On Thursday, the 20thof June, 386 friends, family, impacted families, and colleagues representing over thirty companies, gathered together at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City for our 4thannual fundraising gala. The evening kicked off with a slide show of impacted families who are currently on their journey to recovery and many that were watching down on us to raise much needed funds to avoid more families being added to this very slide show in the future.
Chris Bressette, an insurance executive with AXA XL, a major sponsor, was the Master of Ceremonies for the evening. Chris provided a summary of how the Myocarditis Foundation was founded, some basic statistics, and ended showing the audience the video from our website giving the 6-minute background of co-founders Candace Moose and Dr. Leslie Cooper.
Directly after the video ended, 7 members of the Myocarditis Family took the stage. They included: Candace Moose, Jackson Debusschere, Jon Sperzel, Joseph Rumore, Matthew Corso, Diane Aranson and Giustina Schiano. Each person shared an impact statement regarding their personal journey, covering transplants, medical monitoring due to the impact of Myocarditis, and family members who spoke about their loved ones passing.
The following poem was shared by Giustina Schiano, Myocarditis Foundation Board Member and Family Advocate. It was written by her son Lee, whom she lost at the age of 31 to Viral Myocarditis, when he was just 8-years-old:
Life is Happiness, fun and exciting.
You can see the pretty flowers,
You can feel the heat of the fire in your fireplace,
You can hear the birds singing,
You can play all day.
What can’t you do in life?
Dr. Leslie Cooper, co-founder and Medical Director for the Foundation, announced the Foundation’s achievement of starting a Myocarditis BioBank. The BioBank will be working with major medical institutions collecting myocarditis specific blood samples, processing them and storing them to enhance research for this rare disease. The BioBank will be the first facility to store myocarditis specific samples for study. This major step forward is a direct result of the Gala sponsors and the participant’s generous support.
A video was then shown of patients sharing their stories and how the Foundation has responded to help them through their journey.
The evening ended with a playful recognition of the support from the Gala attendees. Dr. Leslie Cooper, co-founder and Medical Director, Joseph Rumore, President, Chris Corso, Vice-President and Candace Moose, co-founder and Secretary, led a rendition of Sting’s “Message in a Bottle”, acknowledging the Foundation’s “S-O-S” for help in establishing our BioBank, and within seconds the audience joined them, capping off a very successful evening.
Many heartfelt thanks to our Myocarditis Family who attended, tried to attend, provided a donation, sponsored a table, and took out an advertisement in our journal. The 4thannual gala raised much needed awareness as well as funds to position us to fulfill our Mission to “Find a Cure”, help those impacted, and educate the medical field about this often, deadly disease.