As Founder of the First Minneapolis “Red Carpet for Hope” and Co-Chair of the last two Galas, I am beyond ecstatic to reveal that last Sunday’s Golden Globes viewing party in Minneapolis raised over $320,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
This year’s planning efforts began immediately after last year’s second “Red Carpet for Hope” gala though inaugural Golden Globes viewing party. The original event was conceived over three years ago. It all started when I was offered a role in the Star Trek – “Into Darkness”- movie over three years ago. While filming (and having the time of my life as a self described “Trekkie” since I was 10 years old) I had it ingrained in my mind that I would try to use the experience that was a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to help the kids at St. Jude and give back to an organization/place I love. At some point, I hope to tell JJ Abrams (the Director) what his impact in hiring me may ultimately lead to, in terms of fundraising efforts. Without a specific movie in mind to highlight in the spring of 2014, my husband, Michael, proposed we do a Golden Globes viewing party last year. After obtaining permission from the Hollywood Foreign Press, St.Jude Children’s Research Hospital became the Hollywood Foreign Press’s only sanctioned charity: (See KARE 11 Interview for explanation and a bit more):
St. Jude’s Fundraising arm deemed last year’s Minneapolis Golden Globes viewing party so successful, they rolled it out to two additional cities this year. (Chicago and Miami). Next year the goal is to have simultaneous viewing parties in ten U.S. cities. Ultimately, it would be AMAZING to see this happen in every U.S. large city. Heck, why not role it out globally? Is there anyone out there reading this from “elsewhere” who may wish to start a committee in your area? If so, let me know!!!
Of course none of the event success would be possible without the people who helped make that happen. Mostly, the committee, that has consisted of close friends, family and a few people who are passionate about the cause. I am so grateful for these individuals. Those of you who may be reading this KNOW exactly who you are!!! These people are the ones with the passion, the ideas, the connections and who are willing to ask on behalf of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for the money, the favors, the time and the talent to make this event what it has been. How on earth do I/will I adequately thank you? And then, of course, I want to thank and acknowledge all the community members and businesses who are so generous with their donations of enormous proportions. Additionally, the esteemed guests who attended the gala and who made contributions need to be recognized and thanked! My close friend Judi, “St. Jude Soul Sister”, was speaker extraordinaire!!! Her own story along with her daughter’s journey are a blog (or book) in themselves. I truly believe that we are meant to meet certain people in our lives at certain times.
Incidentally, a couple of our committee members this year were two of my four children. While serving on the committee they came up with a brilliant idea of getting more of their teenage friends involved and spun off a separate Teen Gala that happened simultaneously. Their fundraising efforts yielded over $40,000 in donations. I am touched beyond words that so many phenomenal teens participated and generated so much in contributions. Anyone wishing to view all the teen gala photos may regard my FaceBook page.
Below are pictures of the official Teen Gala Co-Chairs and their STELLAR Committee:
With their sister, St. Jude patient and cancer survivor:
Finally, I wish to thank Kevin White, my friend and professional photographer, who donated his time and talent to authenticate the red carpet experience. My Facebook album has a multitude of individual and group photos but he has also generously donated this dropbox link for anyone who wishes their own souvenir: Feel free to browse and download!
In closing, I would like to thank all involved again for making this gala a successful evening and for ALL the generous support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I am overwhelmed that so many people came together to support this cause and hospital that I hold so close to my heart. I feel so much GRATITUDE, JOY, LOVE and HOPE!!! I think HOPE is what helps heal us and what often keeps us alive when darkness falls upon us. I feel joy in attempting to alleviate some of the associated pain from the cancer journey by trying to help in this particular way.
If any attendees of the gala have any feedback, positive or negative, I’d love to hear from you. Also, if you want to help out next year, here or someplace else, let me know!
Absolutely FANTASTIC Berit!!