Saving Grace 2007: AMAZING!!!!

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Saving Grace 2007: AMAZING!!!!

Postby grace04 » Sun Oct 28, 2007 09:01 pm

Hello all,

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!!

Xxoo



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Re : Saving Grace 2007: AMAZING!!!!

Postby onesock » Sun Oct 28, 2007 10:01 pm

What a wonderful night it must have been. I wish I could have been there...Amazing job!!:)
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Re : Saving Grace 2007: AMAZING!!!!

Postby Dawn D » Sun Oct 28, 2007 10:24 pm

I am blown away!!! The way you describe it all has me excited and tearing up at the same time! I know I missed out by not being there in Boston to witness the night! SO WONDERFUL....THANK YOU TO EVERYONE - Jaime, Eleni, Lauren, The Board, the donors, all volunteers, researchers etc, etc, - you all are amazing!

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Re : Saving Grace 2007: AMAZING!!!!

Postby eleni » Mon Oct 29, 2007 08:09 am

In Jaime's excitement to share this news, we didn't mention one of the most fabulous parts of the evening and most likely THE REASON this energy was created -- Jill Siegel's story! Jill did a remarkable job conveying her powerful story -- near death experience, challenging recovery and eventual running the NYC marathon... the whole story was beautifully told and immediately preceded the pledge drive. No doubt the pledges were in large part inspired by Jill's presentation.

Another inspiring aspect of the evening, though it came after the fundraising portions, was our keynote speaker - Dr. Ben Sachs. He was a lovely story teller and very eloquently helped the audience understand that the research underway right now is seminal. He went so far as to challenge the industry to have a cure ready within 5 to 7 years. While I think that's a "bit" ambitious, particularly given the FDA challenges that will be inherent in any drug testing on pregnant women, the intent of his message was not lost and his ongoing support of preeclampsia research and the cause in general was palatable. He challenged the PF to be a major force for advocacy and public awareness, underscoring the abysmal research funding levels at the NIH, and to use our voices to call attention to this discrepancy. All in all, his keynote speech was a fantastic conclusion to the evening.

Tom Viall, our new ED, also had an excellent inaugural speech, providing the audience a strong sense of clear direction, leadership and competency. I would say the takeway was: "Together, we can do this!"

Overall, the evening progressed from one of sobering reality to tangible hope for the future. God bless each of you -- whether or not you contributed something tangible to the evening, every single member (aka, if you've had it, you're a "member"!!) was part of its success!!

Thank you!!
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Re : Saving Grace 2007: AMAZING!!!!

Postby lgw » Mon Oct 29, 2007 08:25 am

I just want to echo Jaime and Eleni's posts. THe evening was incredible and everyone left feeling like we are making a difference. Everyone I talked w/ is very commited to our mission and kept asking what they can do to help. Thanks to everyone who helped put the evening together. Jill did a phenominal job telling her story.

Saving Grace 2008 will be in Wash. DC on September 20th. Mark you calendars now.

Thanks again,
Leslie
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Re : Saving Grace 2007: AMAZING!!!!

Postby cindyh27 » Mon Oct 29, 2007 09:14 am

Absolutely amazing! Congrats to everyone who participated! What a HUGE success!!
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Re : Saving Grace 2007: AMAZING!!!!

Postby grace04 » Mon Oct 29, 2007 09:28 am

Oh Yes! Yes! Yes! Thank you Eleni so much for adding that in. You are absolutely correct - Jill did an AMAZING JOB!!!!! She was so inspiring and moving at the same time. And then her sweet husband got up on stage and presented her with flowers to show his love for her and how proud of her he was for her to stand up and share her story!! Unfortunately I was not in the room when Ben Sachs spoke (busy getting ready for the pick up & pay cashier) but I have heard fabulous things about his presentation.
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Re : Saving Grace 2007: AMAZING!!!!

Postby kdreher » Mon Oct 29, 2007 09:59 am

I have to say to all of you here...you MUST plan to attend SG in Washington DC in 2008! Personally I found that meeting many of the PE members and volunteers face to face, along with new members who just found our site and attended the event, along with the inspiring doctors....it renewed my dedication to this organization. The night was absolutely amazing. Thank you to all of you who worked so hard to plan this event, I was so happy that I could attend with my mother.

I challenge you all to plan now and make the trip to the next SG event. It will be well worth your experience, time, money, laughter and tears. My jaw dropped at the three major events for fundraising that Jaime mentioned.

Again, we had a great time! I can't wait until next year.
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Re : Saving Grace 2007: AMAZING!!!!

Postby sonja » Mon Oct 29, 2007 10:36 am

How wonderful!! I am amazed at the generosity of the donors!! What an amazing amount of money to make in one evening - congratulations on everyone who worked so hard on the event - what a huge success.

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Re : Saving Grace 2007: AMAZING!!!!

Postby lgw » Mon Oct 29, 2007 05:04 pm

Kris, Mary Kate & Emily:
You guys got away before I had a chance to say good bye. Kris-it was so great to see you again. And Mary Kate and Emily- nice to finally meet both of you and thanks again for all your help.
Leslie
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