Charleston Gives Its Heart to Chase After a Cure for Cancer
On Saturday, February 6th, 2016, at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, 500 guests and 50 volunteers came together to advocate and support the chase to find a cure for childhood cancers such as neuroblastoma. “I am in complete awe of tonight,” said Whitney Ringler, founder of Chase After a Cure, in response to the massive turnout. “The commitment and dedication of our sponsors, volunteers and staff are the reason why we are able to do what we do,” she stated.
What set out to be a night that not only raised funds for research, but also celebrated recent successes and the lives of the many survivors, proved to be just that. Quiana Parler and friends opened the evening with a vibrant collection of chart topping music from the 70’s all the way through to the present. Children and adults alike danced circles around the room, donating whatever they could to the cause through silent auctions and open donations, raising close to $200,000 for research. “Working with these kids is such an amazing experience,” said Dr. Jacqueline Kraveka of MUSC Children’s Hospital. “They are an inspiration to us all and embody so much strength, and I am proud to be a part of the change,” she stated.
With tables adorned with Sweet William seed packets as takeaway gifts for guests, a plant that represents gallantry and bravery, the gala’s garden theme was brought to life, emphasizing the charities promise to nourish possibilities through research. As the night continued, the Lowcountry Youth Ballet Company performed an elegant number with lyrics that resonated not only in the hearts of the survivors and their parents, but also in those of a community that had come together to make a difference. Marcus Lattimore, USC’s former running back, made an appearance. “I’m truly honored to be here to raise awareness for such an important cause. Cancer affects everyone and it’s so great to see everyone come together,” he stated.
Chase, the inspiration behind the charity, got up on stage to share his own experiences of neuroblastoma with an uplifting speech, “I am a survivor!” he exclaimed. “And if it weren’t for research I would not be here,” he said in closing. Anabelle, another survival success, addressed the children in the crowd currently suffering from the illness with an inspirational story of hope, “Every kid I represent is you because you are strong,” she offered in closing. Clint, the father of Morgan, a twelve-year-old inspiration who is currently battling the disease spoke a few heartfelt words on her behalf. “My daughter Morgan has been fighting cancer for longer than she hasn’t. More than half her life has been spent getting treatment. The thing about cancer is that as parents you can see the scars on the outside, but you truly have no idea how deep those scars go or how long they last.” Morgan’s mother added that she was proud of her daughter, and the young woman that she was becoming. “I am just happy to be able to be there for her and to watch her grow,” she said also expressing her gratitude for all those that have helped them through this fight.
Adam White, Executive Director of Chase After a Cure, affirmed the charity’s purpose “to strive for more possibilities in the fight against cancer by funding more alternative and more effective treatments through research…to continue to fight against cancer by collaborating with like-minded organizations and businesses also dedicated to the fight,” he stated. His educational yet moving speech promised that Chase After a Cure would step up to make childhood cancer a priority through a dedicated effort to raise awareness and advocate for more funding and results for children. “Children are the world’s most valuable resource,” he said quoting John F. Kennedy. “And we at Chase After a Cure, along with the help of our sponsors and advocates, will continue to be the backbone that creates new possibilities in our search to winning this fight and finding a cure for cancer.”
Please click here to view photos from the night.