A Little Time and a Keyboard: Gastro-Intestinal Research Foundation Virtual Ball July 25, 2020: Laughs, Learning and Support

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Gastro-Intestinal Research Foundation Virtual Ball July 25, 2020: Laughs, Learning and Support

Gastro-Intestinal Research Foundation Virtual Ball July 25, 2020

Support the Gastro-Intestinal Research Foundation Virtual Ball July 25, 2020

Every year since 1961, the Gastro-Intestinal Research Foundation has welcomed a community of patients, families, friends and medical professionals to its annual Gastro-Intestinal Research Foundation Ball. As the Gastro-Intestinal Research Foundation's signature fundraising event of the year, continuing the ball is essential. While the annual ball will be slightly different in order to keep the community safe due to COVID, I am thrilled to learn that the ball will pivot and go virtual! GIRF's 59th Annual Ball will be virtually held on July 25 at 6PM including a live improv show by The Second City, a virtual paddle raise and a presentation by Dr. David T. Rubin, Lead Scientific Advisor for GIRF.




Benefactor Sy Taxman and NBC 5's LeeAnn Trotter who emceed the 2019 ball. Image credit GIRF.
Benefactor Sy Taxman and NBC 5's LeeAnn Trotter who emceed the 2019 ball. Image credit GIRF.
Today, more than ever, it is important to support our medical community. So, pivoting the GI Research Foundation Virtual Ball to an online format is crucial to continuing support during the time of COVID.

This year's poignant yet fun event will be emceed by Emmy award-winning investigative reporter and longtime GIRF supporter Ben Bradley of WGN Chicago. Participants will enjoy complimentary registration for the GIRF Virtual Ball. Attendees will enjoy a live and interactive improv show by Chicago's own The Second City. A paddle raise, programming detailing the important work of GIRF and more will entertain and educate ball attendees. I reached out to GIRF Development Manager Jennie Weinstock for a few more details on this year's event! Enjoy a little more background information about this worthy cause:

The GI Research Foundation Virtual Ball featuring The Second City is on July 25.
The GI Research Foundation Virtual Ball featuring The Second City is on July 25.

How did you develop the virtual concept for this year's GI Research Foundation's Virtual Ball?

Despite not being able to have an in-person, live Ball this year, it is still vitally important to the  GI Research Foundation (GIRF) to still host a fundraising event. Recent months have taught the world that medical research is critically important and must be continuously funded. At GIRF, we are proud to continue to support the incredible work of the physicians and scientists at the University of Chicago Medicine Digestive Diseases Center in their unyielding efforts to provide outstanding care, train future leaders and perform innovative clinical laboratory research in order to treat, cure and prevent digestive diseases.

Bee Crain and Jennifer Sutton-Brieva. Image credit GIRF.
Bee Crain and Jennifer Sutton-Brieva. Image credit GIRF.

What makes the virtual medium unique and beneficial at this time is that it allows us to reach supporters that may have otherwise not attended our live Ball, whether it's that they live in another state or country or maybe have not heard of GIRF until now. University of Chicago Medicine and the Digestive Diseases Center are renowned the world over for their innovation in research and care and people across the world are affected by digestive diseases and have sought care at UChicago Medicine. We warmly welcome all to come learn about GIRF and the Digestive Diseases Center at University of Chicago Medicine as we look forward to reconnecting with old friends and supporters.

Brian Scruggs, Marc DeSouza, Marilyn Scruggs, Amber Staples and NFL free agent Justin Staples. Image credit GIRF.
Brian Scruggs, Marc DeSouza, Marilyn Scruggs, Amber Staples and NFL free agent Justin Staples. Image credit GIRF.
How does the paddle raise work?

Through our partners at OneCause and under the direction of professional auctioneer, Brett Baugh, guests will be able to participate in a live paddle raise via their smart phone, tablet, computer or smart TV. Guests may register at https://one.bidpal.net/girfvirtualball2020/welcome and will receive updates as well as a link to participate on July 25 at 6 p. m. CDT.

What does the continuation of the Ball mean to the GI  Research Foundation?

The world has changed, but our mission has not. We look forward to being back together at our 60th anniversary gala next year, but until then we still have purpose and passion for our mission this year.

Are there any special and unique aspects of the GI Research Foundation's Virtual Ball you would like to share with the public?

The GI Research Foundation Virtual Ball will feature a live, interactive show by The Second City.

Thank you to Jennie Weinstock for the additional background regarding this year's Gastro-Intestinal Research Foundation Virtual Ball! The GIRF Virtual Ball is coming up on July 25, so head to the Gastro-Intestinal Research Foundation website to register and learn more about GIRF!

** Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

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