Eric De La Cruz is a 27 year old man in serious need of a heart transplant, but unfortunately due to many reasons he is unable to get on the transplant list. Rather than give up, his family us utilizing Twitter to raise funds to save his life (he needs $150k just to be evaluated and get on the transplant list. Then he’ll need $780k total to get a heart). Can you spare $1? If you would like to donate or find out more about Eric, click here. Amazingly, over $228,000 was raised in less than 24 hours!
Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails saw the twitter posts and has generously offered to lend a hand. Click here to see how you can enjoy NIN and also help out Eric De La Cruz.
The guests who attended the Alzheimer’s Association ‘s 22nd annual Rita HayworthGala last weekend left with more than full tummies, tired dancing feet and great swag. The most valuable take-away was the message that “Alzheimer’s is not an old persons disease.” Traditionally held on Mother’s Day eve, the Gala was established by Princess Yasmin Aga Khan to pay tribute to her mother (Rita Hayworth) who died from Alzheimer’s Disease on Mother’s Day weekend in 1987.
Blaise La Briola and Princess Yasmin Aga Khan
The theme this year was “An Evening in Monte-Carlo,” based on the intoxicating location that served as a playground for legends like Hayworth herself. The Chicago Hilton was transformed into the historic Casino de Monte-Carlo, where guests enjoyed complimentary casino gaming, cocktails, a lavish hors d’oeuvres spread, dinner, dancing and live entertainment. Co-chairs Michael and Barbara Urbut of Naperville, along with general chair princess Yasmin Aga Khan delivered poignant speeches that coincided with touching video presentations, leaving it hard to find a dry eye in the house. Deerfield resident Wendy Miller received civic honor for her twenty years as a volunteer and philanthropist.
This year, the Gala had a little something extra to honor. A labor of love, “”THE ALZHEIMER’SPROJECT” finally aired on HBO this week (it is expected to re-air, however the full documentary series is available for viewing at www.alz.org), after several months in the making. The documentary was made in an effort to change the way America thinks about Alzheimer’s. Today, the disease is the second-most feared illness in America next to cancer and may affect as many as five million Americans. While there is no cure for the disease, “THE ALZHEIMER’S PROJECT” shows that there are reasons to be optimistic about the future. Whether or not you have or know someone who has Alzheimer’s, the documentary is a bit tough to view in some instances. However if knowledge is power, then this is probably one of the most powerful presentations yet.
Barbara and Michael Urbut (Gala Chairs)
The event raised nearly $800,000 this year, with donations still coming in. Funds raised at the Rita Hayworth Gala directly support the Alzheimer’s Association’s mission of providing care and support resources for individuals and families impacted by the disease, as well as funding groundbreaking research to the cause, treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s. For more information about the Alzheimer’s Association, visit www.alz.org.
Bright lights and big dreams came to life during the 22nd Annual Wish Ball last Saturday. More than 700 guests filed into Chicago’s Union Station – and not to take a train. The space was transformed into an area ripe for bidding, eating, drinking and dancing. Honorary Chair Mike Ditka, former head coach of the Chicago Bears, was on hand to greet guests and show his support for the Foundation. Also on the scene were six “Wish Kids,” sporting big smiles and their Sunday best.
Before the seated dinner, guests perused the silent auction items while making their way through a mini Taste of Chicago, sampling bites from the Park Grill, cibomatto, Blue 13, La Madia, Morton’s and Mike Ditka’s. Emceed by Peggy Kusinski of NBC 5 Chicago, the night included a special show by performers from The Second City and Barack Obama – um, that would be our very own Street Teamer Reggie Brown!
Peggy Kusinski (NBC 5 Sports) and Reggie Brown (NBC 5 Street Team)
The live auction raised some serious cash for the Foundation with enticing items such as a private dinner party at the winner’s home, prepared by Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard ($10,000) and an opportunity to race a Ferrari 355 Challenge race car ($12,550). At the end of the evening, guests enjoyed dancing to the Bluz Brothers Band and sampling sweets from a dessert table donated by the Affina Hotel.
Proceeds from Wish Ball 2009 will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois, helping to grant nearly 150 of the 700 wishes the Foundation will give this year to Illinois children facing life-threatening medical conditions. This event is made possible by support from generous sponsors, including sponsor GATX Corporation and Platinum Sponsors Baxter, Macy’s, PotashCorp and Unum. Since being founded in Illinois in 1985, the Foundation has granted more than 8,000 wishes. For more information, visit www.wishes.org or call 312.602.WISH.
In this tough job market, it’s more important than ever to make sure you put your best foot forward when you’re on the job search. For job seekers with limited economic resources, the appropriate attire for interviews and networking events can be hard to come by. And that’s why I love the not-for-profit organization Dress for Success! Dress for Success provides professional attire and an awesome support system to help promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women. Recently, Dress for Success partnered with Chicago Kimpton Hotels and Resorts (think Hotel Allegro, Hotel Burnham and Hotel Monaco Chicago) as they hosted The Dress For Success “Recover & Reinvest” fundraiser at Hotel Allegro’s 312 Chicago.
The event featured a local “style consultant” who was on hand to offer tips on how to be a “recessionista”, sage advice that we could all use if you ask me. Head2Toe Mobile Spa was there to pamper the guests with complimentary manicures that quite a few of the ladies in attendance seemed to enjoy.
There was a silent auction that included getaways at Kimpton properties and appetizers were served from Chicago 312’s new executive chef, Chef Luca Corrazzina. Chef Luca specializes in home-style Italian cooking and served such savory treats as zuchini fritters topped with herbed goat cheese and delicious antipasto trays with a variety of cured Italian meats and cheeses.
But it wasn’t all about the pampering and delicious food. A major initiative for Dress for Success is the collection of career clothing and accessories, and this year they are in need of pearl necklaces and earrings. Folks that attended “Recover & Reinvest” were encouraged to bring their pearl donations, and if you or anyone you know wants to contribute to this great organization by making career apparel or pearl donations please go to www.dressforsuccess.org.
So much to do in Chicago the weekend of the Fourth Of July. Here’s one more thing to add to that massive list.
There’s a rockin’ benefit at The Double Door this Saturday, July 5. Five bands for only $8 – such a deal! It’s actually a pretty cool mix of bands covering several different music genre’s…melodic, folk, metal…quite the variety. Munroe, David Costa Is Dead, The Chemist vs. The Computer, Facing Winter and Mer will rock all night and there will be a raffle for lots of prizes including many autographed items (STP, Filter, etc) and other great prizes.
Proceeds from this concert benefit the Shannon Sperando Cancer Fund and thePrevent Cancer Foundation. Please click on the link for Shannon and read her story. Imagine everything is fine in your life then suddenly you have a seizure and discover you have a brain tumor. I’ve never met her but can empathize with such a shocking, serious medical situation happening to a young vibrant woman. No one deserves to go through such an experience and the financial hardship that goes along with it makes it suck that much more. Helping her by going to a fun concert isn’t such a difficult thing to do – it’s an easy & fun way to help.
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The Chicago Music Guide is working to help the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer raise money through a music benefit. I’ll be the emcee of this fun night of music. Live Life is at Joe’s Bar in Chicago on Sunday, April 27. Come experience live music from Paris Delane’s Tye Dye Skye, Jennifer Peterson Band, Ellen Rosner, Tracylynn & 55 South, Gina Gonzalez, White Buffalo Is Born and Twin Ray (Desiree Irwin). Doors open at 5:30, the live music begins at 6:30pm.
Tickets are only $20 plus there is an awesome silent auction. All net proceeds will benefit the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Funding is a critical component to identifying a cure and eliminating the suffering of those who are affected by the disease.
I recently spoke to one of the Live Life performers, Ellen Rosner. She’s a breast cancer survivor and thrilled to be part of this benefit. Listen to our conversation here:
New Partnership! Nude Hippo has been a player in the Chicago media scene for more than 10 years. Now the brand and the personalities are an exclusive part of the NBC Chicago Street Team. Watch Nude Hippo videos on this blog and on the brand new nbcchicago.com Emmy Winners!