R. Kaukėnas couldn‘t hold back the tears: „Helping children means as much for me as getting into the Olympics“
Feels good to do good – this is often said about charity events. These words were repeatedly spoken by many famous people on Friday in „Merchants Club“ where Gala Charity Evening took place, organized by Charitable Group of basketball player Rimantas Kaukėnas.
„The idea of a charity evening is to bring together our entire community to share the work already done together and to continue this noble mission – collecting donations to buy medical equipment for Kaunas clinics – special needles and a special drill for less painful treponobiopsy procedures for the children. I want to thank everybody who is not indifferent to the suffering of children of Lithuania, help them to survive the serious trauma of finding out the diagnosis and gives them the necessary help,” said the founder of the foundation, basketball player Rimantas Kaukėnas, during the opening speech of the Gala Charity Evening.
A lot of people wanted to contribute to this noble initiative – represenentatives of business, politics, arts, sports and entertainment sectors were among the attendees.
„We are so happy that because of your big hearts together we all can give support for the ill children,“ Jonas Radzevičius, the host of the evening, appealed to the crowd. He reminded the audience about the noble activities of R. Kaukėnas foundation that recently celebrated its 6th birthday. During this time, the foundation provided significant support to 43 seriously ill children, made the dreams come true for more than 100 children, organized over 50 events and implemented 86 initiatives for collecting funds for the children.
At the beginning of the event, the host of the evening, Jonas Radzevičius, also read a very sensitive letter from a mother of a passed away child named Edgaras, in which she shared her thoughts on the difficult experience during the fight against cancer.
Rimantas Kaukėnas, founder of the Charitable Group, also spoke about the activities of the foundation. After thanking the attendees for coming to the Gala Evening, he shared the story of his family – about the feeling as if the earth slipped from under his feet when he learned that his father was so ill that he was about to pass away. „After I learned this, a lot changed,“ spoke R.Kaukėnas. „My father was a strict, strong man, also he was a workaholic, stubborn, but very generous. I remember, I was a very energetic and a bit naughty kid although I constantly escaped the situation as innocent and my brother got scolded instead – he was higher, slower, although I always tried to outrun him.
While growing up I was not afraid of anything. I wanted to play basketball, but my father once told me that this is not going to happen because I was too short – since then I always wanted to prove him wrong, I firmly believed that I can play. Then the time came when I finally proved it to everyone, wherever I played – in Italy, Spain, Belgium. Finally, my father told me that he was proud of me and of what I had achieved.
Later time for a charity came. Many been telling me that I no good will happen out of this initiative, that I decided to do charity just to show off, that the foundation will not function properly, but I had a lot of motivation. Six years passed already since its establishment. I am still passionate to prove all skeptics that charity is necessary and important. For me, it’s just as important as getting into the Olympics,“ spoke R.Kaukėnas with a trembling voice and teary eyes that made other Gala Charity Evening attendees also feel emotional.
Initiator of the noble event presented several guests with a special gift – a boomerang symbolizing charity and goodness. According to him, the more goodness is spread, the more of it returns. Founder of the Charitable Group presented the mentioned award to the jewelery designer, foundation volunteer Elvyra Monginienė, the head of „Small planet“ Vytautas Kaikaris and the owner of „Avia Solutions Group“ Gediminas Žiemelis who has participated in the activities of the Foundation since the very beginning, for exceptional support for seriously ill children. Representative of the international business, G. Žiemelis, shared his thoughts with the guests about the fund’s activities and the importance of helping children.
Well-known artists performed during the Gala Charity Evening – Merūnas Vitulskis, Vaidas Baumila, Viktoras Woop and the Electric Ladies. Girls of „Deimantė children’s fashion theater“ and well-know women with their kids presented the collection of the brand „Minimi“. Illusionist Modestas Wizard delighted guests with mysterious performances. The guests were invited to participate in an auction supporting the foundation where attributes of famous athletes where featured – T-shirts of NBA basketball player LeBron James James, football player Cristiano Ronaldo, Lithuanian basketball players Šarūnas Jasikevičius and Mindaugas Kuzminskas, also a medal of Benedict Vanagas from Dakar rally, balls with signatures of Kaunas Žalgiris players, ice hockey ball of ice hockey player Darius Kasparaitis and the T-shirt of the founder of the Charitable Group, basketball player Rimantas Kaukėnas.
During the Gala Charity Evening 20 050 euros were raised for the Charitable Group of basketball player Rimantas Kaukėnas that supports severely ill children.
Photos by: Vilmantas Morkvėnas