This past Thursday marked the first annual Light of Hope Appreciation Dinner, which honored all the wonderful families, board members, donors, volunteers, and community supporters of Bringing Hope Home. The dinner was held at The Crowne Plaza Valley Forge and made possible thanks to our generous sponsors at Teva Pharmaceuticals and The Philadelphia Eagles.
The only way to describe the evening is to say it was both fun and magical. Over 300 people joined us on Thursday night and were able to mingle with Swoop and the Eagles Cheerleaders or take silly photos in the Photo Booth. (Click here to see all of the fantastic photobooth pics!)
Once it was time to sit for dinner, the BHH team kicked off the program. Founder and CEO, Paul Isenberg, told his story and the story of the organization, which barely left a dry eye in the room. After Paul’s introduction, Amy Forkin and Lauren Rubenstein took to the stage to hand out awards honoring some of the wonderfully selfless and generous people who have helped to make BHH so successful over the past few years.
BHH honored 7 individuals and organizations that went above and beyond to support families battling cancer in our area this past year. The Light of Hope Award Recipients that were recognized include:
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- Living Beyond Breast Cancer – Community Partner of the Year
- Church’s Auto Parts – In-Kind Donor of the Year
- Service Master of Cherry Hill – In-Kind Donor of the Year
- Beth Andres Bell – Social Worker of the Year
- The Haverford School’s Checking For Cancer Lacrosse Invitational – School Initiative of the Year
- Toni Makowski – Volunteer of the Year
- John Greenbaum – Third Party Event of the Year
After the awards were handed out, Paul stepped back on stage to say that the real winners were all of our families that were in attendance at the dinner. There was no way to choose a “Family of the Year” so instead, Paul asked all families that were in the crowd to stand and be recognized. Over 125 men and women slowly rose from their seats and the crowd burst into applause. It was such a special moment for everyone there to be able to see the smiling faces of all of our families in one room together!
Right around the time that coffee and dessert were being served, the Voice of the Philadelphia Eagles, Merill Reese, stepped onto the stage. In person, his voice was every bit as intoxicating as it is on the radio, and everyone listened closely as he shared with us some of his favorite moments in Eagles history. In addition to listing off specific games from 1978, 1981, and 2010, Merill told us that one of the best things about working with the Eagles organization is getting to know the players and seeing how big their hearts and generosity can be. He then introduced Eagles Defensive Tackle, Cullen Jenkins, who was sitting in the audience with his wife and daughters. Cullen and his family adopted 2 families through Bringing Hope Home’s Adopt-A-FamilyProgram this past holiday season. He told us how honored he was to have the opportunity to give back to families who are struggling. He shared his own story with us, speaking from the heart about his own struggles as he and his wife started their family while they were still in college and it took him about a year and a half to finally make it into the NFL.
He stayed on stage with Merrill and Paul to distribute raffle items to a handful of lucky audience members, who won assorted signed Eagles gear. And then generously stayed through the end of the evening to take photos with excited fans.
We are so thankful to Teva Pharmaceuticals and the Philadelphia Eagles for helping us create such a memorable night!
And, of course, HUGE thank you to all of our amazing families who joined us at the Appreciation Dinner. You are the real inspiration behind everything that we do and we are so thankful to have you in our lives. We were so excited to meet all of those that were able to join us and look forward to seeing everyone again at next year’s Appreciation Dinner!