BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
Everyone’s first and favorite children’s board game Candy Land came to life in all its gumdrop glory for guests at the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation Gala, benefiting pediatric cancer research. Held in honor of the children who are fighting and those who have lost their battle to cancer, the 26th Anniversary Bear Tie Ball featured entertainment just as fanciful as its theme, including the music of Front of the House.
Although the bear is the animal of the evening, a little dog named Hermie, a silent auction delight donated by Erica’s Doodles, shared the spotlight with new owners Lauren and Anthony Marino, who cuddled the puppy throughout the evening before taking him home.
Roz Varon, Emmy Award-winning journalist, pioneering traffic reporter at ABC7 Chicago, and cancer-survivor, served as mistress of ceremonies and host of the evening’s events, held at the UIC Forum, which included a live auction.
Another of the evenings many inspirational guests Kathleen Casey told how she founded the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation in 1992 following the loss of her son “Bear” to pediatric cancer. The organization is dedicated to eliminating pediatric cancer and to providing hope and support to those who are touched by it.
The Bear Tie Ball brings together families, friends, and supporters of Bear Necessities to celebrate the lives saved and medical breakthroughs made amidst another successful year. The foundation awards medical research grants nationwide to junior investigative researchers who make meaningful advancements and discoveries towards finding a cure and therapies for various types of pediatric cancer.
Event co-chairs Kristine Farra and Michael Palumbo presented a Tribute to Courage to Emily Crabtree, who has been battling cancer for over two decades since she was 17. The William J. Casey Hope Award was given to the Dalmazio Family of Tony’s Italian Deli and Subs and Hermie’s new parents, the Marino Family, along with the team at Marino Chrysler Jeep Dodge for their meaningful contributions to Bear Necessities.
All funds raised benefit pediatric cancer research grants through Bear Discoveries and memories through Bear Hugs, a program to support for cancer patients ages 0-19 and their families by providing customized experiences sure to brighten the life of a child going through cancer.
For more information about Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation and its programs, visit bearnecessities.org.