SUMMIT, NJ - The Brooke Healey Foundation hosted its 3rd annual Casino Night Fundraiser this past Saturday night at the Grand Summit Hotel to a packed room. More than 300 guests were there to play the tables, listen to Elefante’s Band and most importantly, to raise money for important cause. The Brooke Healey Foundation was created by Steve and Stefani Healey to raise funds for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a fatal and inoperable brain tumor that their daughter, Brooke Healey, fought for eight months before passing away in September of 2013.
There was a silent auction and 50 raffle baskets, including Broadway tickets, hotel stays, dinners out, golf foursomes, sports tickets and summer camps. Casino Night’s generous sponsors include the Jules Podell Foundation, Elefante Music, Team Campbell Foundation, Dun & Bradstreet and Cherish the Moment Invitations among many others.
Steve and Stefani Healey, Brooke’s parents, were touched by the crowd of supporters, “This is our best turnout in three years,” Healey said as he looked over the crowd listening to Al Elefante’s Band. They began planning the event in January with the raffle and auction items donated by local businesses and community members. Stefani Healey spoke about her life and her daughter, “We’re doing well, I miss Brooke every minute of every day, but somehow I feel happy, by the grace of god.” She credits her work with their foundation, “Raising money for the cause has helped me get through.”
Steve Healey spoke about the need for raising funds for research through fundraisers like Casino Night. “It’s bittersweet because it brings back memories of losing our daughter, but we have a goal that no other families go through what we went through," he said. "If we can prevent some future family down the road it’s worth it.” He also touched on the difficulty getting research funds, “People need to realize that the money toward research isn’t there. Less than four percent of all cancer research goes to pediatric cancer, and we’re all fighting over that four percent,” said Healey. “There’s such a need for research money and events like this can really make a difference,” he added.
Since its introduction, the foundation has helped provide funds for over a dozen children with DIPG -- they help with mortgage payments, medical equipment as well as providing scholarships to New Providence and Madison High School students who are active in civic services. The Brooke Healey Foundation donates at least $25,000 annually towards the DIPG Collaborative.
Entertainment for the evening came from Elefante Music and School for the Performing Arts.