On April 16, the Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Foundation staged a successful fundraising sequel when it held its Second Annual Treasuring Our Kids Spring Fling. The nearly 200 people gathered at the Silver Lake Country Club in Orland Park on that night witnessed another remarkable evening that included a delicious dinner and musical entertainment along with chances to win exciting prizes through silent and live auctions and raffles.
Just as it had a year earlier, the magical evening's agenda overflowed with memorable moments and stirring speeches, beginning with emcee and Channel 2 News Reporter Kristyn Hartman's welcoming words and continuing with Father John Mulvihill's opening Invocation, during which he gave thanks for the joy the Foundation has brought to thousands of children suffering from cancer.
Following dinner, Foundation CEO and Founder Colleen Kisel thanked all of the attendees for their tremendous support before introducing and honoring the Foundation's Volunteer of the Year, Palos Heights resident Leon Denning. Tony Wise, father of the Spring Fling's Honorary Chairperson Meghan Wise, delivered a touching speech which provided a unique glimpse into the hardships faced by a family dealing with a young child's cancer diagnosis. Tony shared his emotional story of the joy his daughter experienced when selecting a special toy from the treasure chest following each painful procedure during her treatment.
Before the thrilling live auction began, a video narrated by Colleen's son Martin, himself a cancer survivor, was shown featuring nostalgic views of the very first treasure chest in 1997. The video combined highly emotional scenes of children selecting toys from treasure chests with clips from the NBC Nightly News segment on the Foundation which aired last year, and concluded with Martin thanking viewers for their loyal support of the Foundation in its mission to provide toys and smiles to kids with cancer.
Board President Eileen Finn offered an update on the Foundation's 2011 Building Fund Campaign, stressing the urgent need for a larger facility and urging the gala's attendees to make a donation to the critical fundraising effort in order to achieve an honored place on the future facility's Donor Wall of Fame.
Philanthropists and politicians alike were drawn to the exciting gala, as Danny K. Davis, United States Congressman from the Seventh District of Illinois dropped by to greet supporters of the Foundation. Congressman Davis praised those present for "their hard work and cooperation in making life better for those with difficulties, and for all of us." He concluded with an enthusiastic statement: "Thanks, and I'm having a ball!"
Response to the live auction items was overwhelming, thanks to the extraordinary talents of slick-talking auctioneer Stephanie Heckman of Indianapolis. Among the more popular live auction items were an autographed Patrick Kane Blackhawks jersey which drew a winning bid of $1,100, and a weeklong stay at a Marco Island condominium in Florida which went for an impressive $3,200. The evening's top prize was won by determined bidder Marge Adreani who plunked down $4,000 for a package that included two tickets to the Ellen DeGeneres Show.
As the auction wound down, the action on the dance floor heated up and the musical entertainment portion of the evening kicked in with Jerry Hendrix, a member of the legendary band The Drifters, wowing the crowd with stirring renditions of both classic and contemporary songs.
The final tally shows the Second Annual Spring Fling raised more than $40,000 for the Foundation, thanks in large part to the generous support of the many monetary donors as well as individual and corporate donors of auction and raffle items. In addition, a 17-member planning committee and more than two dozen volunteers toiled long and hard to ensure the event's success.
The value of teamwork and a spirit of cooperation dominated the special evening, a fact that was not lost on Foundation Board member Darlene Zitko who said, "It's so nice to see it all come together. We all work so hard throughout the year and on the eve of the event everything falls into place and it's amazing! I truly enjoy the magic we create! And on the night of the actual event, the one thought that runs through my mind is how many children will be touched by this evening."
Throughout the evening, the words and actions of all those present reflected the Foundation's gratitude for the loyal support it has received as well as the incredible strength and courage of the children and families who are battling childhood cancer. We hope this commemorative web page has captured the magical charm of this very special evening, one that will go down as yet another true hallmark in the illustrious history of the Treasure Chest Foundation.
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