The first time many heard about the impending storm named Sandy, was when Jennifer Donelan of ABC7 talked to us from the podium Thursday evening. Donelan, the Mistress of Ceremonies for the second year in a row for the Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation’s Blue Hope Bash, did her best to quiet the rowdy (read: excited and filled with hope and totally dressed in blue) crowd and at her mention of Hurricane Sandy, there was a bit of a hush and a “huuuuuuh?” But before we get ahead of ourselves and talk anymore of the hurricane turned tropical storm turned post tropical hurricane storm turned Nor’easter turned path of destruction turned rainy miserable cold day, we must talk about Thursday evening.
The Park Hyatt Washington’s recently renovated lower level ballroom space was ideal for the event; the hallway was lined on either side with tables filled with tons of silent auction items, including the paintings done by patients and supporters at ArtJamz, servers moved from one end to another offering butler passed mini lamb chops and a variety of appetizers, there were four fully stocked bars from which to choose for the 300 person event, and many grabbed the Blue Hope (literally blue) cocktail from trays, just to keep in theme.Â Attendees signed up immediately after registration for the Bid Pal device, much like an iPhone, which was used to bid immediately even from the seats during the dinner, on all of the items.Â Gone were the pieces of paper on which one scribbles a # and name and then has to run back and forth to the table. With Bid Pal, bidders are conveniently are able to see the latest bid from anywhere at the event.Â Note: for those whose fingers often do the walking/buying online, Bid Pal makes it SO easy to bid up, you can quickly end up winning at a high price … more than one item.
We mixed, mingled and met up at the tables in the gorgeous blue lit ballroom and listened to speeches of gratitude, hope, humbleness, sorry, but again, hope from a number of members of the community who had lost loved ones or who were survivors of colon cancer.Â VIP’s in the room included WTOP Morning News Desk Editor (and colon cancer survivor) Mike Jakaitis, Michelle Money, star of The Bachelor and Bachelor Pad 2, Hell’s Kitchen winner Chef Rock Harper, who told me he is now at DC Central Kitchen, bless his heart!, WTOP’s Man About Town Bob Madigan, nationally recognized colon cancer specialist Dr. John Marshall of Lombardi Cancer Center (who had treated Christine Sapienza) who gave a quick inspiring talk, and many others.
That evening, three awards were presented for those in the community who have gone above and beyond for the Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation:
Jason Wilson from GWU presented Brandon Hammond with the Christine Sapienza Memorial Award.
Lisa Harwood from Geiger presented Dr. Michael Choti with the “Lucky 13″ Memorial Award.
Rich Confalone from Lucky Dog Films presented Josh Joson in memory/behalf of his wife Lisa Joson with the Elika Hemphill Memorial Award.
Of course, no fundraiser is complete without RAISING money and magically, founder Michael Sapienza, at the podium, was able to edge the crowd over to not only get past the $46,000 or so dollars we saw on the screens, but to over $50,000 – which was then matched by a private foundation on site.Â Later, we danced the night away with Ted Garber performing his blues Americana music live, as long as we could.Â When the final tally came in the next day, we were shocked and over the moon at learning the Blue Hope Bash had brought in over $200,000.
Congratulations yet again to Michael, the staff, the Board, consultants and volunteers, and thank you to Caroline Mae Heidenreich of MAE COUTURE for the cool vintage authentic US Army parachute blue sheath which I wore as a skirt.
*Photos courtesy of Maurisa Potts of Spotted MP
Video below by Michelle Money:
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a platform for profiling people who "make it happen" in the Capital region, reviews & topical blog posts. She launched Punch Enterprises, a connector consulting business in 2015 and Pacific Punch based in LA, in 2012. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, VA. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.