Thanks for your thoughts. I just had to write and share with you what an incredible evening we had in Boston last night!
The third Saving Grace gala was held in Boston and had 125 people in attendance. Many of the attendees this year included doctors as well as companies doing research to help predict the cause of the disease. The program started with a tear-jerker slide show put together by Eleni Tsigas (former Board president) and Lauren Larsen (last year's chair) while a local college student, Halley Feaster, played "Amazing Grace" in the background on a cello.
After the "business" portion of the program (which included a very deserving Volunteer of the Year award for Kathy Maguire - YAY KATHY! and the presentation of two Vision Grant awards for research in the field of preeclampsia - both of which were a direct result of last year's Saving Grace), we proceeded into the evening with three very large surprises that had me in tears of incredible joy before evening was over.
Surprise #1: THE QUILT!!! Besides the fact that I balled my head off when I saw the incredible quilt and how BEAUTIFUL it was, I was dreaming that it would go for $1,000 or more .... could it hit $2000? Well, when the bidding started, I couldn't believe my eyes as I watched two gentlemen bid against each other over and over again... until the quilt finally sold for $4500!!! $4500!! I couldn't believe it. It was sold to the CEO of Beckman Coulter, a manufacturer of diagnostic testing, and they intend to take the quilt around the world to all of their sites to help spread awareness about this disease!!!!!! [:D] How awesome is that?!?!?
Then, Surprise #2: At the urging of our gala auctioneer, the PF Committee and Board of Directors all agreed to provide homemade goodies to the winning bidder with a year's worth of homemade dessert shipped directly to their home. We called it "In the Kitchen for a Cause" and we laughed that this was going to be a live auction item, but the auctioneer insisted that this would be a good item.... well, he wasn't kidding. I am pretty sure these have become the most expensive baked goods in our life.... The bidding continued to rise and they were eventually sold for $5,400!!!
And if that weren't enough, along came Surprise #3: During the 5-minute pledge drive, we announced it was our goal to raise $15,000... shortly after the auctioneer started of the bidding, the gentlemen that bought the cookies during the live auction (surprise #2), stood up and asked how much money had been raised during the pledge drive so far... The auctioneer announced that we had raised $21,000 (which was already past our goal!). The gentleman then stated that if we hit the $30,000 mark, he would match it!!! MATCH IT!!! It absolutely took my breath away. It was exactly what was needed to inspire nine more people to donate at the $1,000 level, getting us to $30,000 - and then DOUBLING it through the match of this man. Translation: Our $15,000 goal was surprised by a LONG shot and we raised $60,000 in five minutes!!!! I found out later that he is the CEO of Nephromics, a company based out of Massachusetts that holds several research patents and works with many companies to translate that research into marketable products. It was absolutely amazing.
Wow - after all that - tears of sadness and great tears of JOY, the evening went far above and beyond anything I could have imagined. These great surprises coupled with amazing corporate sponsorships including $50,000 from Johnson & Johnson, $35,000 from Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, $15,000 from Beckman Coulter and several $5,000 table sponsors are projecting that we have raised a net profit of over $175,000 - - which, per capita, is the best we have ever done...!! The bar keeps getting raised every year and I am so honored to have been a part of such a hardworking team that put on this highly successful event.
Thank you to all!!!!! I will post photos as soon as we get them from the photographer!!