Sunday, March 25, 2012

2012 Casey Cares Gala - Don't Turn Your Back on the Children

Saturday night my family were honored guests at the 12th Annual Casey Cares Gala held at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore. The event is an annual fund raiser for the foundation that helps families of critically ill children.

Casey Cares has been wonderful to our family. They have treated us to the Casey Cares "Carenival", a pumpkin picking adventure, a day at the Maryland Science Center, and a birthday bash for my daughter, among others.

When they had the birthday bash they had a new member named Anne come visit us and she was learning all about Casey Cares. She was super nice and loved holding my daughter who has leukemia. We later learned that she was scouting foundations for one to make a generous donation. She chose Casey Cares.

Soon afterward, we were approached to make a video presenting Anne with the a Children's' Champion Award. We learned that she made a large generous donation to Casey Cares. Honestly, filming the video wasn't much fun as we had to do a bagillion retakes. I could never be an actor. However, it was an honor to be selected to film the video for her.

Finally, we were invited to attended this gala, compliments of Casey Cares founder, Casey Baynes. The theme of the night last night was the Roaring Twenties. People came dressed in their zoot suits and as gangsters (not the urban thugs you see on The Wire) and many ladies were wearing flappers. I, not having a chic wardrobe, wore a blue suit and a yellow tie. But as we all know, every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man.

Hors d'ouevres were served when we got there. There was a table of different cheeses including port wine, Swiss, blue cheese (pungent!), and several others that I was not able to identify, but enjoyed much more than a sales tax hike. Another table was full of fruits, and finally a third table had crab dip. My youngest daughter thought the food was all yucky. Did I mention the open bar? Jack? Are you there? Oh, there you are!

Mix 106.5's Reagan Warfireld was there, as were Baltimore Colts Hall of Famer Lenny Moore, Miss Teen Maryland, and Miss Maryland USA. While watching the video presentation, a compilation of events throughout the year, and the presentation of the 2 Champion of Children awards (one of which we filmed), they noted that the winner of the award we presented went to Anne Beiler, owner and founder of Auntie Anne's Pretzels. I had no idea this was Anne of Auntie Anne's!

During the live auction, attendees were bidding on a week's vacation in North Carolina, lunch with Scott Garceu, among other items. Finally, an autographed Baltimore Colts football jersey from Lenny Moore. The bidding was slow and seemed to be ending. Mr. Moore grabs the microphone and begins and impassioned speech. This isn't a quote, but he said something to the effect that when he gathers will fellow hall of famers, he reminds them of how great they have it and to not forget about the children. When they ask for autographs, don't turn your back on the children. And he reminds the younger football players, 'you make a lot of money, you can make a difference. Don't turn your back on the children.' Then he turned to the crowd doing the bidding, and said, "We're here today to raise money for the families and the children. Don't turn your backs on these children." I was choking up. What an awesome speech! The bidding began again on the jersey and in an instant the bids more than doubled. What a great man!

After the bidding ended, I decided I wanted to introduce myself and my daughter and thank him for his speech. I walked over to him and had to wait a bit as many other big-shots were getting their pictures with him. Finally I broke rank and got his attention. I introduced my daughter and told him that she has leukemia and I thanked him for helping the fund raiser and thanked him for his wonderful speech. He thanked us, put his hand on my daughter's head and said a prayer for her. In an instant Lenny Moore became my all-time favorite football player ever and I never even saw him play.

We got a few more pictures, one with Miss Teen USA, one with Miss Maryland USA (not sure if that's different than Miss Maryland or what). We bid adieu and finally hit the road. Boy were we tired, but what a great night. Thank you Casey Cares for allowing us to be a part of this wonderful evening!

Casey and Anne:

Reagan Warfield from Mix 106.5:

Miss Teen Maryland:

Miss Maryland USA:

Baltimore Colt's Legend Lenny Moore:

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