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Posted by on Mar 25, 2015

“Latin Nights” Bear Tie Ball Raises $760,000+ for Cancer Foundation

“Latin Nights” Bear Tie Ball Raises $760,000+ for Cancer Foundation

Kathleen Casey lost her eight-year-old son, Barrett “Bear” Krupa, in January of 1993. The child had spent over half his life engaged in a long fight against Wilms’ tumor, a form of kidney cancer. Before his passing, Bear and his mother agreed to continue the fight against this disease by creating the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, which works toward “eliminating pediatric cancer and to providing hope and support to those who are touched by it.”

Earlier this month, Bear Necessities hosted the 22nd annual Bear Tie Ball at Union Station. The event was chaired by Nina Mariano and Paul Iacono who said, “We feel so honored to have been entrusted to co-chair a gala that benefits a cause that is so very near and dear to both our hearts.  Please help us help kids rediscover their childhood while we discover a cure for pediatric cancer.”

A lively “Latin Nights” theme colored the night, and the Great Hall was cast in beautiful pink, purple, and gold lighting and filled with the sounds of the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance’s Cuatro Ensemble while guests sipped on cocktails, enjoyed light hors d’oeuvres, and bid on silent auction items and patient artwork. Chicago’s Island Touch Dancers then performed a bachata routine as dinner began.

The night was an effective balance of gravity and humor. Emily Crabtree, an honorary Bear Hug Ambassador who was first diagnosed with bone cancer at 19, told the story of her first diagnosis, successful treatment, and the subsequent series of relapses ten years later. “I couldn’t believe that no new drug has been discovered in the last decade…The work of Bear Necessities is so important because they are working to find a cure for pediatric cancer.” While Emily’s painful story brought a face to the cancer Bear Necessities is striving to eliminate, Anthony “Spice” Adams brought laughter and hope back into the mission. Adams was a great choice for emcee, a retired Chicago Bear himself, and Emmy-nominated host of the Inside the Bears, a weekly series that brings fans closer to their favorite team.

The event’s live auction reeled in over $114,000, bringing the night’s total to over $760,000 raised for the foundation. Items included a trip to Abu Dhabi with airfare provided by Qatar Airways which went for $19,000, and three dinners from Chef Tony Priolo, owner of Piccolo Sogno, to three winning bidders for a combined total of $23,000. Sophie, a fluffy, curly, black mini Australian Labradoodle, brought in $5,000. The $10,000 cash prize for the Cha-Cha-Ching raffle and a drawing for two Qatar Airways business class tickets brought in over $31,000. Guests also had the opportunity to donate through an interactive online donations drive.

Kathleen Casey commented, “I am overwhelmed and humbled by the generosity and support that was felt throughout the evening. Our guests truly embraced our cause and for that reason we had our most successful event in the history of Bear Necessities. Our work is far from done, but we feel blessed to have an even broader support system to continue the fight for these precious children.”

Lead photo features William Holdmen and Melissa Shea on the dance floor


Photography by Jon Recana and Mila Samokhina.

To view more photos please click here.

Leigh Johnson

Leigh Johnson

Leigh joined the team at I On The Scene after graduating with degrees in economics and political science from the University of Tennessee. She is currently writing a collection of humorous essays and preparing for the launch of Inkblot Design Studio, which will feature the photography and mixed media works of local artists as well as her own. Her hobbies include dancing Brazilian Zouk and traveling with friends.​

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