DorobekINSIDER: AFCEA Bethesda scores $675K for the Children’s Inn at NIH
One of the best events of the year is hosted by AFCEA’s Bethesda, MD chapter — it is the annual gala for The Children’s Inn at NIH, a simply remarkable place where sick children undergoing research at the National Institutes of Health can find a respite at a “place like home.”
AFCEA Bethesda has been a long-time supporter of The Children’s Inn at NIH. And the AFCEA Bethesda team managed to break yet another record for the 13th year of the gala, collecting more than $675,000 — at least as of initial estimates. The tallying was still going on, but… No small feat given the current environment.
I have been to the event for many of the past 13 years — and blogging about it in recent years… 2008… 2009… 2010… For 2011, I was honored to be asked to be a part of the presenting team — they asked me to help goose the silent auctions. (By ‘goosing,’ I can only assume they mean ‘come home with as many items as possible!” On that account — mission accomplished!)
Hear Bozzelli and Linda Berdine, the chairwoman of The Children’s Inn at NIH Board, talk about it on The DorobekINSIDER.
AFCEA Bethesda has been a long-time supporter of the Children’s Inn at NIH. For those of you who don’t know about it, the Children’s Inn is similar to the Ronald MacDonald houses — they are a place where families can stay near the hospital and have as normal of a life as is possible. The big difference: The Children’s Inn provides that home to those families at no cost. Remarkable. (And yes — you can contribute… $139 buys a night for a family at the Children’s Inn.)
See more photos after the break.
One of the most amazing parts of the Children’s Inn Gala is that the audience gets to hear from the children themselves. This year, we got to meet Ashley Appell, 24, and her boyfriend Mervin Hernandez, 24 — who actually performed at the event… she sang and he played the saxophone. Both suffer from Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome, a genetic metabolic disorder which causes albinism, visual impairment, and a platelet dysfunction with prolonged bleeding. Ashley’s mother, Donna, told the audience that they started singing and playing the sax as part of their therapy — to help with their lung capacity. And there therapy has turned into a joy and passion.
And it was thrilling that Ashley’s mother got to speak because I cannot imagine the torture of watching a child in pain. But the remarkable thing is the Children’s Inn also becomes a place for real information sharing. Donna told me that the Children’s Inn, in addition to providing a home, has also provided her with a network of people who have been there and done it.
Some photos from the event…
Number of children who have passed through the doors over the years: More than 10,000
Number of children who pass through the doors of the Children’s Inn each year: More than 1,500
Number of states the children have come from: 50
Number of countries the children have come from: 80
Number of resident rooms: 59
Number of communal kitchens and eating areas: 2
Age of the children at The Children’s Inn: Birth to 25 years old
Number of volunteers who work at The Children’s Inn: nearly 200
Number of full-time staff: 22
The cost for families to stay at the Children’s Inn: 0