Cancer Survivor Inspires White Hat Gala Attendees

Rylie Richards, an 8-year-old cancer survivor, may have seemed like an unlikely guest at the second annual White Hat Gala, organized by the cyber security industry. Held Oct. 23 at the Mellon Auditorium, the event featured casino gaming, a silent auction, and live music. But the 300 guests soon became familiar with Rylie and her story as she joined Chair Paul Innella, White Hat USA Co-Founder David Trout, and several cyber security committee members on stage. There, the audience learned about her battle with leukemia and how Children’s National has supported her and her family. Afterwards, Rylie helped with the raise-the-paddle auction and encouraged guests to participate in the silent auction. At the end of the evening, the committee announced that the event had surpassed its fundraising goal by raising more than $425,000 -- an increase of $100,000 from the 2013 event. Rylie wasn’t the only former patient who attended the gala. Presenting sponsor Bank of America honored patient care volunteer Austin Lee with the “Bank of America Volunteer Excellence Award.” The White Hat organization was established in 2004 in the United Kingdom to protect vulnerable children through charitable means. Following this model, White Hat USA was organized in 2012 with the goal of raising money to help children at risk while providing networking opportunities for members of the cyber security community. View photos of the event and watch Rylie's story.

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