A Rousing Success at An Evening for Hope

On Saturday, April 29, The Children’s Inn at NIH hosted An Evening for Hope gala at The Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner, Virginia. The gala raised $2 million for The Inn and its families.

The star of the show on Saturday was Travis, a tenth-grader from Salt Lake City whose battle with Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) has brought him to The Inn several times since his first visit back in 2014. Accompanied by his parents, Kelly and Scott, Travis recounted his journey for an audience of over 450 attendees. Exactly two years earlier, Travis underwent a hip disarticulation – amputating his entire left leg. His story and the momentous anniversary he and his family celebrate with their motto of “Do More, Not Less” was both moving and inspiring for the audience, giving him and his family a rapturous standing ovation.

Tony Perkins, current anchor of NBC’s News 4 Today and longtime Washington D.C. media figure, returned to emcee the event for a third time. Dr. Tara Schwetz, the Acting Principal Deputy Director of the National Institutes of Health, spoke about the importance of The Inn for the overall mission of the NIH and the ties that bind The Inn to the groundbreaking medical discoveries being made at the NIH every day.

Jennie Lucca, the CEO of The Children’s Inn, took the stage to thank those in attendance and reiterate The Inn’s lasting partnership with the NIH. “At The Children’s Inn, we work hard to make sure families can focus on their children while we focus on their comfort,” she said. “This would not be possible without supporters like you. The Children’s Inn will be able to do more for our families thanks to our partnerships with the wider NIH community and, of course, the generosity of each of you here tonight, so thank you!”

Following Travis’ stirring speech, auctioneer Billy Harris hosted a live auction and fund-the-mission fundraiser which engaged the crowd and rewarded the highest bidders with items such as one-of-a-kind artwork created by Inn families and an in-home dinner with celebrity chefs.

Attendees also heard from Liz Porter, the president of Leidos Health Group, and Doug Kelly, the Vice President for Federal Healthcare Practice Lead at NTT Data, the two presenting sponsors for the evening. Also recognized were Diana Ceban, Vice President Health Account for Civilicna Markets SAIC; Prachee Devadas, President & CEO of Synergy Enterprises; Beth Meagher, Vice Chair – Federal Health Sector Leader at Deloitte; Kamal Narang, Vice President & General Manager Federal Health Sector GDIT; Jill Olmstead, Managing Director Accenture Federal Services; and Susan Penfield, Chief Technology Officer for Booz Allen Hamilton.

Penfield, who also serves as the Chair of The Inn’s Board of Directors, spoke about the power of community, the importance of volunteers at The Inn, and the vision for the future which includes a strong partnership with scientists and researchers at the NIH. Todd Pantezzi, Inn trustee and Chief Strategy Officer, CVP, once again served as event chair and led the organizing committee.

Save the date for next year’s An Evening for Hope, which will return to The Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner on April 27, 2024. Visit www.childrensinn.org to learn more about how you can support The Inn.