On this St. Patrick’s Day, we are lucky and grateful for the outstanding commitment of the Alpha-1 community. Over 235 people joined together on Saturday, March 11th for the 14th Annual Celtic Connection in Boston, Massachusetts. This outstanding Building Friends for a Cure (BFC) community fundraiser honoring Irish heritage raised over $135,000 to support research and related programs to help fund a cure for Alpha-1.
Celtic Connection has become the largest BFC event through the outstanding support of sponsors and the dedication and motivation of the longstanding committee including Julie Berry, Dan Coffin, Kathi Coffin, Bob Healy, Peggy Iverson, Siobhan Lestina, Richard Lovrich, Karen Pittsley, Chase Walsh, Fred Walsh, Kailey Walsh, Ginger Watkins, and Rick White. Thank you for your hard work and commitment leading up to the event and in executing a successful fundraising event. Events, like Celtic Connection, enable members of the Alpha-1 community to get involved and be empowered to make a difference. Each year the event has grown larger, and it is truly because of the perseverance of the committee.
Thank you to the generous sponsors that made the evening possible: AlphaNet, CSL Behring, Grifols, Takeda, Ascella Health, Beam Therapeutics, Brigham and Women’s Hospital Lung Center, Ruth & Gordon E. Cadwgan, CReM of Boston University and Boston Medical Center, Ergonomics Ergonomics Group Inc (EGI), Eversana, Joan & Oliver Garry, Michael Winik, Petrie’s Flower Shoppe, Presidio, The Reidy Family, Patty Tew, Target Tack LLC, University of Massachusetts, Vertex and WEI.
The evening kicked off with a silent auction filled with items including a custom-built Alpha-1/Celtic themed acoustic guitar made by Alpha, Dan Coffin, and friends, autographed sports memorabilia, vacation stays, and lots of beautiful Irish pieces. Everything in the auction sold thanks to the bidders online and at the event.
Guests were entertained by the talented youth dancers from the local Irish dance studio, Harney’s Academy of Irish Dance located in Walpole, Massachusetts. The performers wowed the guests with their fancy footwork, flawless choreography, and beautiful costumes. Dancers ranged in age from five years old to high school seniors. It has been a privilege to see them master their techniques in Irish Dance over the years. Live Irish music was enjoyed by all from “Hogan’s Goat” providing a festive atmosphere and a traditional Irish dinner corned beef and cabbage made it a quintessential St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
The highlight of the evening was the 2023 Shillelagh award was presented to Dr. James K. Stoller for his outstanding commitment to the Alpha-1 community. The Shillelagh is a traditional Celtic weapon associated with Ireland, and the award symbolizes the battle that Alpha-1 doctors, researchers, and leadership wage against Alpha-1. Dr. Stoller is a prolific author of more than 335 publications, of which nearly 100 of them are related to Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. He Is a principal organizer of the NHLBI Alpha-1 antitrypsin registry study and the Data Coordinating Center for the 7-year study. Dr. Stoller helped start the Alpha-1 Foundation Patient Registry, has been the Alpha-1 Foundation Chair of Medical and scientific Advisory Committee and a long-time member of the Alpha-1 Foundation Board of Directors. He is the Chair f the Education Institute at the Cleveland Clinic and has just launched new Alpha-1 Continuing Medical Education (CME) series for healthcare professionals. He has been involved in the Foundation since its inception and the Foundation has benefited immensely from Dr. Stoller’s organizational skills and wisdom.
Dr. Stoller was humbled and deeply honored to be recognized among the past recipients of this highly prestigious award for their shared dedication and commitment to Alphas worldwide. Dr. Stoller recognized the three terms that came to mind while accepting the award on Saturday evening: Commitment, Optimism and Talent. The deep commitment of this community is both personal and professional and there has never been a better time for the prospect for dramatic improvements for therapeutic options for Alphas and it is because of the talented community of clinicians, scientists, patients, industry and investigators that are all working together towards a cure. Dr. Stoller posed for a picture with past recipients in attendance proudly holding up the Shillelagh including Dr. Terrence R. Flotte, Dr. Edwin K. “Ed” Silverman, Dr. Jeanine M. D’Armiento, Dr. Noel G. “Gerry” McElvaney, Dr. Andrew Wilson, Dr. Darrell N. Kotton and Fred Walsh.
To make a donation in honor of Dr. Stoller, past recipients of the Shillelagh award or the event committee, please click here: https://www.alpha1.org/how-to-help/help-raise-funds/donate/