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D.C. Volunteers Raise $3.2 Million for CF Foundation

November 21, 2011

At the Metropolitan Washington, D.C., Chapter’s Breath of Life Gala held Nov. 12, there was certainly a lot to celebrate. Not only did the more than 800 guests raise an astounding $3.2 million to support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s innovative and lifesaving programs — they also witnessed what two young Foundation staffers call the best moment of their lives.

Sustaining Momentum in the Fight Against CF

Mark Ordan, CEO of Sunrise Senior Living, and his wife, Liz Ordan, were among the more than 800 guests who attended the Metropolitan, D.C., Chapter’s Breath of Life Gala. Mark was honored with the Hitchcock Humanitarian Award at the event.
Mark Ordan, CEO of Sunrise Senior Living, and his wife, Liz Ordan, were among the more than 800 guests who attended the Metropolitan, D.C., Chapter’s Breath of Life Gala. Mark was honored with the Hitchcock Humanitarian Award at the event. Photo by Choice Photography
As the largest netting black-tie affair in the Washington, D.C., area, the annual gala brings together local business leaders and other passionate CF Foundation supporters for a night of cocktails, dinner and dancing, all for the CF cause. Event co-chairs and CF dads Don Wood and Cameron Pratt were instrumental in making this year’s gala an incredible fundraising success.
 
“For the first time in the history of the disease, CF clinical trial participants are taking oral drugs aimed at treating the basic defect of cystic fibrosis. If these trials are successful, the drugs could add decades of life for people with cystic fibrosis,” said Wood, CEO of Federal Realty Investment Trust. “We cannot afford to lose this momentum.” 

Pratt, President of Foulger-Pratt Companies, also spoke about the significant impact guests were having on thousands of families who are affected by cystic fibrosis. “The generous support provided by our family, friends and the business community is inspiring. With the research advances the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation continues to fund, we can look forward to the day that CF stands for ‘Cure Found.’”

Throughout the event, guests bid on exciting items in the silent and live auctions, from a trip to Disney World to an extremely rare 1967 International Scout — one of the first production American civilian off-road SUVs, which sold for $29,000.

Hitchcock Humanitarian Award

Each year the gala recognizes individuals who have led a life dedicated to humanitarian pursuits — caring, generous, selfless people who are driven by the desire to improve the lives of others.  This year’s honoree, Mark Ordan, CEO of Sunrise Senior Living, received the Hitchcock Humanitarian Award. This prestigious award was created in honor of Alfred Hitchcock on behalf of his beloved great-granddaughter Melissa, who lived a courageous life with CF until the age of 22. 

In addition to serving on the Breath of Life Gala committee for the past 10 years, Mark has served on the Vassar College board for over 12 years and is a board member of the International Center for Research on Women and the Scenic Hudson.

During his Bid for a Cure speech, Aaron Stocks delivered a heartfelt wedding proposal to Bradi Purdum, who he calls “the girl of my dreams.”
During his Bid for a Cure speech, Aaron Stocks delivered a heartfelt wedding proposal to Bradi Purdum, who he calls “the girl of my dreams.” Photo by Choice Photography
Bid for a Cure, with a Twist

What started as a special night turned even sweeter when Bid for a Cure speaker and chapter staffer Aaron Stocks, 26, took the stage to deliver a heartfelt account of handling the lifelong challenges of CF with his family, friends, and girlfriend and fellow Foundation staffer Bradi Purdum at his side. He spoke about the recent dramatic advances made in CF research and care, which have allowed him to plan for a bright future ahead instead of counting down the days he has left to live.

“I stand before you today and I can say with confidence that I have never felt better in my entire life,” Aaron said. “Because of the medicine and science that has progressed, because of people like you, it’s not just hopes and dreams anymore. Because of you, I am excited for the future.”

Bradi was coaxed from the wings, and Aaron then dropped to one knee and asked her to marry him. “You are the reason that I fight,” he said, “and every single breath I take is for you.” (Of course, she said yes!)

View more photos of the Breath of Life Gala.

The Metropolitan Washington, D.C., Chapter would like to thank the event chairs:

  • Don Wood and Cameron Pratt

The emcees and hosts:

  • Bob Schieffer, CBS Evening News
  • Kimberly Suiters

The event’s Diamond sponsors:

  • Don & Stacey Wood
  • Federal Realty Investment Trust
  • Foulger-Pratt
  • Ridgewells Catering
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Its Platinum sponsors:

  • The Brickman Group, Ltd.
  • Dynamic Aviation Group, Inc.
  • FD Stonewater 
  • Ventas, Inc.

And the Gold sponsors:

  • American Airlines
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Blue Sky FilmsCapitol File Magazine
  • Cassidy Turley
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, LLC
  • Clark Enterprises, Inc.
  • Closeline Settlements
  • Colonial Parking
  • Computer Sciences Corporation
  • Cranshaw Construction
  • David & Mary Solomon
  • Developers Diversified Realty
  • Eastdil Secured, LLC
  • Ed & Ellen Nemeroff
  • EventEq, LLC
  • Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
  • Goodman-Gable-Gould/Adjusters International
  • Grant Thornton LLP
  • HCP, Inc.
  • Hirshorn-Zuckerman Design Group, Inc.
  • Hovde Foundation
  • Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
  • Moriarty & Associates, Inc.
  • Mark & Liz Ordan
  • Richard J. Perry, Jr.
  • Sunrise Senior Living, Inc.
  • Thomas DePasquale
  • Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is an accredited charity of the Better Business Bureau.