BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
Who wouldn’t have leaped to their feet when the board lit up an astonishing $7 million raised at the JDRF One Dream Gala’s finale?
Toasts are in order for the 40-year-old Illinois chapter that has raised funds for life-saving research, setting a global record for the organization seeking breakthroughs in curing, preventing and treating type 1 diabetes and its complications.
Over 2,000 guests and 400 volunteers at McCormick Place bid in silent and live auctions including the chance to create your own personalized wine barrel — 252 bottles — with eight people in five sessions to taste and perfect the blend, labels created by the donor City Winery. The rock band Third Eye Blind not only wowed guests that night but also donated an up-close evening with bidding winners.
Gala Co-Chairs David Carlson and Carrie Carlson, Fund A Cure Co-Chairs Michael and Sarah Alter, Fundraising Chair Glen Tullman, Board President of JDRF Illinois Mike Roche and Honorary Corporate Chair Greg Wasson proved that the event which began 40 years ago as a Rolls Royce Raffle just keeps getting better and successful.
The program, emceed by NBC 5 Chicago’s Allison Rosati and Rob Stafford, ended with the signature JDRF Fund A Cure program, a Gala tradition. The Lacher family — Joe, Marisue, Tommy and Patrick — shared their story of life with T1D and afterwards guests raised their bid cards to fund JDRF’s most crucial research priorities.
Fundraising Chair Glen Tullman, who received recently the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award, honoring leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to social change and reflect Robert Kennedy’s passion for equality, justice, basic human rights, concluded the Fund-A-Cure program with a donation of $1 million — making this the largest Fund A Cure gift in JDRF Illinois’ history.
We bet those unstoppable JDRF volunteers and staff are already hard at work to top even that incredible $7 million total at next year’s Gala. May their dream of a cure, backed by their commitment, come true very soon.
For more information, please visit jdrf.org or follow them on Twitter: @JDRF.
Photo Credit: Lynn Persin and Mila Samokhina.