Looking to the Future, Children's Ball Raises $3 Million

With a theme of “Pioneering the Future,” the 2017 Children’s Ball raised $3 million while celebrating the many advancements that are saving and improving children’s lives. The Ball was held April 7 at the Ritz-Carlton and chaired by Amy Baier, Mae Grennan, Carrie Marriott, and Toni Verstandig.

Attendees enjoyed a cocktail hour, a dinner prepared by Nicholas Stefanelli of the restaurant Masseria, a live auction, and a “call for cash,” when bidders raised their paddles to make additional contributions. The evening ended with dancing with music provided by DJ Roonie G.

To support the “pioneering” theme, emcee Bret Baier, anchor of “Special Report with Bret Baier” on Fox News Channel, began the evening in an authentic spacesuit that he had borrowed from NASA. Norah O’Donnell, co-host of CBS’s “This Morning,” assisted Baier as a co-auctioneer during the live auction.

During the “call for cash,” Baier was joined on stage by Molly Barcalow, a 16-year-old who survived a rare and life-threatening form of cancer. At 14, Molly received a bone marrow transplant from her brother. Some of his cells were also removed and trained in a lab to fight Molly’s cancer cells in a process called T-cell therapy. Both therapies were successful, and Molly is back to doing the things she loves, including dancing. Molly reflected on the 42-day period she spent in her hospital room at Children’s National after her transplant. She left only eight times when she went to another facility for scanning. Molly and other patients were featured in this video that was premiered at the Ball:

Pioneering the Future from Children's Hospital Foundation on Vimeo.

Verstandig, who is also chair of the Children’s Hospital Foundation Board, spoke on behalf of the co-chairs, saying, “Tonight is a celebration of our hospital; its leadership team; the doctors, nurses, and all those who care for our children; and all that it’s accomplished throughout its rich history and will achieve in the days ahead. Our theme of ‘Pioneering the Future’ spotlights the cutting-edge research and innovative care that allows Children’s National to take big ideas and make them a reality, and it recognizes that the future of pediatric care is the next frontier of innovation.”

Dr. Kurt Newman, president and CEO of Children’s National, thanked the chairs, host committee, special guests, and sponsors and said the hospital has depended on community support since it was founded nearly 150 years ago. “Over the years, we’ve stayed true to our mission of serving the children of Washington, DC, and have upon it to make a positive difference for children in our community, our region, across the country, and around the globe. With your support, we are using the most advanced technologies, equipment, and approaches to help children get well and get on with their lives.”

At the conclusion of the program, the chairs for the 2018 Children’s Ball were announced -- Marcy Cohen, Jean-Marie Fernandez, and Patrice Brickman.

Special Guests:

  • Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri
  • Congressman John Delaney of Maryland
  • Muriel Bowser, Mayor of Washington, DC
  • His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates, and his wife Abeer
  • His Excellency Román Macaya Hayes, Ambassador of Costa Rica, and his wife Thaïs González
  • His Excellency Juan Carlos Pinzon, Ambassador of Colombia, and his wife, Pilar Lozano
  • His Excellency Joe Hockey, Ambassador of Australia, and his wife Melissa Babbage

Celestial Sponsors:

  • Amy and Bret Baier

Stellar Sponsors:

  • Yousef and Abeer Al Otaiba
  • Raytheon
  • Adel and Farrah Al Jubeir
  • Shaher Awartani

Lunar Sponsors:

  • Jones Lang Lasalle
  • Lexus

Event Partners:

  • Jen Stiebel, SoCo Events
  • Amaryllis Floral & Event Design
  • Total Wine & More


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