An Evening of Hope

Closing remarks from CCFA's gala.

An Evening of HopeIt went for $50. Yes, somebody in the audience paid $50 for a four-pack of toilet paper. That’s what happens when you bring together a group of people who are united to cure a disease.

Saturday night, I had the honor of serving as emcee and auctioneer for a CCFA benefit gala called An Evening of Hope. It was a fundraiser for sure, but also a celebration of all the people who help make things happen to improve the lives of IBD patients and work toward a cure. The TP was a warm-up item to get the crowd going, followed by a variety of goods, from autographed sports memorabilia to plane tickets and vacation packages.

In appreciation for all the ways people contribute to the IBD cause—whether it be money, in-kind donations, time and talent, or just plain spreading the word—I offer you my closing remarks from An Evening of Hope.

I want to close by taking a moment to focus on why we are here tonight. Aside from being a board member, I am also a patient. So I have a very personal appreciation for what it means to support this organization, as do many others here.

For the past several years I have led a CCFA support group; along with that job comes a fair number of phone calls. On the other end of the line is usually a patient, or sometimes a parent or family member. Each one at the end of their rope—or sometimes at the beginning, with a new diagnosis. More often than we’d like to see, they are clinging to a fragile, frayed thread.

They have blocked intestines and bleeding rectums. They have surgeries and ostomy bags. They have, inside their heads, detailed maps to every restroom in every place they’ve ever been. They have medications that make them feel better, and worse, at the same time. Some callers have children who are so sick they can’t eat, who aren’t growing, who have trouble going to school, who are basically growing up in the hospital… kids who face the kinds of challenges that no parent wants their child to endure.

When these people make the call to find a support group, they have been through so much… and I know this because I was once that caller myself… they are grasping. They have many questions for sure, but behind it all there’s something else I can hear, and it’s always there. With that shaking voice: what they are really asking for is a glimmer of hope.

Thanks to this organization and the people who support it, we can say…

Yes, we understand.
Yes, there are others like you.
Yes, we have support groups.
Yes, we have brochures, and a website, and education seminars.
Yes, we have special camps where your child can truly be among peers.
Above all, YES, we are working as hard as we possibly can to cure these diseases.

Yes, we are funding cutting-edge medical research.
We hold fundraising walks.
We have people running marathons.
We have corporate sponsors and people sending us money from their own pockets.
We have children sending us their piggy banks in hopes that it might help their brother or sister feel better someday.
We have banquet rooms filled with people, donating and buying everything from piñatas to plane tickets to help make all of this possible.

When people call us and ask for hope, we give it.
That’s what An Evening of Hope is all about.

We, as an organization, as doctors and nurses and scientists, as volunteers, and as a room full of compassionate people… together, we answer that call. And there are a million and a half Americans and millions more around the world whose lives are changed by it.

The spirit of your generosity is humbling to say the least, and there aren’t enough smiles or tears to adequately show appreciation. So I simply say, on behalf of the CCFA, the event organizers, and most of all, on behalf of the people who call on us to help light their path… Thank you for answering, and thank you for this incredible display of hope.

Good night, and good health.

It’s not too late to add your support. Please visit CCFA: An Evening of Hope and find the Click here to donate link. Thank you.

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Tags: Advocacy (Making a Difference)

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About the Author

Andrew Tubesing is an acclaimed advocate and humorist on the subject of inflammatory bowel disease.