Kansas City Chiefs friends, we need your help.

Twenty-one years ago, we created a nonprofit in Jackson County to serve special-needs families in Missouri and Kansas. We are a 501(c)3. I have been the volunteer director since the beginning.

Within a short time, we changed our nonprofit name to Company of Champions and shifted our focus to special-needs individuals and their families.

We learned very quickly, that there are hundreds of families seeking resources. These families were struggling with 24/7 care of a family member, and the member’s, as well as their own, physical, emotional and financial needs.

During our first year, we served 50 special needs’ individuals. Last year, in 2018, we served over 9,000 with disabilities.

My greatest motivation to help special-needs families is my daughter, who has multiple disabilities. I’ve personally learned how worried, anxious and hopeless one can get, caring for a family member who has disabilities.

We prayed for direction and how to raise financial support. Nine thousand is a lot of disabilities.

We needed a boost, for our tiny budget. Over the years we had applied for grants.

Remember that we are all volunteers. We don’t always have the time to apply or the professionalism needed to apply, which is important. But we try.

This year, we joined the Chief’s fever and applied to the Mahomies Foundation and the

KC Chiefs Women’s Organization. We were unsuccessful.

We didn’t know how we could continue to serve 9,000 with special needs on a small budget?

A day later, while cleaning out our donation storage, we found two boxes of KC Chiefs’ donations.

Our volunteer shouted, “Mrs. Mack, inside the Chiefs’ boxes are 15 signed 2017 KC Chiefs’ footballs. Mahomes, Hill, Kelce ... Oh my gosh!”

The volunteer brought one ball to me. I cried. The 2017 balls were an answer to our prayers. Our board decided to sell the balls. We could help so many more families.

I coddled that one ball, caring for it and protecting it like it was a newborn. I moved the other 14 balls to my home to hide them.

We had hope. For 21 years, we lived out of a garage and a small storage space.

We felt it was time to locate a new home, and we quickly found one. It needed massive cleaning and repair, as it was nasty. But we were willing to do the work.

We signed the contract for our “used” facility and then purchased paint, flooring, desks, shelving, second-hand appliances and hundreds of Home Depot items. For three months, we have been working our tails off, which of course, depleted our bank account.

Finally, it was time to let the world know that we would be selling 2017 KC Chiefs’ signed footballs.

We opened the boxes with the footballs. Our find, our enthusiasm, our excitement, and our “overjoyed” died. I had never looked in the boxes. The 2017 footballs were a lithographic print.

A volunteer and my daughter were the only persons to look inside the box. If I had only, just once ... looked inside the boxes.

Well, we may lose our new facility and most everything in it. Chiefs’ friends, can you help us spread the word? We are selling 15 beautiful 2017 lithograph KC Chiefs’ signed footballs.

Your purchase of a 2017 KC Chiefs’ football will bless the lives of thousands of special needs’ families. I promise.

For what it’s worth ...

“A lithograph print is more affordable but still carries a tag of exclusivity, quality and value as there is almost certainly not going to be many copies. It is not a reproduction and potentially, an original lithograph is going to demand higher prices.”

Chiefs’ fans, we need to, quickly, sell the footballs.

You can find the footballs on eBay, under Company of Champions.

Or you can come to our newly painted office for the Company of Champions Grand Opening on Dec. 6 and 7 at 1523 S.W. Missouri, in Blue Springs.

At the open house, we will be holding a silent bid for two of the 2017 KC Chiefs’ footballs and raffling one football for $5 per ticket.

Like Company of Champions on Facebook.

Thank you!

Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County's Family Week Foundation. Email her at Director@jacksoncountyfamilyweek.org.