Over 850 prominent Chicagoans arrived to Bear Tie Ball entitled “Passion for a Purpose”, taking place at UIC Forum on March 9th, to help Bear Necessities Foundation raise funds to fight pediatric cancer. This special occasion marked Foundation’s 20th Anniversary. Guests sporting their finest wore threads with purple finery came ready to support a great cause and network.
Co-chairs Nina Mariano and Tracey Scurto welcomed their friends and supporters alike, while networking under chandelier-studded ceiling in an elegantly decorated pavilion, accented with purple hues that complemented the event’s theme. Roe Conn and Windy City Live’s Val Warner served as the evening’s emcees addressing the crowd with heart-warming speeches. The honorary Bear Hug Ambassador, eight year old Theo Yianas spoke of his own struggles and triumphs with the disease. Other children that the foundation has helped introduced themselves and spoke about their fight with the disease, and about their accomplishments inspite of being ill.
During the dinner there was a live auction where guests were encouraged to bid on high-ticket items ranging from spa weekends in Beverly Hills to an autographed Blackhawks jersey. The evening’s charitable contributions have helped to raise more than $750, 000 to fund the foundation’s mission. There was also an opportunity to bid on silent auction items generously donated by the sponsors.
Celebration continued after the dinner with guests enjoying tasty desserts, dancing and networking. Some of the notable guests included: Cheryl and Mario Tricoci, Kristina and Mike McGrath, Paul Iacono, Jennifer Sutton, Kristina Farra, Stuart Goldberg, and others.
Foundations such as this one help to fund research and development of potential cures for pediatric cancer. It is estimated that 13,500 children are diagnosed with some form of pediatric cancer annually, making it the leading cause of death for children. It is noteworthy that only 3% of research dollars goes towards cancer research. As I watched the information video from the foundation, one of the phrases uttered by a child, perhaps 8 or 9 years old got embedded in my mind: “I want to be when I grow-up… but I just want to grow-up.” Definitely not anything that someone just beginning to live should have to deal with.
Kathleen Casey, founder of Bear Necessities spoke of inspiration behind starting this foundation after losing her own child Bear. She praised guests for helping to raise funds to help thousands of families struggling to find cure for their children’s disease.
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Kontinent Media Group
Photos by Alex Riemann