On Wednesday, May 18, the Preeclampsia Foundation's Board Chairman Pat Dignan hosted a Saving Grace 2011 'Kickoff Reception' in midtown Manhattan. The purpose of the event was to gather New York City area constituents, share thoughts and ideas, and really build momentum toward the gala.
"Mission Accomplished!" announced Dignan. "We had a great turnout, despite a rainy and blustery Manhattan evening."
Attendees included area medical practitioners, corporate and individual sponsors, as well as leadership members from both the Preeclampsia Foundation and the Foundation for America's Blood Centers (FABC), since this year's Saving Grace Dinner Gala is a joint fundraiser, to benefit both foundations.
After Dignan welcomed the guests and delivered some opening remarks, a series of stellar presentations followed:
Lauren Larsen, President and Chief Ambassador of the FABC detailed how severe preeclampsia impacted her pregnancy, nearly resulting in her death. She articulated the need for blood products for many women in similar situations, as she herself required more than 200 pints of blood. Larsen did a splendid job highlighting the intersection between our respective causes, clearly articulating how 'Together, We Can Save Lives!'
Dr. Phyllis August, Professor of Medicine in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Professor of Public Health at Weill Cornell Medical College and also a member of the Preeclampsia Foundation's Medical Advisory Board, provided an overview of the disease, the elusiveness of identifying both cause and cure, and the importance of our collective vigilance in promoting awareness, education and funding research.
Eleni Tsigas, Executive Director of the Preeclampsia Foundation, provided a brief history of the Preeclampsia Foundation, and a comprehensive overview of the Saving Grace dinner gala fundraiser to-date, including the cities to which it and we have traveled since its inception in the Fall of 2005 in Minneapolis, Minn. Tsigas chronicled the success of the event, the proceeds it has raised, the people, programs and services it has impacted, and in turn, the participants who have left a lasting impression upon us.
Roy Davis, President of Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation and Vice Chairman of Saving Grace 2011, highlighted the huge role played by both organizations in the general area of maternal health, which is the reason for his past and current support, as well as that of Johnson & Johnson as a whole. Roy conveyed the excitement associated with the event coming to Manhattan, and challenged us all to take full advantage of the platform we have this fall, to reach a broad and diverse audience, and raise substantial proceeds.
Overall the kick-off reception was a wonderful evening, very rewarding to see the supportive turnout, and to experience the momentum we are building toward Saving Grace 2011. The Foundation for America's Blood Centers and the Preeclampsia Foundation hope to see you all Saturday evening November 12 in the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton New York. For more information, please visit www.savinggrace.preeclampsia.org.