On August 25, 2014, PBGW hosted the Dog Days of Summer Golf Outing Fundraiser to raise money for a Diabetic Alert Dog for the son of Philadelphia Police Officer Joe Gillespie. The Colmar-based accounting firm set a goal of raising $20,000 to help offset the costs that Officer Gillespie would incur in purchasing the dog, which requires nearly a year of training.
Months of planning, soliciting donors and sponsors, and recruiting players for the event culminated on a perfect sunny afternoon. A field of over 120 golfers enjoyed lunch, a round of golf, and a Philadelphia-themed dinner complete with a raffle and silent auction. Nearly all of PBGW’s staff was present to volunteer as the company shut down the office for the day to focus all its efforts on the charitable cause.
The idea for hosting a golf outing fundraiser began when a seemingly unlikely friendship formed between a lawyer/accountant and a cop. PBGW President Rob Pritchard met 20-year veteran police officer Joe Gillespie as the two baseball fans joined team Sky Chiefs at the 2014 Phillies Phantasy Camp in Clearwater, Florida. Joe, who also coaches his son’s baseball team and pitches for the Philadelphia Police Blue Sox, helped lead the Sky Chiefs to victory.
While at the camp, Joe expressed his concern over his son’s health. Only a year earlier, his then fourteen-year-old son, also named Joe, began experiencing health issues that ultimately led to his hospitalization. Young Joe’s subsequent diagnosis of type one diabetes was a game changer for the Gillespie family. Now their lives included paying close attention to Joe’s diet, making sure he tested his blood sugar levels frequently, and injecting him with insulin when necessary. Their fear for his safety increased after learning of a friend’s child who tragically passed away as a result of severely low blood sugar.
With the help and support of dozens of area businesses and individuals, PBGW was able to exceed its goal. Nearly $25,000 was raised to pay for Ace, the Diabetic Alert Dog who will be joining the Gillespie family this October. Shortly thereafter, Joe and his wife Joni began researching Diabetic Alert Dogs that could be trained to detect such dangerous blood sugar levels and alert their handler to take necessary action. They vowed to do whatever was necessary to provide their son with this potentially life-saving companion. As the father of two young children, Rob Pritchard was touched by the plight of these devoted parents. His offer to help the Gillespie’s raise the funds necessary to pay for the alert dog was graciously accepted, and the “Dog Days” fundraiser was created.
With the help and support of dozens of area businesses and individuals, PBGW was able to exceed its goal. Nearly $25,000 was raised to pay for Ace, the Diabetic Alert Dog who will be joining the Gillespie family this October.