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Published on Friday, May 10, 2019

Celebration of Life 2019: “Alpha-1 Derby: Betting on the cure”

Celebration of Life 2019: “Alpha-1 Derby: Betting on the cure”

On Monday, April 29th, the Alpha-1 Foundation welcomed friends, family, physicians, researchers, and industry partners to the 19th Annual Celebration of Life, the Foundation’s signature fundraising event in Miami Beach, Florida. The event is held annually to always remember to celebrate life and to raise funds for Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (Alpha-1) research and programs.

Photo (left to right): Jeanine D'Armiento, MD, PhD, chair of the board; Fred Walsh, treasurer; Mark Brantly, MD; Miriam O'Day, president & CEO.

Guests arrived in their “derby-best” attire with colorful hats, seersucker and linen suits, and of course, bow ties. Attendees got to recreate the classic Kentucky Derby in a tropical Miami setting filled with fun, friendship, collaboration, and of course, horse racing. Guests “Bet on a Cure” while making playful bets on one of the sponsored horses with names like “We Scream for Ice Cream” and “Onna Mission”. Congratulations to Robert Sandhaus, MD, PhD, for sponsoring the winning horse, “Dot’s Delight.” The event raised $350,000!

“It is so nice to gather with so many good friends of the Alpha-1 Foundation at this beautiful venue for our Annual Celebration of Life, The Alpha-1 Derby. I would like to thank all attendees for their commitment towards the Foundation and the Alpha-1 community. What a wonderful way to have fun in our hats and bow ties to support this great cause,” said Miriam O’Day, president and CEO of the Alpha-1 Foundation. Joined by Jeanine D’Armiento, chair of the board of directors of the Foundation, the program included updates and appreciation to the event presenting sponsors. 

Fred Walsh, board of directors treasurer and brother of the late John W. Walsh presented the 2019 Ron Fraser MVP Award for the Most Valuable Philanthropist to Mark Brantly, MD, for his outstanding philanthropic vision and tireless dedication to the Foundation’s mission.

“Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to the Alpha-1 Foundation for this recognition. It was many years ago that I met a very passionate individual named John Walsh that had a rare genetic condition, a vision, and an incredible drive to move things forward. My deepest gratitude to the Foundation and the Alpha-1 community for the opportunity to serve you. I look forward to the years ahead and to finding the cure for Alpha-1,” said Brantly, followed by a standing ovation.

"My wife, Lorraine, is the Alpha. Our entire family has come a long way, from disbelief to accepting, to 'let's go out and do all we can'. It is a learning process we all go through,"  said Joe Caporaso, an Alpha-1 volunteer who attended the event with his wife and Alpha, Lorraine.

"Being at this Celebration of Life event has shown me that the fight is on-going and people are willing to help find a cure in whatever way they can. Some through research, monetary donation, or giving of their time, but the bottom line for everyone is... To find a cure," he added.

"It is truly heartwarming and encouraging, as an Alpha, to see the wonderful support first hand. I was quite touched!" said Lorraine.

"I feel empowered the more I am part of the momentum for efforts to raise funds and awareness, as with this outstanding Derby event," she concluded.

Golf Classic Winners:

  • 1st place winners: Danny Alcantara, Alex DeLeon, Bobby Cohen, Robert DeLeon
  • Longest drive winners:  Dan Beltrani  and Lorna Nemcek 
  • Closest-to-hole winners: Alex DeLeon 

The Alpha-1 Foundation would like to thank our generous presenting sponsors: AlphaNet, CSL Behring, EVERSANA, Grifols, Takeda, Ruth and Gordon Cadwgan, PhD, and Lorna and Adrian Nemcek.

The Alpha-1 Foundation is committed to finding a cure for Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (Alpha-1) and to improving the lives of people affected by Alpha-1 worldwide.


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