Category: Community Partners

Durham First In Families: Felicia

Thank you to Durham First In Families for sharing this story. Felicia is one of many individuals served by LUEWWD XI’s beneficiary organization. Please consider making a donation by voting for your favorite arm wrestler online or at the September 20th event. We’d love to see you there! Sign up to volunteer if you can!


Felicia, a 23 year old woman with an Intellectual Disability, participates in a day program at Reality Ministries. Felicia enjoys going to Reality to learn life skills, talk with her friends, volunteer in the community, and participate in the many fun activities at Reality. Her favorite activity is the Talent Show where she showcased her cheerleading skills and delighted in the crowd clapping for her.

“It is important to stay active in the community and not be lazy and stay home with nothing to do,” says Felicia. Since there are few programs for adults with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities, Felicia is very happy to be involved at Reality where she does not feel lonely and sad like she used to before she went to Reality.

Felicia is very grateful to Durham First In Families for helping her pay the fees to attend Reality programs where she hopes to learn life skills to get a job in the future!

More about Durham First In Families.

Meet Adele

Meet Donna

Contributions at any level will make a tangible impact:

·         $25 can provide a gas card to support a family with travel to costly medical appointments for their daughter with Down Syndrome

·         $50 can give school clothes and school supplies to a young girl with Autism

·         $100 can assist with a week of camp for a girl with a Traumatic Brain Injury

·         $250 can fund 25 hours of respite for the caregiver of a young woman with Cerebral Palsy

·         $500 can assist with a wheelchair repair for a woman with Spina Bifida

Come on out to LUEWWD XI: First in Fight happening on September 20th at Social Games and Brews  (1007 W. Main St., Durham, NC).

More about Durham First In Families

LUEWWD XI: First in Fight happened on September 20th, 2014, and raised close to $9,000 for Durham First In Families. More details here. And photos here!


Thank you to LUEWWD XI beneficiary organization Durham First In Families for providing us with more detail to share with you so you can really feel confident that your contribution will directly benefit individuals and families living in your community.

Please join us on September 20th for LUEWWD XI: First in Fight at Social Games and Brews where we’ll be raising funds for Durham First In Families. You can also vote with your dollars online for your favorite contestant before the event. Sign up to volunteer if you can!


First In Families of North Carolina (FIFNC) is a statewide not-for-profit organization based in Durham since 1996. Our mission is to help people with disabilities and their families to believe in their dreams, achieve their goals and give back to others. The Durham FIF (DFIF) Chapter offers direct family support to individuals with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) and/or Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and their families according to each family’s self-defined need.

Our organizational model is based upon an underlying expectation of reciprocity and belief that people with disabilities have the same rights and responsibilities as all community members. We value inclusion as the least restrictive and most successful living environment for individuals with I/DD and TBI and believe that the community is rich in resources beyond “formal services.”

While Durham FIF works with people of all ages, the funds raised from the 2014 LUEWWD Tournament will directly benefit women and girls in our community and assist us with meeting their needs.


Durham FIF has helped single mothers and women self-advocates with requests such as medical equipment, accessible technology, developmental toys, car repairs, gas vouchers, guardianship costs, and camp fees. We assisted women self-advocates with day programs which offer them a social outlet and job training skills. We receive a large volume of requests from single mothers who need basic need items such as canned food, diapers, and cleaning products. We started a modest food and cleaning supply pantry by partnering with local businesses and the community to collect donations.


Another common request from single mothers is for assistance with summer camp fees. While it is already difficult for many families to afford camp for their children, accessing camps that are equipped for people with disabilities compounds this issue.   Camp is a valuable experience for both children and single mothers – children experience healthy lifestyles and inclusion among their peers, mothers are provided with a period of respite.


In FY 12-13 DFIF served 130 families and leveraged $45,595.26 of additional non-public funding (with a family support budget of $21,453.88); this added an additional $0.68 on the dollar to spend on direct family support. Fundraisers and grants provided an additional $5,557.47. The average income of families served through DFIF in FY 2012-13 was $18,566.32; 59% of total families served are below poverty level. Yet families continue to give back by donating gently used clothing, toys, equipment, and by volunteering!


To keep up with their great activities, Like DFIF on Facebook!




LUEWWD X Delivered $9,000+ to Durham Connects!

Every Sunday following a LUEWWD event, the organizers and other LUEWWD family members gather in the morning to clean up the venue, piece together the night before, and then relive the event highlights over brunch. Needless to say, as we sipped our mimosas and bloody marys at Alivia’s this past Sunday, there were plenty of moments of unstoppable laughter and lots of talk about what a fun and successful night it was. Thank you to everyone who made it happen! Pictures are just a click away!


And if we polled LUEWWD fans and asked what images will forever be burned in their collective memory from LUEWWD X: We Deliver!, we’re pretty sure they’d say the same things we did. Here are a few:

  •  The bedazzled baby bottle brassiere donned by emcee Marilyn Manho and her glittered diaper skirt that she sold for a donation of $200
  •  The awkward gesticulations of It’s Pat who was flanked by iconic Saturday Night Live characters
  •  The moment when Lady Arm-A-Geddon dropped to her knee to present her husband with her heart (literally, the rubber bloodied heart around her neck) to show her appreciation for the $500 donation he made to support her in honor of their wedding anniversary (ladies and gentleman, eat your hearts out)
  •  The tousled armpit hairs of La French Wrestle-lution as she rode in on the shoulders of her entourage members and strutted her stuff on stage
  •  The stiletto-booted Belle Dominique Tryst whipping her caged entourage with her cat o’nine tails
  •  The menacing Inmate 27701 in her orange jumpsuit glaring at opponents and showing off her “guns” all the while under the watchful eye of Officer Fur Pelton John
  • Death Knight donning chainmail and slaying dragons on the stage
  •  Referee Sassy McKlassy calling the shots at the table and not bending to the pressure from Inmate 27701’s legal counsel
  • “Doc” from Sponsor Triangle Brewing Co. raising funds from the crowd to match his pledge toward an open table match between brewer Vicky and two-time former contestant LeeAnn
  •  The $100 donation to see the Baby Hands wrestle a hand puppet beaver
  •  The thrashing about of Heavy Metal Mama and her head-banging entourage
  • Sponsor MAYDNEW keeping it fresh for the many, many, many dance-offs that kept being selected by the Stalemate Wheel
  •  The time when judge Robert Bland announced that fellow judge Kaferine de Nerve (of the Beaver Queen Pageant) wanted the crowd to stuff her beaver with dollars (referring, of course, to her hand puppet beaver named Pat)
  •  Judge Really Ruby awarding the beneficiary contestant representative, Jolly Gestational Giant, an enormous check for the Madame Moneymaker award

If you were there, you will remember these moments (and others that are literally too lewd report). If you weren’t there, close your eyes and imagine these antics and then imagine yourself in the first row sitting next to the three-time LUEWWD Champion Monster Cookie, taking it all in, and watching wadded-up bills fall at the feet of Lady Trauma who sometimes taunted the crowd for more.

LUEWWD X will go down in the history books as the first one in which half of the wrestlers were in the four-figure club, each raising more than $1,000.

And our volunteers played a substantial role in the fundraising success, as well, by presenting several creative and convenient ways for the audience to part with their dollars, and providing an organized and safe environment in which to do that. A special thanks goes out to volunteers who were willing to jump in whenever and wherever we needed to keep things rolling smoothly.

After all was said and done, It’s Pat took home the LUEWWD Championship belt, Belle Dominique Tryst clinched the Durham Diva award (best costume and entourage), and Jolly Gestational Giant was awarded Madame Moneymaker for raising the most funds for Durham Connects. And we can’t overlook our Queen of the Losers Heavy Metal Mama who donned a special handcrafted adult-sized baby bonnet and a baby bottle wand.

Most importantly, LUEWWD and Durham raised $9,101 for Durham Connects, bringing the total amount raised from LUEWWD events to $59,427!!

Stay tuned for a post announcing the date for the Fall LUEWWD event.


Contestant fundraising totals

Jolly Gestational Giant: $2,218

Inmate 27701: $1,648

Lady Arm-A-Geddon: $1,630

It’s Pat: $1,020

Heavy Metal Mama: $353

Death Knight: $293

Belle Dominique Tryst: $221

La French Wrestle-lution: $217


Event Sponsors

Social Games and Brews

Triangle Brewing Co.

MAYDNEW DJ and Event Planning


El Dorado (Sponsoring contestant It’s Pat!)

Parker & Otis (Sponsoring contestant Jolly Gestational Giant!)


Rock’s Barbershop 


Sponsorship-level contributions from local businesses arriving the night of the event included donations from Carolina Outreach and Hamilton Hill

And thank you to raffle prize donors Burning Coal Theatre Company for donating two season tickets for three shows in its 2014/15 season and to Fitness World for donating a one-month membership.

Also, another big thank you to Liberty Arts (especially Lupa!) for sharing their stage platforms with us and helping us get them ready for the event space and to Mike “Captain Redbeard” Minervini for being the official photographer for LUEWWD X.

Durham Connects helps in a crisis

LUEWWD X: We Deliver!, benefiting Durham Connects, is happening on Saturday, May 17th. Before the event takes place, we want you to know more about the organization you’ll be supporting. Thank you to the Program Director Jeannine Sato for sharing this story with us! Check out Jeannine’s alter-ego The Jolly Gestational Giant; she’ll be representing Durham Connects on stage as a contestant!



Heeding the Call for Help in a Crisis

The birth of Shantel Williams’ third child happened during some stressful life events. While in the hospital giving birth, Shantel’s home caught fire and caused severe damage. She spent several days in a hotel with her family, but without insurance, she ultimately had to move back into the home and begin fixing the damage themselves slowly. Because of the damage, her heat and water bills were thousands of dollars and she was at risk of having the utilities shut off. In addition, her health suffered during the pregnancy and Shantel was required to have surgery shortly after her baby’s birth. She could not pick him up herself for several months due to her illness and relied on family members to help with his care. Shantel’s Durham Connects nurse was able to connect her with the Durham Connects social worker to resolve the bill issue and get her on a wait list for home repairs. The social worker was also able to help reinstate her unemployment check, which was lost during the chaos after the fire. That helped provide some income while she was ill and unable to work.  Shantel and her family have struggled to repair the home, but Shantel recovered and was able to find new work, while her son grew and remained healthy. She is thankful for Durham Connects and credits the nurse and social worker with saving them from homelessness during a crisis.


In the photo are Durham Connects social worker Erika Ward and Shantel Williams with family members, including her young son!

erika family small


Other stories:

Balancing an Early Baby with an Older Sister and a Job

Every Baby is Different

If you’d like to learn more about Durham Connects beyond the stories being shared here, please visit the organization’s website.


SIGN UP TO BE A CONTESTANT  (check out your competition here)



Every Baby is Different

LUEWWD X: We Deliver!, benefiting Durham Connects, is happening on Saturday, May 17th. Before the event takes place, we want you to know more about the organization you’ll be supporting. Thank you to the Program Director Jeannine Sato for sharing this story with us! Check out Jeannine’s alter-ego The Jolly Gestational Giant; she’ll be representing Durham Connects on stage as a contestant! 



Providing Tailored Assistance to New Parents

Liz Lorduy had a Durham Connects visit after the birth of her first child and knew how helpful it was to have a Spanish speaking nurse support her in her home. Liz and her husband are bilingual but she appreciated the comfort of speaking in her native language. After her second child was born at a low birthweight, Liz was very concerned about her growth and development. The Durham Connects nurse was able to provide an extra weight check and hands on breastfeeding support to assure her that her baby was growing well. The nurse was also able to ensure the family’s access to primary healthcare and other support.   Liz saw the benefit of visiting with a Durham Connects nurse after the birth of both her children because every baby is different and the whole family benefits.

In this photo, Durham Connects Rosalia Monaco is standing with Liz Lorduy (and baby Lizbeth) and her husband and father-in-law.

rosalia family small


Other stories:

Balancing an Early Baby with an Older Sister and a Job

Durham Connects helps in a Crisis

If you’d like to learn more about Durham Connects beyond the stories being shared here, please visit the organization’s website.




Introducing Durham Connects

LUEWWD X: We Deliver!, benefiting Durham Connects, is happening on Saturday, May 17th. Before the event takes place, we want you to know more about the organization you’ll be supporting. Thank you to the Program Director Jeannine Sato for sharing this story with us! Check out Jeannine’s alter-ego The Jolly Gestational Giant; she’ll be representing Durham Connects on stage as a contestant! 



Balancing an Early Baby with an Older Sister and a Job

Pam Dardess is a married, working mother of 2. Although she has many resources for parenting, she was concerned when her second child was born several weeks early. The unexpectedly early birth was a stressful experience both because of health concerns for the baby, but also for Pam’s life juggling work and another child. Pam had also experienced long lasting postpartum depression after her first child that went undiagnosed for many months after birth. She was aware of the possibility again and was vigilant about looking for the warning signs. She was extremely grateful to her Durham Connects nurse who discussed all of these issues and screened Pam for post partum depression during her home visit. Luckily, Pam was not depressed and felt that the extra care and attention paid by her and her nurse contributed to her health. Pam and her family are happy and healthy supporters of Durham Connects.

In the photo with Pam are her husband Tad and daughters Leah and “early bird” Maya.

Image 20



Other stories:

Durham Connects helps in a Crisis

Every Baby is Different

If you’d like to learn more about Durham Connects beyond the stories being shared here, please visit the organization’s website.


SIGN UP TO BE A CONTESTANT  (check out your competition here)



LUEWWD enjoyed Rockin’ the Casbah with you for 3 years!


Us LUEWWD organizers are already missing our former headquarters as we start prepping for LUEWWD X because, as you may or may not have heard, Casbah’s doors closed forever on January 1st.

When we hosted our very first event at the James Joyce Irish Pub, it was quite clear that we needed a bigger place to party (thanks to all of you who were there).

Just across the street from the Joyce, Casbah welcomed us into its incredible space and, together, we witnessed ladies’ arm-wrestling competitions really take off in Durham!

During the three years that Casbah was our home-base, LUEWWD awarded eight ladies’ arm-wrestling championship belts, and raised $46,500 for Durham-based nonprofit organizations that benefit women and girls.

We are so grateful to Casbah for not only the venue accommodations for events and meetings, but also the willingness to put up with LUEWWD’s (many, many, many) shenanigans.


Also, Save the Date for LUEWWD X! It will be held Saturday, May 17. The beneficiary will be Durham Connects (click here for a recent article about the program). We’ll be back in a little while with more details.

Yep, You Nailed It!

Thank you to everyone who attended LUEWWD IX: Nailin’ It! Between pre-event fundraising efforts and on- and-off-stage shenanigans that happened on September 7th, $10,132 was raised toward Habitat for Humanity of Durham’s 2013 Women Build.  

This total breaks our record for most funds raised at a single event.

Champion: Monster Cookie


Madame Moneymaker: Reba the Wrench


Durham Diva: GuilloTINA


Queen of the Losers: Rocky Scissher




Individual Contestant Fundraising Totals:

Reba the Wrench: $2,943

GuilloTINA: $1,491

Work It Out Barbie: $1,108

Pigeon “Daddy Issues” McGina: $778

Rocky Scisshers: $610

Old MacDominatrix: $283

Monster Cookies: $269

Subrina Zero: $54


The Stage Crew: Hostess Marilyn Manho, Ref Sassy McKlassy, and Stage Bouncer Lady Trauma

The Judges: Deanna “Demo D” Crossman (representing Habitat for Humanity of Durham), Jeff Polish (The Monti) and Robert Bland

The Volunteers, The event volunteers did everything from letting you into the main event and testing your luck with raffle ticket sales to counting your incredible donations and serving you drinks.

Sponsors and Donors

Sam Adams/Boston Beer Company

The Casbah

MAYDNEW DJ and Event Planning




Rock Paper Scissors Salon and Gallery (sponsored Rocky Scissher)


Yep Roc Records (raffle prize of 10 CDs!)

Maggiano’s ($25 gift card for raffle)

Photographers BJ Council and Megan Morr donated their time and talent, as well!

MORE PICTURES HERE! (you might have to “Like” us on Facebook to view them)

Turning a negative into a positive

Thanks again to Habitat for Humanity of Durham for sharing a wonderful story from one of their special build projects. Habitat has been a great partner in getting ready for the upcoming LUEWWD IX: Nailin’ It! charity fundraiser on September 7th.

[This article was initially published in The Durham Herald on May 5, 2013.]

The walls stand firm, and soon the roof trusses will be nailed in place on Habitat for Humanity’s “Pink Ribbon Build” house on E. Ellerbee Street.

Covering many of the 2x4s that frame the house are tributes written in multi-colored ink, giving honor to loved ones who have battled breast cancer and survived, and remembering others who have gone. Amid the sound of hammers pounding away is a sense of peace as you read the names, the words of love, the expressions of gratitude.

Working faithfully alongside the many energetic volunteers and the Habitat construction staff is Margare Allen, the future homeowner of this house. Allen is a breast cancer survivor herself, and together with members of her family, will be on site every Saturday and every Thursday, with hammer in hand, until the completion of her home in late August.


The inspiration for this special project came when Margaret Rubiera, a longtime Habitat volunteer, went to the Duke Cancer Center after receiving the diagnosis of breast cancer. She was deeply moved by the warmth, compassion and kindness of the caregivers – the nurses, lab techs, and assistants – who immediately put her at ease. She decided at that moment to raise the $50,000 sponsorship and build a Habitat house as a way of saying “thank you.”

Rubiera states that this house is a way for many people to express similar gratitude. “By giving of ourselves and doing something tangible for someone else, we turn a negative into a positive. Not only will Margare’s family benefit from the opportunity to own a beautiful home, but the entire neighborhood will be a better place because this wonderful new family will be moving in.”



LUEWWD IX: Nailin’ It! is on its way…what can YOU do to get ready?

Preliminary total of $9,484 raised at LUEWWD IX: Nailin’ It! So close to Habitat’s goal of raising $10,000 toward the 2013 Women Build from this event. Let’s get them to the goal!


BUY TICKETS!          VOLUNTEER!          DONATE!          RSVP!

LUEWWD IX: Nailin’ It! is taking place on Saturday, September 7, 2013, at Casbah (1007 W Main St, Durham).

The doors officially open at 7:30pm but we’ll be ready for you at 6:30pm in the Casbah parking lot with pre-game activities, featuring Liv’s food truck and Locopops, cornhole, and Sam Adams products. General admission costs $5 (buy online or at the door) and VIP tickets cost $25  (seats right by the stage that come with personal bar service; UPDATE: VIP tickets are SOLD OUT). The main event begins at 9:00pm. Contestants will be vying for titles of LUEWWD Champion, Durham Diva, Madame Moneymaker and Queen of the Losers (which comes with a cool prize, too).  The after party will be hosted at James Joyce and will make a contribution to the beneficiary.


What should you do to prepare for this event? (P.S. We love overachievers!)

  • CONGRATULATE YOURSELF. Sounds like you’ve already made the commitment to be a part of LUEWWD IX and that means you’re awesome
  • TELL YOUR FRIENDS about LUEWWD IX: Nailin’ It!: 18+ is the rule but younger folks can join us if they are accompanied by an adult
  • BUY TICKET(S): in advance or at the door (general admission $5)
  • BRING CASH! Save up your dollars for raffle tickets, contestant “voting,” open table match-ups, and bribes for the judges
  • HAVE DINNER WITH US before the event starts: Liv’s food truck and Locopops will be there, ready to serve at 6:30!
  • BE BOLD: Strengthen your arm muscles to challenge new and old friends during Open Table wrestling
  • STICK AROUND for the after-party shindig at James Joyce
  • DONATE, of course!
  • (CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU THERE! We’ll have a great time!)


The contestant bracket is full! We’ve got Guillo Tina, Monster Cookie, Old MacDominatrix, Pigeon “daddy issues” McGina, Reba the Wrench, Rocky Scissher, Subrina Zero, Work It Out Barbie. Some of these fierce competitors have online fundraising pages set up for the event. If you want to build up your favorite contestant’s fundraising momentum before the event, go for it!

The contestant who raises the most funds between now and the end of LUEWWD IX’s main event will win the Madame Moneymaker title!


We are so grateful to our returning sponsors for LUEWWD IX: Boston Beer Company, Casbah, MAYDNEW DJ and Event Planning, and Phunco. Rock Paper Scissors Salon and Gallery is sponsoring Rocky Scissher. We are also receiving support from Active Edge Fitness and Performance.


Who is the beneficiary? Funds raised will go toward Habitat for Humanity of Durham’s 2013 Women Build. The Women Build program empowers women to better their community and be leaders on the construction site by building a home in partnership with a hardworking family. The groundbreaking date for the 2013 Women Build will be set soon (likely September), and the home will be built on Lutz Lane in a small Habitat community in east Durham.



Looking for (more than) a few good volunteers! We extend a warm welcome to anyone interested in helping us host these events; they simply couldn’t happen without our fantastic volunteers. Volunteer jobs include: admission, human/walking ATM, contestant round-up, bar service, merchandise and raffle ticket sales, and more. What would you like to do at LUEWWD IX?

LUEWWD - Industrial Strength (4/20/13)


Have any questions? Want to know more about LUEWWD or the 2013 Women Build? Contact us and we’ll get you the answers you need.