Giving Back

Hugs for Brady Receives Gift of Research at Annual Winter Gala In Somerset

7b6f0db83973399169fa_IMG_6159.JPG
Somerset Patriots Chairman and Flemington Car and Truck Family of Dealerships CEO, Steven Kalefer, accepts the Hugs for Brady Foundation's Humanitarian of the Year award. Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
9aeb41440ddf5b186845_IMG_6068.JPG
Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
e4afd37b7f6859678eef_IMG_6071.JPG
Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
4ca803025bd5522958b1_IMG_6074.JPG
Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
c5ffa49f0722be744949_IMG_6075.JPG
Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
60f869d22aa57f353dd2_IMG_6076.JPG
Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
837f4a9bcd5491f75582_IMG_6078.JPG
Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
712a8258339513f534ad_IMG_6081.JPG
Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
ee9a48ee1a6731e63d0f_IMG_6082.JPG
Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
7ea69d96c884a6aa4a52_IMG_6091.JPG
Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
681af562a5e5b098d9e5_IMG_6085.JPG
Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
3c93b5ad3c4b177b2152_IMG_6109.JPG
Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
520836151d2756136d9d_IMG_6124.JPG
Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
4d846d502e4225daf151_IMG_6128.JPG
Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
fd3659e6f695380489d8_IMG_6129.JPG
Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
12629d6ec55188df27e1_IMG_6133.JPG
Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
77c50e075cbbd707f033_IMG_6136.JPG
Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
7b7c7d17d826fa28b847_IMG_6139.JPG
Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
e9bfd07e77879a4a2a9f_IMG_6144.JPG
Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
59db4a544938433aa36a_IMG_6163.JPG
Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
e678a921f085dda93105_IMG_6167.JPG
Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
d07d982dc579695d608c_IMG_6168.JPG
Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
3d771266ef60eb2ca2a6_IMG_6171.JPG
Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
5540df9134d57745c2fb_IMG_6172.JPG
Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
4f7b68994fb0a1c6ffbc_IMG_6175.JPG
Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
2d2e4b0e5db22cf17a8e_IMG_6178.JPG
Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
93d03bf7ddb44c20ecfd_IMG_6180.JPG
Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
7b6f0db83973399169fa_IMG_6159.JPG

SOMERSET, NJ – The Hugs for Brady Foundation may have thrown quite the party at The Palace at Somerset Park Saturday night, but the South Brunswick-based pediatric cancer charity wound up receiving an equally impressive gift at its seventh annual Winter Gala.

Chairman of the Somerset Patriots and owner of the Flemington Car and Truck Country Family of Dealerships, Steven Kalafer, made a substantial contribution during the reverse auction portion of the evening, in which Robert Milligan, Jr. solicited pledges, in varying amounts, from those in attendance.

The sizable gift, which Kalafer, who later accepted the charity's award as Humanitarian of the Year, asked not to publish, will allow the foundation to continue to fund more research for cures for childhood cancers.

Sign Up for E-News

“Why?” Kalafer said, when asked why he felt compelled to make such a generous donation. “Because I started with nothing and I won't die broke,” he said with a laugh.

Referencing a social responsibility, Kalafer said that the foundation deserves the support to continue doing its meaningful work.

“What they do is so important, and if the people that have the ability and the opportunity to help don't, then where are we?” he said. “We have to go forward together, we all have to do what we can.”

Local business owner Donna DePinto also made a donation during the reverse auction, pledging $1,000 to support the foundation's cause.

DePinto is the owner of D'Bella Salon in the Kendall Park section of South Brunswick, and is also this year's Mrs. Middlesex County. She will compete in May for this year's Mrs. New Jersey crown.

Teaming up for the second year in a row, morning radio host on 1450 WCTC AM radio, Bert Baron, served as the evening's Master of Ceremonies, along with 18-year-old Ewing's Sarcoma survivor Lilly Daneman.

In addition to the money raised through pledging, a silent auction, where attendees bid on items via a smart phone app, ran through much of the night and added to the total amount raised.

People pulled each other out on the dance floor, as bright and brassy music from the 10-piece Craig Scott Orchestra filled the air and guests were invited outside to view a glittering fireworks display. Fleece HFB blankets were distributed, as the crowd made its way outside and clustered around several warming stations, with more than one gentleman offering a jacket to a bare-shouldered lady.

Introduced by her husband Michael as “Brady's mom,” HFB co-founder Sherrie Wells recalled how surreal Brady's leukemia diagnosis was.

“Do you remember when your life changed forever?” Wells asked the silent room. “Do you remember when you were told that a loved one – your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, your grandparent, a friend, a spouse, or maybe, more dreadfully, yourself or a beautiful, innocent child or grandchild was diagnosed with cancer? Do you remember telling yourself to breathe?”

The theme for this year's gala was “The Many Faces of Hugs for Brady,” and Wells echoed that sentiment when she told the crowd in a video presentation that HFB is not Brady's grandparents or even her husband or herself.

“It's you, and the over 500 active volunteers who give of yourselves so generously and selflessly that enabled Hugs for Brady to grow,” she said.

While being a night of fine dining, dancing and fun, Wells said that it was also a time to remember those who have lost their battles and celebrate those who have conquered their diseases.

“Let's share this moment, and let's share a hug,” she said, as everyone in attendance hugged someone close to them.

This year's Ellen Gambatese Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to the Domotor Family, which includes Tracey Domotor, Rich Domotor, Richie Domotor and Heather McClain. The family has been actively involved with HFB from the beginning, and each member has given of themselves in countless ways, according to the foundation.

Dr. Richard Drachtman accepted the Randy Siegel M.D. Medical Humanitarian of the Year Award on behalf of the pediatric hematology/oncology programs at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

The Hugs for Brady Humanitarian of the Year Award was presented to the Somerset Patriots and Somerset Patriots Chairman Steven Kalafer this year, with the Patriots' mascot Sparkee adding a little levity to Kalafer's remarks.

The Palace at Somerset Park was an Angel sponsor of this year's event and both the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital were Gold sponsors. University Radiology was a Silver sponsor.

New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Group was the Childhood Wonder sponsor, Simplicity Title was the Butterfly sponsor and the Flemington Car and Truck Country Family of Dealerships was the Legacy of Hope sponsor.

Cocktail hour was co-sponsored by Diamond Nation, Buffalo Wild Wings, HealthQuest and Wiss. The beverage sponsor was ProCure Proton Therapy Center and dessert was sponsored by Kendall Park and Bound Brook Allstate insurance agent David Basile and Investors Bank.

Valet service was sponsored by Innovative Manufacturing, Inc. and the coat check was sponsored by Jersey Physical Therapy.

Friends of the foundation include Princeton Insurance; Red Letter Affairs; Susan Stephens, LCSW; Jeff Schnier and Brady's Aunt Kellie, Aunt Marie and Grandma and Grandpa.

The Palace at Somerset Park is located at 333 Davidson Avenue.

Did you like this story?

Give us your feedback at ckim@tapinto.net or nwells@tapinto.net and click here to support local news.

If you did like it, please share with your friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter, and don't forget to "Like" our Facebook Page!

Download the TAPinto App!   Click here for Android - Click here for iOS .

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Edison

Upcoming Events

Wed, June 27, 12:15 PM

Law Office of Kenneth Vercammen, Edison

Wills and Estate Planning- Free Seminar

Education

Carousel_image_855652b94dad7cfd1c72_mini_magick20180618-30381-1j0t0jb

Tue, July 17, 6:00 PM

Westfield Presbyterian Church, Westfield

Youth Mental Health First Aid

Education Health & Wellness

Edison Public Library Donation Drive for Edison Animal Shelter

June 5, 2018

The Edison Township Free Public Library is partnering with the Edison Animal Shelter to do a donation drive for the Edison Animal Shelter. There is a checklist of all items that are being accepted at the animal shelter. These checklists can be found above and the donation bins will be available at all three branches. We will be collecting items until the end of June. For more ...

New Brunswick Civic League Leader Still Looking for New Challenges After 48 Years at Helm

June 16, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - After 48 years of leading the charge for change in New Brunswick, Dr. C. Roy Epps can still be found quietly working on weekends in The Civic League of Greater New Brunswick offices.

The tireless commitment of the 77-year-old President and CEO of this non-profit has helped provide residents access to a variety of health, housing and education services over the ...

Applications to Rutgers Jump Nearly 10 Percent; Increase from Out-of-State Students

June 15, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Applications to Rutgers University this year increased 9.4 percent over last year, university President Robert Barchi told the Board of Governors at a meeting this week.

The university received nearly 45,000 applications this year, Barchi said.

That included a 20 percent increase in the number of students from out-side New Jersey applying to Rutgers, the university ...

Kessler Foundation Seeks Volunteers with Spinal Cord Injury for New Study!

June 15, 2018

Kessler Foundation is a research center in West Orange, NJ that specializes in disability research. We are currently seeking individuals with spinal cord injury to participate in a new research study:

Dr. John O'Neill, principal investigator in Spinal Cord Injury research seeks volunteers for a spinal cord injury study. The purpose of this study is to identify ways of enhancing the ...

Small Business Ownership vs. Entrepreneurship

Written by: Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter and author of The Green Lane, a syndicated column, Published on 6/18/2018

Tags: Business, Community, Crowdfunding, Economy, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Small Business

Source: So, which are you – a Small Business Owner or an Entrepreneur? We compare the similarities and differences between the two, so you can ...