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ArlingtonGala boosts efforts to support youth treated at NIH

Gala boosts efforts to support youth treated at NIH

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The Children’s Inn at NIH raised a new record – $1,083,988 – in donations at the 2022 An Evening for Hope Gala, after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

Nearly 400 senior leaders from industry and federal health and civilian agencies came together at the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner on April 30.

Proceeds will support The Inn’s mission to provide free lodging, meals and a wide range of recreational and therapeutic supports to seriously ill children and young adults participating in clinical research studies at the National Institutes of Health.

“While these past two years have been challenging for all of us, they have been particularly difficult for the children and the families who need our support,” said Todd Pantezzi, chief strategy officer at CVP Corp. and chair of the 2022 gala.

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“The Children’s Inn has been like a beacon in a storm, making it possible for seriously ill children and their families to participate in groundbreaking clinical research studies at the NIH,” Pantezzi said.

Speakers included NIH acting director Laurence Tabak and WRC-TV anchor Shawn Yancy. Inn resident Caesar, son of Lucas and Aline Sant, shared his medical journey with sickle-cell anemia, a painful red-blood-cell disorder that affects hemoglobin levels and the protein that carries oxygen throughout the body.

Trying to find a cure for their son, the Sants enrolled Caesar in NIH’s clinical-research study led by Dr. John Tisdale.

During the gala, Dr. Tisdale explained the severity of sickle-cell disease and the important partnership between the Inn and NIH. Caesar, a trained classical violinist since the age of 2, suffered three strokes which left him unable to walk or, much worse to him, play the violin. After a tough recovery from a lifesaving bone-marrow transplant from Caesar’s younger sister, Lucas Sant shared, “The Children’s Inn is a heavenly place.

Caesar’s medical journey would be impossible without The Inn’s well-thought-out accommodations, support and care.”

“I want to thank our supporters for giving generously and from your hearts so that hundreds of children, teens and young adults with rare and life-threatening diseases can stay free of charge at The Children’s Inn at NIH while pursuing ground-breaking treatments only available as part of NIH clinical-research studies,” said Jennie Lucca, CEO of The Children’s Inn at NIH. “After a trying two years, it’s a wonderful comeback for the gala, and we’re excited for the Inn of the future.”

The Children’s Inn at NIH has served more than 14,500 children, teens and young adults, and their families, from all 50 states and 105 countries since its opening in 1990. Located on the campus of the National Institutes of Health, across from the world’s largest hospital dedicated entirely to clinical research, The Inn’s children, teens and young adults have participated in 522 clinical-research studies, assisting advances in treating cancer, bone and growth disorders, mental illness, genetic conditions and other serious health issues.

The 2023 gala is slated for April 29, also at the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner.

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