The Children’s Medical Research Foundation and The G-Mac Foundation hosted the eighth Annual Best of Ireland Dinner Gala on Thursday evening, Jan 31, 2019 in New York City. A total of $750,000 was pledged on the night for the support of international pediatric research projects across the areas of oncology, cardiology and immunology. The Gala is the largest of the several events held globally by the Foundations and takes place in partnership with The Ireland Funds. Over the course of the dinner’s 8 year history, it has now raised over $5m.
Honorees on the evening were Doug Sieg, Managing Partner at Lord Abbett, award-winning Irish actress Victoria Smurfit, and three-time 1,500m indoor world champion Marcus O’Sullivan of Villanova University.
300 guests from the spheres of business, the arts and politics attended the Gala which was chaired by Alan T. Ennis, former President and CEO of Glansaol.
“The Best of Ireland is a way for us to bring attention to the vital funding needed to support the research to treat life-threatening conditions” Ennis said. He continued: “By bringing together the best from the worlds of business, politics and sports on both sides of the Atlantic, the Gala is providing funding for some of the very best Irish doctors who eventually find themselves based at several leading US pediatric hospitals. The support of our many American-based donors is critical to this mission and we are looking forward to another wonderful and entertaining evening.”
Father-of-three and Founding Patron Graeme McDowell said, “There’s nothing more stressful for a parent than the worry of having a sick child. Every time I have visited the children in Crumlin I’m always struck by the joy on their faces. They’re incredibly resilient but also incredibly vulnerable, so seeing them receive the best possible care in state-of-the-art facilities is reassuring. The dinner has raised over $5m since we began and I’m delighted that Doug, Victoria and Marcus joined us at the New York Athletic Club in this, our eighth year.”
Speaking at the event honoree Victoria Smurfit said: “The bad guy in this scenario is the disease that affects your child. We all want to beat the bad guy and when you have people like Dr. Orla Franklin doing work that mimimizes the effects surgeries can have on children, it is good thing and an area we must continue to fund.”
CMRF aims to save and improve sick children’s lives supporting extraordinary care and vital research at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin, and the National Children’s Research Centre based at Crumlin. 1 in 100 children are born with a structural heart defect, 1 in 19 people in Ireland carry the Cystic Fibrosis gene and 120,000 children will visit Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin in a typical year.