Thursday, Jan. 24, was the National Down Syndrome Society’s (NDSS) 33rd Gala and Auction. This is our biggest fundraiser of the year. Adrian, Luke, David and I greeted the guests as they came in and guided them to the check-in table and where to check their coats.

Our first speakers were Charlotte and Amy Allyn who introduced the evening’s program and the after-party performance by The Mere Mortals. As the night went on, the first course of dinner was served, and David Desantis introduced us to the Gigi’s Playhouse Choir who provided entertainment for the evening.  From the front lobby to the main room, we continued to mingle with everyone that attended. Before Sara and I spoke, we had our live auction with auctioneer CK Swett.

Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) was the honoree for the night so the room was decorated in a baseball theme, it looked cool. Sara and I co-presented, introducing ourselves and our special honoree for the evening. We also spoke about how #LawSyndrome doesn’t hold us back, it’s the antiquated laws that do.

We then presented the award to Mark O’Neil who stepped up with some of his colleagues to accept this award. When the program continued, Neil Romano spoke about PBATS and being the National Council Disability chairman. He introduced the upcoming video that highlighted their partnership with NDSS. I was very honored that he mentioned me. When they stepped off of the stage, VOYA CEO and our PLAY sponsor Rod Martin took the stage. He talked about how NDSS and VOYA became partners. Following Rod Martin’s speech came our paddle raise with CK Swett. Some of our self-advocates stepped on stage to raise money for NDSS. They did such a great job!

When the Gala was done, we headed to the after party to hear and dance to The Mere Mortals. They have been playing at our Gala for many years and are fantastic. I’m a little biased because I am a groupie – they are from Syracuse like me.

The Gala was such a huge success. I say we hit it out of the ballpark!