CF Foundation Volunteers Embrace “Hope in Action” at Annual Leadership Conference

March 24, 2011

At the 2011 Volunteer Leadership Conference held March 18 - 19, several hundred of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s best friends gathered in Reston, Va., to share their personal stories and fundraising successes while acquiring new tools and techniques to bring to the fight against CF.

Volunteer Leadership Initiative co-chairs Perry (left) and Kelli Clark (third from left)    Volunteer Leadership Initiative co-chairs Perry (left) and Kelli Clark (third from left) gathered with Carolinas-Raleigh Chapter Chair Cat Lineberry, South Carolina Chapter Annual Fund Chair Caroline Benton, and hundreds of other volunteers from across the nation at the CF Foundation’s 2011 Volunteer Leadership Conference held in Reston, Va., this March.

The conference’s theme, “Hope in Action,” highlighted the optimism felt by the CF community — and the many actions volunteers can take to accelerate the CF Foundation’s search for a cure.

“The Foundation is so grateful for the commitment and devotion of our extraordinary volunteers,” said Robert J. Beall, Ph.D., Foundation president and CEO. “Our volunteers are a critical part of the winning team that is helping to make a difference in the lives of those with CF.”

Learning New Skills

During the conference weekend, volunteers attended workshops and presentations that featured fundraising tips and new ideas related to the many ways to get involved with the Foundation—from Great Strides and dinner dances to Cycle For Life and major gifts.

“We are excited to lead the effort to recruit new volunteer leaders for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation,” said Kelli Clark, who co-chairs the Volunteer Leadership Initiative along with husband Perry. “Without new volunteers, we cannot reach our goal of curing this disease — CF families can’t do it alone.”

Frank Deford, chair emeritus of the CF Foundation Board of Trustees, presented Piper Beatty, 29, with the Alex award.
Frank Deford, chair emeritus of the CF Foundation Board of Trustees, presented Piper Beatty, 29, with the Alex Award, in honor of his daughter who lost her battle with CF at the age of 8.

Honoring Inspirational Leaders

The weekend also provided a venue to celebrate the great success experienced by the Foundation’s dedicated volunteers over the last year.

Cam McLoud, chair of the CF Foundation National Board of Trustees, presented the From the Heart award to Jay Wright, a dedicated volunteer for the Connecticut Chapter. Inspired by his beloved grandson Pete, who lost his battle with CF in 2007, Jay has chaired his local Great Strides walk for more than 10 years, raising more than $640,000 — in addition to serving as a roving photographer, chapter historian, handy man and many more volunteer roles.

At a special dinner, Frank Deford, chair emeritus of the CF Foundation Board of Trustees, presented two prestigious awards: the Decades of Service Award and the Alex Award.

Decades of Service honoree Eddie Andelman, his wife Judy and his family were thanked for their roles in supporting the Foundation’s critical research and care programs. The Andelman family has hosted the Hot Dog Safari event in East Boston for the past 22 years, raising millions of dollars for the Foundation and the Joey Fund, named in memory of long-time Foundation volunteer leader and Milestones to a Cure campaign chair Joe O’Donnell’s son. “New CF therapies would not exist today without the unwavering support and friendship of volunteers like the Andelmans,” Deford said. Eddie and Judy’s son David Andelman, who, along with his brothers, will be leading the Hot Dog Safari this year, accepted the award on his father’s behalf. 

For her extensive volunteer work on behalf of people with CF, the homeless and others in need; her professional accomplishments in the legal profession; and her courage in the face of the challenges CF presents, Piper Beatty, 29, was honored with the Alex Award. Named in memory of Deford’s daughter Alexandra, who passed away in 1980, the award is given each year to a person with CF who is a role model to others with the disease. “Piper Beatty is the personification of perseverance, success and hope,” Deford said. “She is a symbol for all people who have CF and who will one day be able to put the disease behind them.”

Milestones to a Cure campaign chair Joe O’Donnell addresses the crowd.    Milestones to a Cure campaign chair Joe O’Donnell addresses the crowd, which included volunteers involved with major giving, Great Strides, dinner dances, and many other special events and initiatives that help fund the Foundation’s lifesaving research and care programs.

On the closing day of the conference, Emily Choate was honored for her impassioned efforts in the fight against cystic fibrosis. Inspired by her childhood best friend who was diagnosed with CF, Emily was presented with the Jena Award, named in honor of longtime volunteers Marc and Margarete Cassalina’s daughter Jena, who lived with CF until age 13. Jena possessed courage, an unwavering optimism and a love for life that was evident through every laugh, smile and tear. Through her volunteer efforts with the Foundation, including leading the fundraising charge at Choate Construction, Great Strides and other special events in the Atlanta area, Emily has demonstrated those same qualities and has helped raise more than $1 million over the years.

In addition, Christina and Ali Christensen — known as the singing sisters from the last season of America’s Got Talent — performed for conference attendees and thanked them for supporting the Foundation’s vital work. The sisters, who have CF, wowed volunteers with “Love You I Do” from Dreamgirls and Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb.”
Celebrating a Year of Success

Throughout the weekend, the Foundation’s staff and corporate partners were also honored for their outstanding support over the past year.

CF Foundation chapter honorees included:

Highest Dollar Growth in Great Strides
Greater New York – large market
Western Pennsylvania – medium market
Northern New England – small market

Largest Major Gifts Programs
Massachusetts/Rhode Island – large market
Western Pennsylvania – medium market
South Carolina – small market

Highest Dollar Growth in Special Events
Southern California - OC – large market
Nebraska – medium market
Iowa – small market

Corporate honorees included:

Outstanding Corporate Partner Award
American Airlines

Spirit of American Awards
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush

Corporate Star of Distinction Awards
Choate Construction
CVS/pharmacy and Warner Home Video
Johnson & Johnson

Corporate Leadership Council Members
Abbott Laboratories
Gilead Sciences
Wells Fargo

Click play to view photos of the 2011 Volunteer Leadership Conference