By Louise Cohen
A long-time supporter and volunteer, Louise sits on Gift of Life's Advisory Board. In a personal letter, she shares her unique perspective on the recent gala. Reprinted with permission.
As Howard Jonas put it, "This is the best dinner I have ever attended!" Don't underestimate the significance of Howard's words – he attends dozens of fundraising dinners every year!
My own excitement started a few weeks earlier, when I telephoned people who had not yet returned their RSVP cards. Usually there is some understandable hesitation as people make decisions about substantial charitable contributions. Not this time!
Everybody who had come to last year's dinner was thrilled to hear that Warren Spector's sister, Ruthie, had a successful transplant. You could practically hear the goose bumps rising when I reminded them that she would meet her donor at this year's gala! Virtually everyone wanted to share the moment in person, place personal greetings in the Commemorative Journal, and participate by sending a donation in honor of her recovery.
The reality was even better than the anticipation. There were so many moments I will never forget. At last year's gala, Ruthie vowed that she would meet her donor this year, and she was true to her word! It was inspirational when Ruthie shared her experience and reminded everybody that whenever they feel hopelessness and despair to think of her! I have already remembered her words when I needed a lift. As we get older and accumulate life experiences, leukemia is only one of the terrible illnesses that can plague a human body, so Ruthie's words were a real gift to all of us.