The Dempster Foundation supports families of children diagnosed with 22q deletion, a disorder caused by a micro-deletion of the 22nd chromosome. Present in one out of every 4,000 live births, symptoms range from mild to life-threatening. 22q deletion often goes undiagnosed; but, it is almost as common as Down Syndrome, a widely recognized chromosomal disorder. The Dempster’s daughter, Riley, was born with the disorder in 2009.
“We were once again overwhelmed with the tremendous support from my teammates, sponsors, fans and celebrity guests who came together to raise money to benefit the Foundation and strike out 22q,” said Ryan Dempster, Chicago Cubs starting pitcher. “Everyone supporting this event has made a profound difference by helping to create a better today and a brighter tomorrow for families like us dealing with 22q.”
About 600 celebrities and guests attended the Casino Night party and auction, held at Chicago’s Palmer House on Wednesday, May 9. Chicago Cubs players such as Kerry Wood, Alfonso Soriano, Matt Garza and front office executives including
Theo Epstein, Coach Dale Sveum and more served as Casino dealers throughout the evening. Co-host of ABC 7's Windy City LIVE, Ryan Chiaverini served as emcee, along with Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart, hosts of the Eric & Kathy Show on WTMX-FM The MIX. NBC 5’s Stefan Holt and Daniella Guzman also served as celebrity hosts. Of the hundreds of items available through a live and silent auction, a 2012 World Series trip sold for $40,000 and an authentic Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig autographed baseball sold for $21,000. Proceeds from the baseball will benefit the new Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
American Idol runner-up and singer/songwriter Crystal Bowersox, Chicago favorite John Vincent, the Chicago Mustangs Dance Team and Miss. Illinois Scholarship Foundation provided entertainment. The event also featured food stations by Mercat a la Planxa and Wildfire, custom cupcakes by Cupcakes for Courage and beverages from William Grant and Sons and Budweiser.
“The 22q disorder is tough on families and it’s important for them to know they have resources like the Dempster Foundation available,” said Dempster. “Events like this do more than raise money, they raise awareness. That awareness can be priceless for families impacted by this disorder.”
To date, the Foundation’s annual Casino Night has raised a record $885,000 in support of 22q and other Chicagoland charities.
About The Dempster Foundation
The Dempster Foundation provides financial support to charities in the Chicagoland area and to families of children diagnosed with a 22q11.2 deletion. On the 22q side, the Foundation empowers organizations to help children with this disorder overcome difficult situations through: providing funding to continue research for early detection of this disorder in children; supporting programs about 22q that provide education, physical therapy and activity to promote long-term well being; creating initiatives that build and instill confidence in these children; and developing a 22q network for families affected by this disorder to share stories and help navigate healthcare options and treatment.
For more information about the Foundation, please visit the website at www.dempsterfoundation.org.