Bear Necessities Boots & Bling Ball






With Crenshaw’s Cowboy Cocktails, dubbed in honor of co-chairs D.C. and Alayna Crenshaw, a mechanical bull challenge, and line dancing to the multi-genre music of Front of the House led by David Sherman, the recent Bear Tie “Boots & Bling” Ball sponsored by the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation proved that caring cowboys and cowgirls have all the fun.


Guests line dance following the Bear Tie Ball “Boots & Bling” program at The Geraghty.

Bear Tie Ball co-chairs Alayna Crenshaw and D.C. Crenshaw.

The Chicago-based non-profit dedicated to eliminating pediatric cancer and to providing hope and support to those touched by it raised $450,000 at the 27th Anniversary Bear Tie Ball held recently at The Geraghty. Funds raised benefit pediatric cancer research grants through Bear Discoveries and customized memories through Bear Hugs.


Master of Ceremonies Ryan Baker.

Master of ceremonies Ryan Baker, weekday Morning News anchor at CBS2 Chicago, made sure that throughout the evening—which began for the 350 guests in a saloon transformed space—celebrated glamor goes west. Special guests included American Idol power couple Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young, appearing in Chicago’s premiere disco musical Hit Her with the Skates.


Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo from Chicago premiere of HIT HER WITH THE SKATES.

Courtney Krupa, Bear Necessities Founder and CEO Kathleen Casey.

Bear Necessities’ founder Kathleen Casey shared the impact her son Barrett “Bear” Krupa’s passing had on her father and daughter and Bear’s inspiration behind the organization’s ongoing mission. Casey established the Foundation in 1992. In addition, the William J. Casey Hope Award was presented to the Foglia Family Foundation and The Panzino Family for their continuous support of Bear Necessities. Five child ambassadors shared their individual Bear Hugs experiences.


Bear Hug Ambassadors Dominic Damato, Yamilet Martinez, Lyla Pfleeger, and Bryce Sykora share their Bear Hug experiences at Bear Tie Ball “Boots & Bling”.

The Bear Necessities Bear Hugs Program supports cancer patients, ages 0 to 19, and their immediate families facing the many challenges that accompany the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric cancer. Bear Necessities outreach serves both in-state and out-of-state children who are being treated at 16 Illinois-area hospitals with pediatric oncology departments. A Bear Hug is a customized experience that brightens the life of a child going through cancer.  The Bear Hugs Program also provides immediate family support for financial burden and essential needs.


Bear Hug Ambassador and Bear Necessities patient artwork for auction at Bear Tie Ball “Boots & Bling”.

Each year, Bear Necessities awards medical research grants nationwide to junior investigative researchers who make meaningful advancements and discoveries towards finding a cure and therapies for various types of pediatric cancer.


Tracy Scurto, John Kralovec, Celeste Kralovec.

Jill Zidek, Emily Rimkus, Andrea Caputo-Bozin.

Amanda Puck, Billy Rairigh.

Bob Fioretti, Nicki Pecori Fioretti.

Ann Marie Katsoolias, Nick Katsoolias.

Brooke Pfleeger, Jon Pfleeger, Bear Hug Ambassador Lyla Pfleeger.

James Sykora, Michelle Sykora, Bear Hug Ambassador Bryce Sykora.

Jennifer Sutton Brieva, Paul Iacono.

Cynthia Au, Peter Au.

Lauren Marino, Anthony Marino.

Bear Hug Ambassador and Bear Tie Ball speaker Ava Blaser.

Bear Tie Ball “Boots & Bling” at The Geraghty.

Silent auction at Bear Tie Ball “Boots & Bling”.


Photo Credit: Mila Samokhina Photography and Timothy Hiatt Photography


For further information visit