Please allow me to express a very heartfelt thank you to all who made my 30th birthday benefit so special on Friday evening. It was a night I will never forget (wink!), and I was so honored that Helene Belisle, executive director of the Arthritis National Research Foundation, flew out from California to take part in the event. Helene is one of the most compassionate people I know and has truly welcomed me into the ANRF family. I always know I can turn to my “West Coast Mom” for advice and support—and for that, I am grateful.
Helene’s son Derek Belisle, who handles marketing for the foundation, also surprised me by flying out for the benefit. In spite of the many miles between us, Derek has become one of my best friends. After months of teasing me that he wouldn’t be able to make it out to Atlantic City for my party, it made for perhaps the best surprise ever when he actually showed up and played a very touching video on The Kelly Award for Juvenile Arthritis Research on top of it. My favorite part of the video was the message from Dr. Susannah D. Brydges, who received this year’s grant of $75,000. The project she is working on is amazing and she wouldn’t have been able to continue her work without this grant, which gave me chills when I found out.
I am also very grateful to all who donated services and/or goods to help make the benefit such a success. (See list below.) A big thank you goes to Donna McCarthy, general manager of Gallagher’s Steakhouse and Burger Bar at Resorts Casino, for donating the space and food. Also, thank you to Dan Baker and The Raven Rock Rounders for providing the terrific bluegrass music and to Phil Cardon from Everyday Gourmet & Cakes for the fabulous birthday cake!!! I have never seen such a beautiful—yet delicious—work of art!
And I truly appreciate the generosity of those who donated to The Kelly Award for Juvenile Arthritis Research as well. The award (named after me) offers a rare opportunity to fund juvenile arthritis research. Sadly, most drug companies and other entities only want to spend research dollars on drugs for adults since the numbers are greater. However, having lived with JA since I was two, I will do everything in my power to see that no other child or teen has to suffer as I did. And while treatments have come a long way, they still have a long way to go. Please consider supporting The Kelly Award and helping the Arthritis National Research Foundation in its mission to find better treatments and hopefully even a cure. Thank you!
A special thanks to the sponsors:
Venue & Food: Gallagher's Steakhouse at Resorts Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City
Cake: Everyday Gourmet & Cakes, Ogden, UT
Balloons: Chester's Plants & Flowers, Atlantic City
Corsages: Monday Morning Flower & Balloon Co., PrincetonEntertainment: Raven Rock Rounders