Can you hear that? That’s the sound of silos shattering… obstacles crumbling… the limits of what’s possible smashed to pieces — and it’s still reverberating from the evening of December 3rd, 2016, our magical, powerful, spectacular 5th Annual “Evening with Emily’s Entourage” Gala. Our gala theme, “Breaking Through”, resonated throughout the most breathtaking evening in the history of EE.
Right out the gate, we broke a record: over 500 people—more than ever before!—flooded through the doors of Moulin at Sherman Mills, our new venue in East Falls, Philadelphia. Guests dabbled in delicious, hearty fare by Brulee Catering, filled their glasses with Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Iron Hill Brewery beer, perused the silent auction with its rare, one-of-a-kind finds, scribbled love notes on our giant brick wall, and posed for the camera in our photo booth by PoserBooth.
When guests made their way to the program room, they were greeted by longtime Emily’s Entourage emcee, Food Personality Hope Cohen. You could barely hear over the cheers for the 2016 Emily’s Entourage Champions, a group of young professionals nominated in recognition of their philanthropic spirit and community involvement, who raised a collective, astonishing $23,837. A special cheer was given when our 2015 EE Champion of the Year Becca Denenberg passed the torch to our 2016 winner, Max Bernstein.
And while the evening brought surprise after surprise, some things never change—the Kramer-Golinkoff family took the stage and stole the show. Emily’s sister Julia imparted on us how making the decision to be Emily’s caretaker during a potential lung transplant was both the hardest and easiest decision of her life. Emily’s brother Coby told us that Emily is his number one champion and source of inspiration, sharing: “For Emily it’s not about the task at hand — it’s about character. It’s about giving all you can… and then giving a little bit more.”
Then Emily walked on stage, but she wasn’t alone—in addition to the 500 people in the room waiting with bated breath, over 4,000 people were listening in real time on a Facebook livestream. Emily spoke about her challenging relationship with time—the moment when, at age 17, she realized that according to the prognosis of her disease, she had more time behind her than ahead of her.
Then Emily made a huge announcement: the unveiling of a trailblazing $3M research initiative. It’s a plan to proactively blaze the research path by focusing on the four most promising areas of research identified by EE’s scientific advisory board with the audacious goal of bringing a drug to patients within three years.
Emily implored: “Now, we race. To raise the dollars for the research fund that holds the only hope of saving me and my fellow CF patients.” She addressed each person listening, watching: “You are my hope to beat the ticking time bomb that is CF.”
Emily’s Entourage board member Doug Young started the countdown clock: seven minutes to raise the funds to secure a future for Emily. We watched the donation thermometer rise in real time as each critical dollar poured in—and miraculously, the goal was reached before the countdown was done and our amazing Entourage raised $40K in just seven minutes!
The countdown ended with Emily’s former classmate Zach Djanikian performing for the audience before they enjoyed dessert by Hope’s Cookies, Insomnia Cookies, Dia Doce Cookies and candy by Sweet Stuff.
That evening alone—that once-in-a-lifetime, uplifting evening—Emily’s Entourage raised a record-breaking $423,445, officially launching the 2016-2017 annual campaign.
Grateful? That’s a massive understatement. We are awestruck, humbled, appreciative beyond all belief, and most of all—hopeful. While Emily’s disease rages on, a clock ticking perilously—we now have a plan.
How can you help?
YOU can watch our 2017 campaign video: debuted at the gala, it provides a beautiful summary of how far EE has come and what work is left to do. View the video here.
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 on Facebook.
YOU can donate: contribute the funds that will propel us to the finish line to find a breakthrough in time to help Emily and so many others like her. Donate here.
YOU can see how magical the gala truly was: view our Facebook photo album as well as our photobooth snapshots.
YOU can join us at next year’s gala: request to be added to the gala invite list and/or volunteer on the gala event committee. Email us.
YOU can sign up to volunteer: we need you, your time and your talent. Sign up here.
We are, as Emily says, EEnergized and grateful to infinitEE and bEEyond. To every person who joined us, to all the volunteers behind the scenes, to every person in this enthralling Entourage—THANK YOU.
Special Thanks To: The Brownstein Group for designing this year’s invitation; Maggpie Rentals for providing a beautiful lounge set; Scratch DJ’s for providing entertainment for the night; Color Reflections for printing all of the event signage; SAS Photography and Michael Fleck Photography for capturing the evening and Terry Leahy Films for producing the video below.
Video Produced By: Terry Leahy Films