Recap of Our 2015 Evening with Emily’s Entourage Gala

gala signature cupcakes

Our signature EE cupcakes at the 2015 gala

We’re up in the sky. We’re on cloud nine. We’re over the moon, and it’s all because of that incredible, unforgettable evening on December 5, 2015 when Emily’s Entourage — that small-scale, scrappy start-up — took off and soared to new heights.

Over 450 supporters filled the Baldwin School with warmth and laughter. They bid generously in a festive silent auction; they celebrated the ten Emily’s Entourage Champions and the fourteen people who ran marathons all in the name of EE; they were inspired by the words of the Kramer-Golinkoff family and dear friends; they watched the donation thermometer rise in real time as each critical dollar poured in.

The 2015 gala event committee

The 2015 gala event committee

That evening alone — that incredible, inspirational, life-affirming evening — Emily’s Entourage raised a breathtaking $220,000, officially launching the 2015-2016 annual campaign.

Reflecting on the year that led up to the incredible 4th Annual Evening with Emily’s Entourage Gala, it’s hard to believe all that we have accomplished:

  • Emily was honored as a White House Champion of Change [hello, Obama!]
  • Emily’s Entourage hosted two scientific symposia
  • Emily donated millions of cells to University of California San Francisco and University of Alabama Birmingham that were shipped all around the world for research
  • We’ve galvanized a committed scientific community, recruited the world’s most brilliant minds to join OUR team and work excitedly towards OUR mission
  • We’ve carved out a path forward, giving hope to orphans of this orphan disease, like Emily, all around the world

All this and more was showcased in our 2015 highlight reel which inspired both laughter and tears from our gala guests.

The highlight of the evening was a series of emotional and uplifting speeches from Emily’s Entourage stalwarts.

gala program crowd

Emcee Hope Cohen introduced the event, sharing promising breakthroughs on the horizon that could literally breathe new life into CF patients like Emily.

Heather and Michael Braver, this year’s honorary gala chairs were introduced and thanked, before they added some moving remarks.

gala honorary chairs

Emily with our honorary gala chairs, Heather and Michael Braver

Next, Liza and Michael, Emily’s parents distributed trophies to the Emily’s Entourage Champions – 10 young professionals, nominated in recognition of their philanthropic spirit and community involvement, who raised a remarkable total of $32,690.

2015 EE champs in program

Coby, Emily’s younger brother, had everyone laughing with stories of the marathon he ran with his younger sister Annie and fourteen other runners on Team EE. We learned that Emily taught him tenacity and the value of pushing beyond the limit.

When Emily took the stage, she spoke honestly and eloquently to a completely engaged crowd who care deeply about EKG SPEAKING GALAher. Emily made it clear: her time is running out.

Emily told us: “Indeed – life is short. Travel to faraway places. Love outrageously. Focus intently. Make the changes you want to see in the world. Lead the life you dream of. Order pastries for breakfast.”

Above all, we learned that we are Emily’s lifeboat in this sprint to find a cure for this grueling disease.

Joan Denenberg closed the evening with a quote from Vincent Van Gogh: “‘What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?’ Ask Emily about attempting the almost impossible – she has more courage than anyone I know. And ask those that are a part of this Entourage….they have the heart, generosity and courage to make a difference.”

Then something amazing happened. Joan issued a call to action – a call to donate the critical funds to catapult the critical research that Emily’s advanced-stage cystic fibrosis necessitates. That’s when the 450 people in the crowd began to donate as we watched a digital thermometer rise in real time.

We reached up to grab balloons attached to lifesavers, and together we let them go, symbolizing what we already knew: that Emily’s Entourage was taking off.

balloons before gala

Inspiring? Yes. Exhilarating? Yes. Enough? The truth still remains; time is running out.

We remain grounded by the sobering reality of Emily’s relentless disease, which she recently described as “an invisible monster…robbing a 30-year-old desperate for a future…of her life and breath.” We’re working against a beast of a disease and a clock that’s ticking terrifyingly fast. Emily needs a breakthrough and she needs it now – and for that, we need YOU.

YOU can watch our 2016 campaign video: it provides a beautiful summary of how Emily has rallied a community in support around her to fund research for cystic fibrosis and other genetic diseases.

YOU can share our video and social media posts with your own networks: help us spread our message far and wide and increase the power of our Entourage. Share and engage with us:

YOU can donate: contribute the funds that will propel us to the finish line to find a breakthrough in time to help Emily and many others like her. Donate here.

YOU can see how magical the gala was: view our Facebook photo album from the gala.

YOU can join us at next year’s gala: email us at and request to be added to the gala invite list and/or volunteer on the gala event committee

YOU can sign up to volunteer: you’re the fuel behind this hot air balloon of hope. We need you, your time and your talent. Sign up here.

Only WE can save Emily and others like her and for that, we need YOU. We thank you for being part of our Entourage.

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