The fundraising spirit stayed strong up north one week after THON, where the seventh annual New York City Hope Gala announced a record-breaking total of $175,139 for THON, shattering its $100,000 goal.
Speeches from Devon Still and the Rupps, a Four Diamonds Family, were highlights of the annual black tie optional jamboree hosted by the New York and New Jersey chapters of the Alumni Association on February 28. Still was also honored with the Hope Gala Knight Award for his support during his daughter Leah’s motivational battle with pediatric cancer.
“I could sit up here and try to flatter myself and say that everybody’s here today to hear me talk,” Still said, “but I know and I hope everyone’s here to raise awareness for pediatric cancer and try to raise as much money as possible to help save these kids.”
Still said Leah was given a 50 percent chance of survival after her diagnosis on June 2, but she recently finished up her last round of a new treatment. In a few weeks, she’ll get new tests that will hopefully show there are no cancer cells left in her body.
Leah wasn’t able to attend the Hope Gala, but Devon made sure she didn’t miss much with FaceTime:
The Rupps lost their daughter Felicia to leukemia, and gave a speech that brought Still to tears during his.
“Because Felicia’s cancer was so rare in children there was no protocol on how to deal with it,” said Kevin Rupp, her father. “So a lot of her treatment was experimental and insurance companies don’t deal in experimental. Four Diamonds does. They paid for the treatment that kept Felicia going.”
This year, more than 450 benefactors contributed to the fundraising effort of the Hope Gala. In its short history, the Hope Gala has accumulated more than $350,000 for THON.
You can check out Still’s full speech below. Congrats to everyone involved with the Hope Gala for such a great total!