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 Kalafer, 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

South Brunswick-Cranbury

South Brunswick and Cranbury Police Blotter

August 9, 2017

Sponsored by Reilly's Collision Center in Monmouth Junction. Click here and scroll down for the latest updates and alerts from South Brunswick and Cranbury Police.

See the most recent messages from South Brunswick Twp Police Department, powered by Nixle.

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 ...

Couple Netted $8M from Fake Uggs, Designer Bags, Prosecutor Says

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - A Plainsboro couple could face charges of of selling counterfeit designer shoes and handbags, netting $8 million and sending $3 million to people in China, authorities said today.

Yan Shi, 36, and her husband, Weiping Liu, 40, were arrested Thursday and charged with first-degree money laundering and second-degree conspiracy to violate the New Jersey Trademark ...

Brookside Pool Club Celebrating 65th Anniversary

MILLTOWN, NJ - The calendar may not officially say summer, but the water is certainly fine at the borough's Brookside Swim Club. Brookside is marking its 65th anniversary this year and the festivities will make a big splash of fun as they do every June, July and August.

Weather dampened the swim club's grand opening weekend. Brookside opens up to its members young and young at heart ...

Applications to Rutgers Jumps 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 ...

Watson Coleman Introduces Resolution Acknowledging the Failures of the War on Drugs

June 15, 2018

As the House prepares to vote on more than 20 bills aimed at fighting the opioid epidemic over the next two weeks, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) announced a resolution that seeks parity in the treatment of drug use and addiction and a formal apology for the War on Drugs. H.Res. 933 expresses the sense of Congress that the War on Drugs failed, and calls out the disparate treatment of ...

MCRO Chairwoman Panos Celebrates Re-Election, Promises Party Unity to Defeat Menendez

FORDS, NJ-  Middlesex County Republican Organization (MCRO) Chairwoman Lucille Panos of Old Bridge was re-elected to a second two-year term as that organization's chairwoman.  Also re-elected were Edison chairwoman Sylvia Engel as vice-chair, and South Brunswick chairwoman Antonia Kulberda as secretary.  Rounding out the victors was Harold Kane of Monroe, ...

Franklin Township: Ladies Days Every Tuesday at KPS Garage

Every Tuesday throughout the ​summer, women will receive 10% off all repairs and service at KPS Princeton Garage located at 3860 Route 27 in South Brunswick.

Simply mention this promotion at time of drop-off. 

KPS Princeton Garage can be reached at 732-297-9515 or at kpsprincetonauto@aol.com

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 ...