance.

Last night was the first of many events facilitated to raise proceeds to support their organization and help remember Riley. I am just so blessed to have met the Kogen family when I did. Speaking at the event last night was so touching, and it’s something I won’t ever forget. I mentioned earlier that I never met Riley, but to know her family is to understand how special she must have been.

Everyone at The Wave Set is looking forward to hosting some upcoming events with the gang from Riley’s Dance. Talk about an All-Star Squad! Please take a minute to visit, http://rileysdance.org and see how Riley’s legacy lives on.

Finally, as I was reminded last night- Enjoy every moment you have here in this life, and share it with the ones you love. We are vital to each other.

Peace & Love,