Upon moving to New York City in the fall of last year, the one charity I was focused on getting involved with was Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research. The foundation, which is known for their iconic and star studded Angel Ball held every fall at Cipriani’s Wall Street, has raised nearly $40 million dollars since its inception. However, this year as a member of the newly created Young Professional Council within the foundation, we created a new event geared towards young and charitable entrepreneurs. Our inaugural event was titled Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation’s Midsummer Angel Gala, which we held at The Fleur Room at the recently opened Moxy Hotel on June 24th here in New York City,
Hosted by social media and YouTube star Twan Kuyper, the influencer and model hosted the evening which honored Andrew Warren, as well as hosted guests such as Ava Dash, Joy Corrigan, and more for our event that raised that raised over $93,000; exceeding all of our goals. As part of the host committee of the newly formed Young Professional Council, our goal was to host our first event to raise vital and crucial funds that would go directly to cancer research. One of the distinguishing characteristics of this inaugural event was that all of the proceeds would be benefiting the Foundation’s music therapy programs.
Our Young Professional Council sold out the event within weeks, as The Friends of Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation Midsummer Angel Gala was born from the desire of young professionals to give back and make a difference in the fight against cancer by a new generation. Chaired by Hugh Barton, Chimere Cisse, Julia Nikonovaite, Thomas E. Pierce II and Alexander Ulvsgard, the event on June 24th featured cocktails and multiple DJ’s in a dreamy midsummer night’s setting.
The event committee featured many young professionals with extensive social media reach and engagement which we actively utilized for event and sponsor promotion. Amongst them were myself, Andrew Warren, Jacob Busch, Connor Kennedy to name a few. All of the proceeds raised by our generous donors that the committee members reached out to went towards Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation’s support of music therapy. Music therapy provides one on one patient and family care with bedside visits. Music helps to relieve symptoms such as pain, anxiety, isolation and provides solace to patients at end stage of their disease. Gabrielle believed that “Music Heals the Soul” and this program was created with her love of music and of helping others in mind. Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research was created in memory of Gabrielle Rich Aoaud who died of Leukemia in 1996 at the age of 27. It was her wish and vision to fund research so that others would not suffer as she did. Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation funds the best and brightest young scientists who are searching for better treatments, preventions and cures for leukemia, lymphoma and other blood cancers.
Our newly formed event and council was established from the desire of young entrepreneurs, professionals, and the foundation to give back and make a difference in the fight against cancer, of which all of our proceeds raised from our event will benefit the Foundation’s music therapy program for cancer patients at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, of which I have personally been a previous patient of and holds a special place in my heart.
The guests that attended our sold out gala were immersed into our fanciful midsummer garden of immersive experiences, including performances by Johnny Manuel, DJ Celeste Greenberg, and DJ Coco Robert, amongst some of our other surprises we had in store for our guests.
Attendees of the Midsummer Angel Gala donned white and yellow attire to celebrate the summer season, I wore a white tux with a black shawl collar, and Midsummer traditional flower crowns were being sold onsite for the festivities. The aptly-named Fleur Room sprouted with floral arrangements and fauna-printed embossed couches. The step and repeat perfectly aligned with the theme sporting more flowers for guests to take photos on. The Foundation which has supported pediatric cancer research for less toxic treatments since it was was founded in 1996, has to date funded more than $35 million in grants. Thus making it one of the largest non-governmental sources of grant support to blood cancer research.
The evening sponsors included: Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Pomp & Whimsy, Forever Young wines, Altavene, Peroni and Casa Noble tequila. Donation’s were provided by Joanna Vargas, John Targon the designer of Fall Risk , SantLov, Fendi, Jimmy Choo, The Black Tux, The Skinny Confidential and more. For more information on how you can donate or become involved with the foundation, please visit gabriellesangels.org