Monday, November 25, 2013

Local Down Syndrome group raises $200k for research

‘Funding Futures’ Benefitting: Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation Location: Goose Island Brewery, Chicago Date: Oct. 26 Attended: 500+ Raised: $200,000 Websites:,
When her son was around three, Western Springs resident Vicki Van Alphen and her husband Dave learned about the Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation, and she realized, “This is important. They are funding research to go beyond traditional therapies. There’s so much that could be possible for our kids that could affect them in their lifetime.”
That connection led Van Alphen to meet many other families in Western Springs with children with Down syndrome, and they all felt the need to help raise funds to support the work of DSRTF. Thus was born Funding Futures for People with Down syndrome. “It was the spark to help us find each other,” says Van Alphen.
Funding Futures held their second annual fundraising event on Saturday, Oct. 26 at Goose Island Brewery in Chicago.
According to Van Alphen, 500 tickets were sold prior to the event, and they expected to let even more in at the door. Final count of attendees was well over 500 throughout the evening. Goose Island was packed.
The first year, Funding Futures held their event in the smaller back room of Goose Island, but the event turned out to be so successful and popular, that they used the entire space for their second annual event.
Emcee Steve Cortes, analyst for CNBC, welcomed supporters to the event and introduced Mike Sands, Goose Island founder and chief financial officer, who presented Funding Futures and DSRTF with a check for $5000. Margie Doyle, who heads the Funding Futures committee, was introduced and gave a moving and tearful speech about finding people who cared to continue the search for new therapies and treatments for Down syndrome.
One man who cared is Dr. Roger Reeves, a leading cognition researcher at Johns Hopkins University, who was presented with an award from Funding Futures by Doyle for his groundbreaking work. “Therapies being developed now will bring more people with Down Syndrome into the mainstream,” says Dr. Reeves.
The event featured a silent auction chock-full of items donated by individuals and businesses, including suites to Bears games, original artwork, photography sessions, Bulls, Blackhawks and White Sox tickets, private parties at restaurants both in the suburbs and downtown Chicago, a giant bottle of 1999 Dom Perignon champagne, holiday planters from Pomegranate of Western Springs, golf outings at both LaGrange and Beverly Country Clubs, jewelry, sports memorabilia, weekend getaways, and an entire team’s worth of signed Blackhawk’s jerseys.
Following the presentation of the award to Dr. Reeves, a paddle raise was held, asking those in the audience to purely give to the effort to raise funds to support research into Down syndrome.
All told, the event brought in over $200,000 towards working to make the lives of those with Down syndrome, and the lives of those who love them, better and more fulfilling.

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