Time is of the Essence. That was the theme of the 29th annual Alzheimer’s Association Rita Hayworth Gala. Held on May 7, this beautifully designed event welcomed guests to the Chicago Hilton’s International Ballroom for an evening of dining, dancing and honoring those who so generously give of themselves for this organization’s mission. Live and silent auction bidding on some fabulous items from dining to sports to jewelry to travel to wine and spirits to cooking experiences created friendly sparring to help in the fundraising efforts. There was something for everyone to bid on in the end!
It is thrilling to share that with over 820 guests, more than $1 million was raised for the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. “Under Princess Yasmin Aga Khan’s leadership, over $68 million has been raised through the Chicago, Palm Beach and New York Rita Hayworth Galas. These funds, combined with other donations, have helped the Alzheimer’s Association work toward our vision of a world without Alzheimer’s disease.”
Saturday night’s black tie ball began with images of Rita Hayworth amidst shades of purple. As you enter the ballroom, the stunning purple (in honor of Alzheimer’s disease) could be seen throughout in the flowers and table settings along with the clocks embedded in the centerpieces (for the theme of the event) showcasing how every detail was thought of. There were even guests in tuxedos with purple bow ties and cummerbunds. The support for this benefit was extraordinary.
The presentation portion of the event began with the 2016 Rita Hayworth Award being given to Dr. Lisa Genova, the NY Times Best Selling Author, for her contribution to Alzheimer’s disease awareness through her book and film, “Still Alice”. The Cantore Family received the 2016 Family Philanthropy Award and Silverado, the 2016 Corporate Award for the efforts of their memory care facilities. The Gala would not have been possible without the generous support from presenting sponsors Joan and Paul Rubschlager. Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, the galas founder and daughter of Rita Hayworth, shared her mission for the gala. Event chairs, June Barnard and Maggie Murzanski shared their personal reasons for wanting to raise awareness and funding. Finally, we heard from a guest who had been recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, making everything we are all so passionate about, real. The need for a cure, instantly more critical.
From the high energy CoverGirls during cocktails to the Orchestra 33’s “Party Gras” Band following dinner, the dance floor was in constant motion. We were celebrating the drive and intensity of everyone who was there to support the Alzheimer’s Association. The presence of compassion, determination and warmth of everyone in the room was tangible. Heartwarming. Beautiful.
This year’s Gala brought together many of the Association’s loyal donors to celebrate the progress of the Alzheimer’s Association and to raise awareness of the important work that still needs to be done. In 2017, we will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Rita Hayworth Gala. A momentous year with big goals to continue our mission to fund more research to find a cure and provide support to those in need. Please join in the efforts of this organization. Everyone is able to make a difference!