Joan Beisel spent most of August 2008 in Beijing, watching her as the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic swim team. Due to the exponential cost to travel and attend the games half a world away, her husband Ted watched his daughter compete from the family’s favorite restaurant – Twin Willows. One fellow community member is working to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself in 2012.
Debbie Gardiner, who works with Joan at the North Kingstown School Department, has started a fundraiser effort to help the Beisel family join Elizabeth in London for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Made by the folks at Needle Designs on Tower Hill Road, Gardiner and other volunteers are selling “Team Beisel” T-shirts for $10. Volunteers are selling the shirts on the weekends at the North Kingstown Chamber of Commerce, Dave’s Marketplace in Wickford and Twin Willows. Though the shirts are being sold locally, Gardiner is hoping the word will spread.
“My hope is that this will be more than just a North Kingstown thing, but statewide,” said Gardiner. “We’re just so proud of her.”
The 19-year-old Saunderstown native and 2010 North Kingstown High School will be competing in her second Olympics . Gardiner and others are hoping that Beisel’s father, mother and brother Daniel can see their Olympian perform on the world stage.
“How many parents get to say that their daughter is going to the Olympics for a second time?” said Gardiner.
So far, many have gotten behind the effort. According to Gardiner, Twin Willows had 100 shirts in stock and already needs to replenish its shirt supply after just a few days.
Gardiner doesn’t have a goal amount but says she’d be “ecstatic” if they reached $5,000 raised. That target may be in range after she received a private donation of $1,000.
“Anything we give them is going to help, especially with how much it costs,” said Gardiner.
According to Orbitz.com, a roundtrip ticket from Logan Airport in Boston to London’s Heathrow Airport is around $850-$950 per passenger. Average hotel rates per night in the heart of London are around $500 – and those figures are just per person and don’t factor in food, tickets to Olympic events and other costs.
A portion of the proceeds raised from the shirt sales will benefit the , per the request of the Beisel family.
For more information about the shirts, leave a message for Debbie Gardiner at Needle Designs at 401-267-0800.