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DorobekINSIDER: AFCEA Bethesda scores $675K for the Children’s Inn at NIH

with 2 comments

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.”

The Children's Inn at NIH

The Children's Inn at NIH

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… 200820092010… 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!)

A special thanks to Teresa Bozzelli of Sapient Government Services, who invited me to participate.

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.)

Donna Appell at 2011 AFCEA Bethesda Gala for The Children's Inn

Donna Appell

See a slide show of photos from the event.

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.

Ashley Appell, 24, and Mervin Hernandez, 24
Ashley Appell, 24, and Mervin Hernandez, 24

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…

The DorobekINSIDER gooses the silent auction

The DorobekINSIDER gooses the silent auction (Photo: GTSI's Leslie Barry http://on.fb.me/fRQme5

$676,614

AFCEA Bethesda raises more than $676,000 for The Children's Inn at NIH

Bozzelli and Berdine at the AFCEA Bethesda Children's Inn Gala

Bozzelli and Berdine at the AFCEA Bethesda Children's Inn Gala

More photos… a slide show… and Children’s Inn at NIH – by the numbers… after the break…
See a slide show of all of the photos on my Flickr site.. but a few others…
VA CIO Roger Baker and his wife

VA CIO Roger Baker and his wife

Year The Children’s Inn at NIH opened: 1990
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
Amount raised in 2011 by the AFCEA Bethesda gala for The Children’s Inn at NIH: $676,614

Armstrongs, Guerra at the AFCEA Bethesda Children's Inn Gala

AFCEA Bethesda's Children's Inn Gala

 

Gala leaders...

The AFCEA Bethesda Gala leadership through the years

 

 

Best shoes of the night...

Best shoes of the night... Tish Tucker!

More photos in the slideshow

TechBisnow also has photos.

Written by cdorobek

April 6, 2011 at 5:39 AM

Posted in Circuit, community, Events

2 Responses

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  1. Nice writeup. I just wrote up a short bit about the use of music treatment described by Ashley and Mervin, thought you might find it interesting. What astounded me was not just the use of music as therapy, but the use of singing/sax as a measurement of medical health!
    http://www.science20.com/daytime_astronomer/music_medical_measurement-78178

    Sandy Antunes

    April 15, 2011 at 1:50 PM

  2. Thanks so much for all that you do to support the Children’s Inn. I know Ashley and Mervin (and Donna) quite well as I also have HPS. Many of our kids stay at the Inn. They think going to NIH is a vacation! How wonderful is that???? Thanks again!

    Heather Kirkwood

    April 18, 2011 at 3:12 PM


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