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Mighty Me, The story of a second chance, love and how a transplant can change lives

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In this episode of Peachtree Corners Life, we hear from Analy Navarro, a mother, and author of the book “Mighty Me.” A resident of Peachtree Corners and first-time author, her new children’s book tells the story of how she became a living organ donor for her daughter.

Navarro became her daughter’s living donor in 2018 and allowed this transformative experience to guide her into a new career as an author, an advocate for organ donation, and a leader in raising awareness and funds for Biliary Atresia.

Listen in to hear Rico and Analy talk about the journey of this amazing family.

Resources:

Organ Donor Information: https://www.organdonor.gov
“Mighty Me” Book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mighty-Me-Magical-Journey-Strength/dp/057891896X
Analy’s Social Media: @the_a_navarro

Timestamp:

[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:02:17] – How Analy and Julia’s Journey Started
[00:05:20] – The Process of the Donation
[00:08:20] – The Importance of Organ Donations
[00:11:11] – Post Surgery and Family Support
[00:16:33] – The Idea Behind “Mighty Me”
[00:18:09] – New and Other Books
[00:20:42] – Funding Biliary Atresia Research
[00:22:31] – Where to Find Analy and The Book
[00:25:10] – Closing

“Thankfully the team that we had at Egleston and CHOA was amazing and they were able to educate us at every level about what the disease was about, what to expect, what the procedures were going to be, what our options were. And so we’re just so incredibly thankful with Children’s and everything that they’ve been able to do for us and for our family and give life back to our daughter.”

Analya Navarro

Podcast transcript

[00:00:30] Rico: Hi everyone. This is Rico Figliolini, host of Peachtree Corners Life. Today, we have a special guest, I’ll bring her on shortly. Our sponsor of the podcast and this family podcast is Peachtree Corners Magazine. Which is coming out. We just put that to the printer this week and we’ll have our issues hitting the mailboxes sometime next week, middle of next week I think. So check it out. It’s one of our biggest issues and we’re talking about holidays in Peachtree Corners along with a lot of other stories in there. But today’s podcast is an important podcast. It deals with a mother and author and her child. But let me start off a little bit with some stats that you all should be aware of. 106,868. That’s the number of men, women, and children on the national transplant list. According to the OrganDonor.gov site. Every year, certain amount get to have a transplant, but it’s a smaller number then what’s on the list. Last year alone, only 39,000 transplants were performed. That means that about 8 lives almost every day pass because there’s not enough living or past life donors to be able to help with the situation. Today’s guest is an author, a mother. She’s a mother first, became an author because of the journey she’s had. She’s a resident of Peachtree Corners and she is a first time author. And the journey she’s had with her daughter that inspired that book because the child had to have a transplant as well. And because there weren’t the right amount of people or actually the right person to donate or the right organ available, her mom became the living donor in 2018. And that inspired this book and our conversation today. So let me, bring her on, her name is Analy Navarro. Hey Analy, nice to have you on.

[00:02:16] Analy: Hi, thank you for having me.

[00:02:17] Rico: Sure. So tell us a little bit about the journey that you had with your daughter. And that must be tough because at some point, you were looking for donors. But then you had to make that decision because no donor organs were available that matched. Maybe not a tough decision for a mother, I don’t know. I’m a father of three kids and I think I would feel the same way. And I certainly would do what needed to be done to save my child. So tell us a little bit about what that journey was like for you and how that started.

[00:02:47] Analy: So our daughter, Julia she’s a first born and when she was almost four months old, she was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia. And that is a rare condition that about one in 10,000 babies are born with here in the US. What that meant is that she was inevitably going to need a liver transplant, and she was going to go into the waiting list. There is a procedure called a Kasai procedure that can be done to help elongate the life of the liver, the native liver. Unfortunately, my daughter was diagnosed too late to be able to qualify for that procedure. Our pediatrician initially missed it and she was diagnosed at almost four months. So at that point, having that Kasai procedure, it was only like a 25% success rate. And so we decided that it was best to just wait for a transplant. We ended up being listed and waiting on a transplant. And we were at the top of the waiting list for a child. Unfortunately, one didn’t come. And maybe not unfortunately, but just one didn’t come. Initially, when we were told that she was going to need a liver transplant we immediately asked, is that something that we ourselves can donate to her? And thankfully the liver is one of the few organs that you are able to be a living donor for. And so we went through the process and I was able to be her donor. It was a very extensive process to be able to qualify as a donor. And it happened here in Atlanta. So she was at Egleston and I was at Emory University Hospital. They collaborate and they are one of the few places in the country that are able to do living donors. And we are so fortunate to be here in Atlanta where that was possible.

[00:04:37] Rico: Wow. Unbelievable. That’s fortunate that you were able to be in the right place. It’s almost like God’s hands, put that there.

[00:04:44] Analy: Exactly. It was tough times, but we were at the right place and we were fortunate enough to be able to be at a place where they could do the procedure and where I could also be a living donor. And I was fortunate enough to be a match for her. They are many parents that have to end up waiting for an organ donor because neither a family member or themselves are able to donate for whatever reason. So they just have to sit there and wait. And that’s a very painful and just dreadful wait for you to just sit there and watch your child deteriorate.

[00:05:20] Rico: Now, most people may not understand this, a certain portion of your liver that was donated. Obviously not your whole liver cause yeah. So what is it? It’s like 25%? They find a portion of it that needs to be donated, right?

[00:05:34] Analy: Yeah. So for Julia, I had to undergo about, I think it was like a two, three day series of tests at Emory. Everything from blood work to scans. I mean, they look at everything. You have to be in optimal health in order to be a donor. And then aside from that, you also have to have the perfect liver. And like I said, it’s, it was a miracle that I was able to donate to her and that we were at a place where they could do it.

[00:06:00] Rico: Wow. So how long was the process from the point where you went under to the point where it was completed?

[00:06:07] Analy: So I went in at around five o’clock in the morning. Before I went to Emory, I went to CHOA, to Egleston to see her before the procedure. And I was able to give her a hug and a kiss, and then I walked across the street to Emory. And then from there on, I think it was about, I remember very little of it. It’s about an eight hour procedure for myself. And halfway through it, that’s when they brought her in and then they started to open her up and get her ready and get the native liver out in order to put my half in there or my portion.

[00:06:41] Rico: So that was 2018, that was three years ago. How old is your daughter now?

[00:06:45] Analy: She’s four. And her fourth anniversary is coming up in March the 26th. And every year we celebrate it as if it were her birthday, because it is a sort of rebirth.

[00:06:56] Rico: Is she aware of what happened? How aware is she of everything?

[00:07:02] Analy: Oh yeah, she knows the whole story. And that’s why the book was born. I wanted to make sure that she knew what she had been through. And I wanted her to feel empowered and own her story. So I want her to be able to share what she has journeyed through and understand the importance and how strong and mighty she is. At the time, she was only seven months old. But since I can remember, I’ve always told her that she has a small portion of mom in her belly. And that it was something that she braved through. And that’s how the book came about. I started telling her all these different stories. And I said, what’s a good way to present this to a child and to help her understand what it is that she’s been through at such a young age. And I was not able to find a book or anything that would, you know, that she could see herself in. So I went ahead and I decided, you know what, I’m going to write a book because she’s not the only child that has had a transplant and she’s not the only child that a parent needs to have this type of discussion with. And sometimes it’s not the child per se. It might be a brother, it might be a friend, it might be a grandparent that had to have a transplant. So this is a good way to present it to them and open that conversation and start that important dialogue about organ donation.

[00:08:20] Rico: It’s amazing. And the book is Mighty Me. Just bought that off Barnes and noble. So everyone should go out. We’ll have the link in the show notes and stuff. It’s a great book. Well-written, beautifully explained actually. Very well done. The artwork is phenomenal. So I think you have a great book there and a great story, obviously. So I’m glad that you were able to do this. Unfortunately, not every parent is able to do this, like you said. And it’s very difficult to find donors online and because of COVID. And you were fortunate also, that was the other thing, 2018 was pre COVID. So when COVID came about, living donors, that dropped. The amount of living donor donations dropped by far. And so there was a push to do donors after death. And that’s been, I think that’s actually been at the highest level, I think in 2020. Something like that, than ever before.

[00:09:07] Analy: The important point that you’re bringing up, because we are one of the happy stories when it comes to Biliary Atresia. Unfortunately, and it’s very heartbreaking, I’ve seen too many children pass away and die either one because they didn’t have a donor that came in on time. Or two, it’s such an aggressive disease that it’s hard to get them to the point. It’s such a fine line between being sick enough to qualify for a transplant and being healthy enough to be able to receive the transplant. And some centers might not have as much experience. And then, so we end up with parents going and traveling to other places to be able to receive a transplant as well. On top of the fact that some centers don’t actually do living donors. It’s so important to start building that awareness about how important it is to become a donor, but then also that there is the option to be a living donor. And as you pointed out at the beginning, there’s a long list of people waiting to receive an organ such as the liver. And many of those people on the waiting list are actually pediatric patients and tiny babies. Julia was only seven months old when she received her transplant. So there are babies waiting on different organs that sometimes we, we don’t think about because we don’t, when we think of somebody waiting on an organ, we picture an adult. We don’t picture a child or a newborn or a baby. But, you know, it’s important to keep that in mind and become aware that we are able to save people’s lives and leave a legacy behind. One that is of love and of life to a child or an adult.

[00:10:45] Rico: You have beautiful kids. I’ve just put the picture on so that people can see. Beautiful kids. Here’s another shot actually, and this is you and Julia

[00:10:55] Analy: Julia, yes. And I’ve gotten many questions from people wanting to be living donors. Especially women that have wanted to donate to a parent or to a sibling, and being pregnant and having a child after being an organ donor.

[00:11:11] Rico: And you’re a great advocate for it because you’ve been through the process. But let me take a step back also, because there’s dangers in everything that’s done in this world. Especially when it comes to transplants. Rejection of the organ donation and all that. So how long was your daughter actually under observation after the surgery was done?

[00:11:28] Analy: So she was there for about a week and a half, almost two weeks. She had some issues post transplant with her breathing. But it was because of her Biliary Atresia, she developed cirrhosis of the liver. So before she received the transplant, she was yellow. And I wish I would’ve sent you those pictures, but she was extremely yellow because her bilirubin level was extremely high. And so as soon as my portion of the liver went in, within a couple of hours, you could just see her looking so much healthier and her skin color completely changed. It was, it’s amazing to see.

[00:12:04] Rico: It’s a bit of a miracle to be able to see that. And especially everything that you’ve gone through. I imagine the family circled round and was supportive of everything?

[00:12:14] Analy: Oh yeah, for sure. My husband, he was amazing. I, I always say that I had the easiest portion in all of this because I was in the hospital. And he’s the one that had to send me out to be the donor and go under the knife. And then after that run to CHOA and take care of her daughter and then send her off. And I can’t even imagine what he was going through, waiting on me to be done with my part of the procedure. And for her to come out at the end and be well. For both of us to be well. And then take care of both of us at the same time, too. Thankfully like you pointed out, we have a strong support system and our families are here and they were able to take turns and watch me. And then also have him stay with her at the hospital too.

[00:13:03] Rico: Just because I know that, I don’t want to get into necessarily health insurance and all that. But was that, were you able to be covered by all that? Did the insurance cover your transplants and all that?

[00:13:15] Analy: Oh yeah, yes. Thankfully we had insurance. And if you are a living donor, the insurance coverage for the person that needs the liver or that needs the organ is the one that will cover you as well. Yeah, we had coverage and it’s, it was a lot that we had to go through. But thankfully we had everything. Everything just all the stars lined up.

[00:13:37] Rico: Yeah, definitely. The hospitals here being able to do it here, not having to travel, or being away for 2, 3, 4 weeks for the whole process to be done. That’s just, I could see how that could be a burden and stress.

[00:13:50] Analy: Oh, yeah, for sure. You know, you’re just so worried. You’re a parent and you know what it must have been like. Thankfully the team that we had at Egleston and CHOA was amazing and they were able to educate us at every level about what the disease was about, what to expect, what the procedures were going to be, what our options were. And so we’re just so incredibly thankful with children’s and everything that they’ve been able to do for us and for our family and give life back to our daughter.

[00:14:19] Rico: Yeah. And even the other side of that, being able to, for some families getting paid time off, maybe. Or being able to do that, to have the financial ability, the health insurance, to be able to do that. And the support system of family. Becomes very important at this point. Does your daughter still have to, I imagine your daughter still has to go back on a regular basis to be checked every once in a while, or?

[00:14:42] Analy: Yes, and I did as well. So she is at the point where she only goes back every six months. Just so they can you know, do some blood work and make sure that she’s doing fine. And thankfully she’s thriving and she is full of energy and life. She’s just amazing. And also initially for the first year, I want to say, I had to go back every so often as well. Because they wanted to make sure that my liver was regenerating and that everything was working correctly.

[00:15:10] Rico: Okay. And the idea is that the liver within your daughter’s body is going to regenerate also, I would imagine?

[00:15:16] Analy: Yeah, and grow with her.

[00:15:17] Rico: Yeah. So, and as far as the, was she having to take medications? Because sometimes with transplants, I guess you have to do that possibly?

[00:15:26] Analy: Yes. So initially she had to take seven different medications and now she’s down to one. And she takes an immunosuppressant that helps her system not attack the liver because obviously it’s not her native liver.

[00:15:40] Rico: Does she have to keep taking that?

[00:15:42] Analy: She has to take it, yeah. It’s a very insignificant almost, it’s like a little tiny droplet that she takes every day, twice a day. And it just makes sure that her immune system is at a certain level where they need it to be, to make sure that it doesn’t go into rejection because of the liver.

[00:15:58] Rico: Do you have to be a little bit more careful because of COVID?

[00:16:02] Analy: Yes. And now parents that are having their children get their transplant right now, I can’t even imagine. Because initially, the immunosuppressants that they take at the beginning of their transplant is a lot higher. And then they start dosing them down a little bit. So for us, we keep our circle very close and small. And it’s just basically family, a couple of friends that we know that are very still cautious. And it’s important for people to keep children in mind that are also immunocompromised. Cancer patients and, and everybody, when it comes to COVID as well

[00:16:33] Rico: Sure. So stepping back a little bit, when did the idea of Mighty Me the book come about? Was it before or after this? When did that thought hit you? That you should be an author of a book like this?

[00:16:44] Analy: Well, you know, I’ve always enjoyed reading and that was one of the things that I wanted to pass down to my children. And with Julia, I always bought her a lot of books and I wanted her to live many different lives. And I thought, what a great story her story is to help educate other children and to help other children see themselves as well. Not as victims of a disease or as victims of life that they’ve struggled with a disease, but more to feel empowered and be able to share that with their friends. I wanted her to have something to be able to take to school and say, look, this is my favorite book, and this is why it’s my favorite book. It’s about me. It’s about my own journey and I braved through this and that’s how it came to be. I wrote the story. In like a day, a day and a half maybe. And then the longest process was trying to find the right illustrator that had the look that I was going for. And that was going to be able to tell the story with the pictures the way I had envisioned it. And as you know, with children’s books it’s half the story and half the illustration. So if you don’t have both and the perfect marriage of both, the story might not be able to transmit everything that the author intended. And yeah. So that’s how it came to be. Eventually I found someone in another country that took me forever, but it’s been an amazing journey so far.

[00:18:09] Rico: She’s in Mexico, I think right? Is where she’s from. I mean, it’s just beautiful illustrative work. So you’re right. I think children’s books or any picture book really, lives on both the writing and the art work and it has to be captivating. And I think as anyone might look through this, they’ll see that. So it was very well done. Do you plan other books as well?

[00:18:29] Analy: Yes. Actually this book has had such an amazing, I received such an amazing reaction within the transplant community. Because as I said before, it’s nothing that we’ve had before. We didn’t have a way to open that dialogue with our children or their siblings and help them understand in a child way what a transplant was and what the journey was about. And so this has been so well received. I’m actually working on another two books right now and to tell the stories of, one is unfortunately the other side and the other end of children that end up not being able to get their transplant. So that’s such a hard thing to, to talk about with anyone, but especially children. And I felt that in my heart, it was something that I had to work on and do as well to bring that about. And it has to do with one of the characters in the book that’s in the Mighty Me book right now as well.

[00:19:24] Rico: That is a tough subject to be able to, I can’t even imagine doing that. You know, as far as owning that journey, transforming that journey, do you see a special mission for your daughter as well? As she gets older, does she participate with you? I mean, she’s only four. But I’m sure, these events that you go to and stuff maybe on this.

[00:19:43] Analy: Yes. She’s gone to a couple of the book signings that I’ve done. And we are also working on putting together a package to donate to the transplant floor at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. And so she’s very excited about that. She wants to sign all the books and write them a note and send them little drawings and say you’re strong. And I was like, Julia, that’s so kind. But it’s, I think it’s up to the families and the parents to educate their children on this and make them feel empowered by what they’ve been through. And help them understand that there are other little children that are also waiting and in a way, you’re an advocate for them. And you are an advocate for transplants and for Biliary Atresia. And not to give her a big burden to be able to do that, but just to make it into something that just comes with who she is as a person. And be able to, to be giving in kind and just be considerate and help share the stories of others based on her own story as well.

[00:20:42] Rico: Yeah, she has a strong story to tell. And a loving mother and family, obviously. To be able to go through all that. The fundraising work that you’re doing is through, mainly through the books, I imagine. And they’re available online. I think that, well I know I bought mine on I think it was Barnes and Noble or Amazon probably.

[00:20:59] Analy: Yeah. So you can find it on Amazon. And we’ve worked with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta before, because they, it just happens too that they have one of the few research programs for Biliary Atresia. So Biliary Atresia is a disease that we don’t know much about yet. We don’t know what causes it. We don’t know how to prevent it. As I said before, the only forms of treatment that we have right now, are the Kasai procedure and a transplant. So we are working with them to be able to fund their research program. And before COVID we actually hosted an event, a fundraiser, and we donated a substantial amount to them through the event as well. And we hope to continue to work with them on this and help find a cure or a way to prevent BA. Because research to us is such an important aspect of a rare disease. You’re not only helping the community, which is something that we love to do as well, but you’re making a global impact. Because they are children in other countries, even here in CHOA. You know, you see people traveling from other countries to be able to bring their children here and have a transplant. So to us, that’s a way of us giving back, being able to help save other children as well. And give back as much as we can. And every holiday season, since Julia’s transplant, we try to hold a fundraiser. And before we had the book, we would donate blankets or toys and do like a toy drive, or a blanket drive. And this year, just to make it that much more meaningful, we want to donate our Mighty book to the transplant department, at CHOA too

[00:22:31] Rico: So while you’re on that, where would people go to besides Amazon, if people search on Amazon, they can find Mighty Me, by Navarro. That’s an easy enough search. Anywhere else that they can find the book?

[00:22:45] Analy: Just on Amazon right now. Hopefully next year, I’m trying to turn it into a hardcover and be able to bring the other books and create that much awareness and donate more too.

[00:22:56] Rico: And is there a website or social media that people can follow or visit to find out more?

[00:23:00] Analy: Sure, yeah. My Instagram account is DANavarro. And as you pointed out, my name is Analy Navarro. So you’ll be, you’ll find me pretty easily. I don’t think there are many of me yet.

[00:23:14] Rico: Yes, for sure. If people do Navarro, mighty Me, I think the book pops up like number one or something. And so portions of the book sales goes to the research.

[00:23:25] Analy: So the fundraiser that we’re doing right now is for every $25, we are donating two books to transplant children at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. And also we want to donate additional funds to the research program as well.

[00:23:39] Rico: Okay. And it’s important to be able to do that. There’s plenty of unfortunate diseases out there that don’t have advocates for them. They’re don’t even have, I guess they’re called orphan drugs where there’s not even treatments because there’s just not enough of a sickness out there for pharmaceutical companies to go and create treatments, to research treatment for them. So it’s great that you’re doing this. Obviously there’s a personal experience there and a personal reason for doing this, but you know, you’re the best advocate for that because of that. So I’m glad, one door opens, one door closes, one door closes, one door opens. So the, the idea of the transplant and the book that came about from that is just phenomenal. I was going to say, I’m sure, as you said, there’ll be more books coming, maybe even in other languages as well. That’s a possibility I would think.

[00:24:27] Analy: Yes. As you said, we are, we actually translated the book to Spanish already and looking into Portuguese. I had people from even the Netherlands and Spain and Portugal reach out to me that they ordered the book, they received it. And as I mentioned before is a very, it’s a one of a kind book when it comes to our transplant community. And it’s not just for livers. It’s also as you probably noticed, when you read the book, it doesn’t mention anything about an organ, or it doesn’t mention anything about a liver. It’s just the journey that this mighty little girl goes on to be able to save her own life. And so I wanted to make it as broad as possible so that any child could be able to see themselves in the journey, regardless of what they’ve gone through.

[00:25:10] Rico: Yeah, no, I think the idea of searching, I don’t want to give spoiler alert. But searching for this stone I think it was a good, obviously a good analogy of what, this little girl in the book goes through. So yeah, it’s, I think anyone that’s looking at transplants. Anything quite frankly, hope in something. That journey to be able to find hope and resolve is important. So I would encourage people to go out and search Mighty Me. Find the book online. If you have questions for Analy Navarro, you can find her through the social media that she mentioned. Probably comment and message her on Instagram. Do you want to give us any more thoughts that you want to leave us with, Analy?

[00:25:50] Analy: Yes. I do want to say that you know, sometimes as a parent and especially as a first time parent, you are dealt some cards that sometimes you don’t anticipate. You think about having this perfect little baby, that’s going to be healthy and strong and ou r baby was perfect and strong. Unfortunately she wasn’t healthy. And we had to journey through this very complicated road and there was no roadmap to. So if you find yourself being at the beginning of a complicated journey, just know that it’s important for you to choose what it is that you’re going to make out of the journey and how you want it to end up. I know sometimes a lot of things are out of your control, but if you just trust and become positive and just think positively. And know that your child feeds off of your energy and that as a parent it is important for you to be their rock. To be able to be their powerhouse and feed them that energy and just make the most out of it. And obviously, if you’re not an organ donor, please consider one because you are able to save many lives and you can even do it while you are still living. There are many children, as we said before, waiting on a transplant. And it’s a painful wait for the parent and for the child as well. So you have the power within you to give life to others and to be able to save them and leave a great legacy of love and life behind.

[00:27:15] Rico: Great. Perfect. Thank you Analy for spending some time with us and telling us about your story and your book. Everyone, it’s a great little book. I think you should pick it up, Mighty Me. Find it on Amazon. And if you have questions about the journey or you have your own journey that you want to ask questions about, I’m sure Analy Navarro will be more than willing to answer those questions. So find her social media link in our show notes or search for Navarro, Mighty Me. And you’ll find where she is.

[00:27:43] Analy: Thank you so much. Thank you for having me here. And as you said, you can find me on Facebook or Instagram, and I’ll be more than happy to share more questions or answer your questions too.

[00:27:52] Rico: Excellent. Thanks again. Bye.

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The Peachtree Corners Festival 2022

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Returns Triumphantly for Its 11th Year, the Second year at Town Center

July 1-3 is gearing up to be an exciting weekend for Peachtree Corners. Not only is it the lead up to Independence Day, but it’s also the 10th anniversary of Peachtree Corner’s founding. Why not celebrate it all at the 11th annual Peachtree Corners Festival? Enjoy food, entertainment, music and art with your family and friends — not to mention, the festival (and parking) is free and open to the public.

The Peachtree Corners Festival has been a staple of Peachtree Corners since before the city was even officially, well, a city. The festival is a nonprofit “dedicated to bringing a safe, wholesome and family-friendly festival to the City of Peachtree Corners,” according to peachtreecornersfestival.com. It’s volunteer-run, so its success is due to the passionate citizens who are driven by pride for their homes as well as its sponsors. Funds earned by the festival are directed towards beautification and education projects in Peachtree Corners.

Dave Huffman has been involved with the festival for 10 years and served as its president for nine. He said that it can be stressful at times to handle the hundreds of details that go into planning a festival, but the volunteers make it manageable, and the sponsors’ funding makes it all come to fruition.

“As our city has grown, the festival has kept pace with that growth,” Huffman said. “That makes the work a bit more every year, but when we see the smiles of our attendees and hear good things from our vendors and sponsors, it makes it all worthwhile and we start to think about how we can make the next year even better!”

As the saying goes, it truly takes a village. Huffman cited several members of the Peachtree Corners Festival team who make the dream come true, including Arts Director Ayanna Graham, Music Director Becky Lyon and the First Lady of Peachtree Corners, Debbie Mason, as vice president.

“Debbie was one of the founders of the festival and spearheads our work with the many sponsors we depend on,” Huffman said. “She is wonderful!”

This year, the festival will return to the Town Green located in the Town Center development, which has become the entertainment hub of the city. Due to the tight fit and muddiness that the festival experienced last year, though, it will also be returning to its roots in a sense: while the Town Green will still host music and kids’ activities, a section of Peachtree Corners Circle will be blocked off to make room for the booths, food court and classic car show.

Saturday’s Classic Car Show and Sunday’s Georgia Concours d’Elegance will be located in the Hexagon building parking lot next to the food court.

The weekend-long event will kick off with a concert at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 1, followed by a festival on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Read on for more information about what to expect from this year’s Peachtree Corners Festival.

Festival Map

Music

The Saturday and Sunday entertainment lineup will be one of the highlights of the festival, according to Huffman. Lyon has carefully evaluated and selected entertainers from a myriad of submissions. Festival attendees are encouraged to bring picnic baskets and coolers full of food and non-alcoholic beverages to enjoy during the perfor­mances.

The Drifters

The Friday night headliner has been announced as the iconic R&B group of the 50s and 60s, The Drifters. Best known for their classics “Under the Boardwalk,” “Save the Last Dance for Me” and “This Magic Moment,” among numerous other hits, The Drifters will have you swaying and celebrating on the Town Green.

Saturday’s musical lineup starts with Leah Bell Fraser, 12-1 p.m., a singer who delivers compelling original songs as well as those from some of her favorite artists, including Patsy Cline, Linda Ronstadt and Janis Joplin. A rock band from Virginia, Bulletproof, takes the stage 1:15-2:15 p.m.

They’re followed by Sonic Alley, a rock and roll cover band that features classic tracks and deep cuts performed by veteran musicians from the Atlanta area, 2:30-3:30 p.m. From 3:45-4:45 p.m., the New Bridge Band will rock the house with their unique mix of familiar and eclectic songs from across the musical spectrum.

On Sunday, 12-1 p.m., Catherine Wynder performs performing Lind­sey Stirling covers, pop songs and movie soundtracks. The Hearsay will continue the celebration, 1:15-2:15 p.m., with their combination of rock and pop that has hints of 90s alternative, pop-pun, and modern indie music.

More musical acts will be finalized soon, so please check peachtreecornersfestival.com for the latest updates.

Cars, Bikes, Hot Rides

1954 Cadillac Convertible

The Classic Car & Bike Show (“classic” for both the types of cars it represents and its traditional presence at the Peachtree Corners Festival) will take place on Saturday, July 2, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s free for spectators; if you decide to register your car or bike on-site, you’ll only pay $15. The awesome vehicles will be lined up at the ready for you to photograph and admire. Meanwhile, trained judges will assess which rides are worthy of the coveted Top Car & Bike Awards and Top Class trophies. Enjoy food, a DJ and fantastic door prizes.

Georgia’s Concours d’Elegance will exhibit on Sunday, July 3, from 12 noon to 4 p.m., and admission is also free. Here, you’ll be witness to a lot of rare, collectible and vintage cars. The special “Sneak Peak” will show what’s coming in 2023 to Atlanta.

A classic car is more than merely a car. It’s an aesthetic, an artwork, a relic of history, a feat of technology. Concours d’Elegance brings that glorious showmanship and craftsmanship directly to you — and for free at the Peachtree Corners Festival. Support Peachtree Corners’ Concours with your attendance this year so that even more beautiful motor vehicles can be brought in next year and continue to unite our community in the pursuit of beauty.

Arts, Crafts and More

Local artisans and business owners will represent their wares at the festival. They’ll be selling everything from home goods to jewelry to crafts, so be a good neighbor and shop ‘til you drop!

Built by Bees: Tim Haratine started his honey business in 2015 with two goals: to make customers and employees happy, and to do so by promising good products and great value. All of Built by Bees’ many delicious products use raw honey and earn repeat customers. Visit builtbybees.com.

Chili P. Designs: Owner Julia channels her artistic skill and love for her family into creating beautiful wood signs perfect for home decor. Gift a design to a family member or display it in your own home for guests to admire. More at chilipdesigns.com.

Goddess Luxe: Necklace chains of delicate gold or silver, rings embedded with dazzling crystals, elegantly shaped earrings: this shop lives up to its name and makes jewelry fit for a goddess. See the collection at goddessluxejewelry.com.

Discover Atlanta Chinese Art: Godwin Kou and Kuansoi
(Christine) Kou are both accomplished painters and calligraphers dedicated to sharing authentic Chinese art with the world. Their work is delicate and striking while staying pure and unconfined. Go to discoveratlantachineseart.com for info.

Kettlerock Brewing: You can support this new, up-and-coming, family-run brewery boasting good stories and great beer with a purchase of their shirts or mugs. Go to kettlerockbrewing.com.

Knox Carter Kandles: The 100% soy candles melt into a gorgeous marbling so, with their pretty packaging and wide variety of scents, they look just as incredible as they smell. More info at knoxcarterkandles.com.

Puppy Present Designs: Specializing in matching collars and leashes for all sizes of dogs, your puppy is sure to be the prettiest at the park. Find their shop on Etsy.

Reminis Soaps: Stacey, the maker of Reminis Soaps, began her soap-making journey in 2016 because she was looking for a solution to her oily skin and post-shower itchiness. Now she handmakes beautiful, delicious-smelling soaps using only all-natural ingredients. Check out reminissoaps.com.

Whatnot Bear Mobile: This business is family-owned and operated. It began with the purpose of bringing children support and joy. Make your own child happy at the festival by coming home with a fuzzy friend! Find more at whatnotbearmobile.com.

XOC Designs: Specializing in a variety of materials to handmake stunning furniture and other homewares, you’re sure to wow your guests with these pieces. Browse xocdesigns.com for details.

Ziparoos: Committed to a sustainable home, Ziparoos makes and sells multi-purpose, reusable storage bags — but they also sell other eco-friendly products that are perfect for the kitchen or cleaning around the house. And they come in cute prints, so they’re fun for the whole family!

Find the full vendor list on the Exhibitor page at peachtreecornersfestival.com.

Food and Beverage Vendors

Whatever you’re craving, Peachtree Corners Festival is serving it up. From sweet treats to cool down in the heat or a little spice to intensify your day, the food court has you covered.

Speaking of sweet and spicy, Chocolate & Spice Eatery will be dishing it out both ways. Their Caribbean-French-Brazilian fusion-inspired offerings include islander’s sorbet served in pineapple, a Creole low country boil served with your choice of protein and vegetables, savory Brazilian barbecue and, of course, the classic festival food — turkey legs. Find them at facebook.com/chocoandspice.

Or chew on this: Chew-on Chuan stands out at festivals with their Latino-Asian fusion street food, and the Peachtree Corners Festival is no different. Smack on Asian street skewers (your choice of protein) with a side of mango salsa and tortilla, Dominican empanadas that sound so good they’ll make your mouth water just looking at the ingredients list, yucca fries, Thai Tom yum soup, scallion pancakes and grilled corn in a 13-spice barbecue sauce. Yum! Check them out at facebook.com/chewonchuan.

For more can’t-miss-it, gotta-have-it festival food, check out Tasty Yum Yum. Not only do they have the classics — fried Oreos, funnel cake, sweet tea and ice-cold lemonade — but they’ll also be selling hearty stuff like rice and peas, steamed cabbage, loaded fries, sausage, Philly cheesesteak and chicken any way you want it: popcorn chicken, chicken on a stick, jerk chicken, curry chicken–yum! Visit them on Instagram.

Thirsty? Phoenix Roasters will be roasting up a full espresso and cold brew bar. If you haven’t tried a nitro-based craft drink yet, this festival will be your chance! Get details at phoenixroasters.coffee.

What’s lunch without a snack, or dinner without dessert? After your meal, top it off with national award-winning homemade ice cream from Daddy O’Brien’s Irish Ice Cream Pub. Find out more at daddyosicecream.com.

If ice cream’s not your taste, Sweetacular Treats will have every other treat available to choose from, including popcorn, cotton candy, candied pickles and apples, Rice Krispies, cake, soda and lemonade.

Sponsors

It cannot be said enough times how important sponsors are to making the Peachtree Corners Festival great. This year’s sponsors can be found by clicking on the Sponsors page at peachtreecornersfestival.com; from there, you can click on each of their logos and be directed to more information. Notably, the Title Sponsor is the City of Peachtree Corners, and Peachtree Corners Magazine has been recognized as a Silver Sponsor. Come visit our table when you attend the festival.

Call for Volunteers

Need to complete volunteer hours this summer? Part of a service group and looking for a direction to channel your goodwill? Or just need to kill some time this season?
The Peachtree Corners Festival is volunteer-run, and volunteers are still being sought. With so many fun things to do all weekend, there are multiple avenues to get involved, no matter what your interests are — whether that’s assisting with the car show, distributing water to thirsty festivalgoers, setting up vendor booths or managing the hospitality suite.
Volunteers need to be above the age of 18 or have parental permission if younger. Volunteers will receive a commemorative T-shirt and pride in having supported their home city. Sign and return the 2022 volunteer waiver form via the Volunteer page on the festival’s website, peachtreecornersfestival.com.

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Community

Summer Outdoor Fun Guide

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Everclear Band

Save the gas and enjoy the local concerts and events

Peachtree Corners residents can save gas and avoid escalating airfare prices by enjoying the many summer activities right at home. From the various trails and parks nearby, to a flurry of regular activities at the Peachtree Corners Town Green (and soon to be regular events at The Forum), fun for all ages abounds.

It’s a significant year for Peachtree Corners as it celebrates its 10th anniversary as a city. Now that the pandemic is largely a thing of the past, residents can count on a regular schedule of activities, all of which can be found on the city’s calendar at tinyurl.com/PTC-Calendar.

According to Diana Wheeler, Peachtree Corners Community Development Director, “We are trying to help the community become accustomed to consistent timing of events at the Town Green.”

She noted that residents can enjoy a meal or snack at any of the more than 15 eateries located in the Town Green before or during an event. Most restaurants will even deliver food to the Town Green during a local concert. “Dinner and a movie or a show… Hopefully, people will come out and enjoy themselves,” added Wheeler.

Free music events at Town Green

The second Saturday of each month is dedicated to local bands in the Night Music Series. Residents might even spot a neighbor on stage from time to time. Larger, touring bands can be found on the last Saturday night of the month in the Summer Concert Series. All invited musical groups promise a family-friendly performance.

Blair Crimmins and the Hookers joins the summer Night Music fun at 7 p.m. on June 11. According to the city, Blair Crimmins began his music career in Atlanta with a determination to bring Ragtime and 1920s style Dixieland Jazz to new audiences. “His debut 2010 release ‘The Musical Stylings Of’ became a college radio sensation on WRAS Atlanta making him the most requested band on the air.”

Next in the summer series is Brotherhood (Doobie Brothers Tribute band) with Guardians of the Jukebox (80s cover band) at 7 p.m. June 25. These Summer Concert Series bands will have everyone up on their feet singing and dancing. Brotherhood honors the original Doobie Brothers’ sound with two drummers and a percussionist, two guitars, bass and keyboards, and “all the vocal harmonies that made the Doobies incredible sound.”            Guardians of the Jukebox will be bringing the hair, clothing and music you remember and love from the 80s. They promise “The definitive tribute to MTV’s Pop, Rock, New Wave and New Romantic Era.”

Rhythm and Blues fans should mark their calendars now for the original Drifters on opening night of the Peachtree Corners Festival at 7:30 p.m. on July 1 at the Town Green. “We are bringing the legendary R&B group The Drifters to Peachtree Corners! This is not a tribute band but is the real thing,” said Dave Huffman, Peachtree Corners Festival President.

“Think of hits like ‘Under the Boardwalk,’ ‘Save the Last Dance for Me,’ and ‘This Magic Moment’ and then come on out to the Town Green to hear them live. It will be a special evening celebrating the festival and the tenth anniversary of our great city.”

Sailing to Denver with Trappers Cabin joins the Night Music series at 7 p.m. on July 9. Sailing to Denver describes themselves as a unique Americana / Roots-Rock band that has been recording since 2011. They can regularly be seen around town at many different venues, city concerts, and corporate events and have been known to feature amazing special guest musicians from all over the southeast.

Georgia’s Joel Nettesheim’s musical project, Trappers Cabin, is said to be a blend of art-rock, freak-folk, psychedelia and space rock — with plenty of surprises thrown in.

Everclear with Hushmoney helps wrap up the month at 7 p.m. on July 30. Considered a 90s Alt-Rock Band, Everclear continues to tour extensively. Fans may remember, and certainly will enjoy, Everclear’s rendition of ‘Santa Monica’ and ‘Father of Mine.’ The local band Hushmoney starts off the evening. The Hard-Southern Rock band is known for playing covers of lesser-known deep cuts.

Fun for children and pets

Peachtree Corners will host a Kids Festival 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 18 at Town Green. “We’ll have lots of inflatables, slides and family-focused vendors,” said Wheeler. “King of Pops is coming, and the Bubble Lady and we’ll have a DJ.”

Children are welcome on the expanded playground and can enjoy the splash pad on hot summer afternoons. The playground is open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and the splash pad is operational 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the summer months.

Kids (or just adults) are welcome at the Town Green, along with their furry friends 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July 16 for Bark in the Park. The event will include vendors, special doggie treats, and fun activities only a canine can enjoy. Turns out the pups enjoy bubbles too.

Fitness fun

Photo by Anna Niziol – Town Green

Not just for the summer months, the city offers year-round physical activities for all fitness levels.

Tuesday mornings at 8 a.m. are dedicated to Yoga on the Green. Everyone from beginners to experienced yogis are welcome to join this free class taught by David Penn from Sun Dragon Yoga. Yoga is known to help improve flexibility, increase blood flow, correct posture and helps improve mental focus. “Yoga is an ancient practice that brings together the human mind and body,” according to Penn’s website. “It’s a practice that incorporates meditation, breathing exercises, and poses that are designed to reduce stress and encourage relaxation.”

On Thursdays, exercise fans can try free CrossFit at the Green with TJ Fox of CrossFit PPG. The classes are offered 10 to 11 a.m. through September. According to their website, “CrossFit is a lifestyle characterized by safe, effective exercise and sound nutrition. It involves constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity.”

Beginning in June, North American Properties, the new owner of The Forum, is launching a Forum Fit program 6 to 7 p.m. every Wednesday through October. Kicking off the program is Club Pilates Peachtree Corners, who will be leading classes outdoors under the clock tower at The Forum.

Mat sessions of Pilates might remind first-time participants of yoga with a strong emphasis on core strength and alignment. This low-impact workout improves flexibility, balance and posture.

Look for a loyalty rewards program built into the Forum Fit offering. With every five classes attended, guests will receive exclusive prizes. For future events at The Forum. visit theforumonpeachtree.com/events/.

Play ball (or cornhole)

Sporting events can be found on the big screen at Peachtree Corners Town Green, including the Atlanta Braves versus the Los Angeles Angels at 7:20 p.m. on July 23. Additional special viewing events are announced closer to sporting dates.

At 6:30 p.m., Wednesday nights at the Town Green, residents can bring their chairs or grab an outdoor table to cheer on their favorite cornhole team. CornholeATL, Georgia’s largest and fastest growing cornhole league, will showcase four different divisions of play. The fun continues for 7 weeks beginning in June.

Hike, fish, play or grill

If all of the above is not enough, families can check out Gwinnett County Parks & Recreation’s four Peachtree Corners parks for a wide variety of outdoor fun. All county parks are open sunrise to sunset. Additional information and everything to know about renting Gwinnett County Park facilities is at GwinnettParks.com. Here’s a glimpse at the options.

Holcomb Bridge Park, 4300 Holcomb Bridge Road, includes a pavilion with picnic tables, grill, playground, restrooms, amphitheater, a quarter-mile unpaved trail and fishing from a river overlook.

Jones Bridge Park, 4901 East Jones Bridge Road is a 30-acre park along the Chattahoochee River that offers pavilions, grill, playground, sand volleyball court, three soccer fields, a Good Age Building rental room, restrooms, a lovely meadow and river overlook areas for fishing.

Simpsonwood Park, 4511 Jones Bridge Circle, the 223-acre park, features a chapel, pavilion, grills, a 3.1-mile non-paved trail, sand volleyball court, group camping, meadow and restrooms.

Pinckneyville Park has its park entrance at 4785 South Old Peachtree Road. Families with children playing baseball or soccer are probably already familiar with the 93-acre park which includes a seven-field baseball / softball complex, the 5,000-square foot Medlock Corporate Pavilion with catering kitchen and the Danny Cochran Pavilion. This beautiful park also boasts a dog park, roller hockey rink, free-skate area, playground, grill, fishing pond, meadow, 1.53 paved trail and restrooms.

From a separate entrance to the park, at 4707 South Old Peachtree Road, the community can access the five-field soccer complex with pavilion, grill, playground, restrooms, pond, 1.47 miles of paved trail and access to 6.6 miles of the Western Gwinnett Pathway.

A third entrance to this park, technically in Berkeley Lake at 4650 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, leads to a Community Recreation Center with catering kitchen, pottery / art studio, hidden courtyard, rental rooms and .21 miles of paved trail that connect to the soccer complex.

The county offers a variety of summer camps at the Pinckneyville Park Community Recreation Center. Ages 5 to 6 and 7 to 13 are eligible for week-long Adventure Camps beginning June 6 through July 29. Ages 8 to 16 may also want to consider the Draw, Paint and Sculpt Camp that runs June 6-10 or the Drama Camp, July 11-15. Information and registration is available at GwinnettCommunityServices.com.

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City Government

Community Forum to Address Crime, Safety Issues in Peachtree Corners

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UPCCA hosts annual COPS program to allow face-to-face dialogue among residents, stakeholders and law enforcement.

Overnight car break-ins and vandalism, ruffians blocking key intersections and putting lives in danger with reckless stunts, bullying and name-calling at schools escalating to terrorist threats and violence — none of those scenarios are what Peachtree Corners residents want to see in their community. To inform residents and stakeholders of law enforcement actions to curb and eliminate this type of lawlessness, United Peachtree Corners Civic Association invites everyone to its annual C.O.P.S. Program. Set for 7 p.m. Thursday, May 26 at Christ the King Lutheran Church, 5575 Peachtree Parkway, government officials and police agencies will discuss crime prevention and present local Peachtree Corners crime statistics.

Among invited presenters are Mayor Mike Mason; the new Gwinnett County Chief of Police J.D. McClure; Major Edward Restrepo, commander of the West Gwinnett Precinct; MPO Andres Camacho, District 1 Community Oriented Police Service; a Gwinnett County Schools resource officer and other community leaders who will be available for questions and answers.

“With all that’s going on in the world now, we are thankful to have our lovely pocket of relative peace here in Peachtree Corners,” said Matt Lombardi, president of UPCCA. “But there’s a perception that it’s gotten worse for crime in the last few years.”

Like many suburban areas of the country, Peachtree Corners has been victim of so called “takeovers” where groups of teens and young adults converge on a usually busy intersection and  show off stunt driving like doing “donuts” and “drifting.” With no regard to traffic or vehicular safety, there are often fireworks and sometimes weapons discharged as well as kids hanging recklessly out of cars.

Recently, a combined effort from several local law enforcement agencies took down one weekend gathering, but with school out and summer almost in full swing, it’s inevitable that more will come.

That’s one of the major topics that will be discussed at the meeting, said Lombardi, along with a look at license plate readers, the effects of crime on property values and other issues.

One topic that has been on the minds of some, said Lombardi, is the question of whether it’s time for Peachtree Corners to have its own police force. As it is now, Gwinnett County police provide protection as well as the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s office.

Instead of leaving the question lingering, this is an opportunity for residents to speak their minds.

“UPCCA is one of the few organizations in metro Atlanta that brings people to face-to-face with the law enforcement community,” said Lombardi. “It’s important to know who’s protecting you and your property and how it’s being handled.”

Information: upcca.org

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