Saturday, May 11, 2013

JDRF Gala - like a Wizard of Oz themed prom!

Last year, my parents were told that they were going to be honored as "Cincinnatians of the Year" at the annual JDRF fundraising gala.  It was an exciting announcement, so all the kids (Anderw included... more on that) made an effort to come to the event.

Since it is a black tie event, that meant that everyone needed to find a dress.  After many months of planning, many hours of shopping for dresses, shoes, and jewelry for the event, and hours of hair, nails, makeup, etc., everyone was ready!  Camie had a babysitter to watch Adele, so she got to take pictures, prom style!

We got pictures in all different combinations, of course.
The Girls

The Guys

Nana and her girls

Nana and her boys

The guests of honor

In front of the mantle


and one for Instagram, of course.

Once we got to the event, it was nothing like we've ever been to.  The event was at the Cincinnati Convention Center.  When we went up, we were greeted by the lion

and the scarecrow, and the tin man and the 10-foot tall ruby red slippers as well as golden bricks everywhere.

The first part was a silent auction and social mingling.  We talked with people from my parents' ward and work as we perused the silent auction items, BidPal in hand, thinking through bidding strategies.  We additionally got to snack on different h'orderves, all labeled with the number of carbs they had.  I quickly lost count of the number of carbs I ate.

We were invited into the main ballroom which was decorated like the Emerald City with poppy fields flowing out to the sides.  Each of the tables was decorated with a red ruby table cloth and different oz-themed decor.

Even dessert was Wizard of Oz themed - a melting Wicked Witch mousse and flourless cake!  

During dinner, we watched as the time counted down on our silent auctions and everyone discussed strategies of what to bid on and how much to bid so they could win.  We ended up winning both auctions we were interested in, winning  an American Doll that we plan on giving to Claire and a purse for Dani (Coach!).

They did a live auction, including a puppy, various vacations (including the Super Bowl), and other amazing experiences.  After the silent auction, it was time for Fund-A-Cure, the portion where people pledge certain amounts.  Before that started, we saw a video of Andrew speaking (he was filmed by a crew in Houston), talking about his diabetes and talking about the importance of finding a cure for it.  It was pretty emotional to everyone at the Jensen table and to many others who were there.

 My parents pledged the largest contribution (part of being the Cincinnatians of the Year, I guess).  After that, they asked for $25,000, at which point Taylor and I went out with cardboard cutout Andrew and held out our pledge card (the $25,000 ended up on Dani and my receipt that night - it wasn't charged to our credit card, fortunately!), which represented the contribution from so many friends and family from our entire family. People got a pretty good kick out of seeing cardboard cutout Andrew up in the front, and it was special to represent Andrew and those that contributed that weren't with us.

Camie and Amber later introduced us as we asked for the final contribution as we collected peoples' bid cards.  It was pretty fundraising intensive, but it was an incredible experience to see peoples' generosity.

Afterwards, we took lots more pictures.

It was neat to see so many people come up and congratulate my parents for this honor.  They have touched the lives of many people through work, church, kids' school, and community events they have been part of in their years in Cincinnati, and it was neat to see both of them recognized.

Then we joined the after party for some dancing and some more food and fun.  It was a long night, but in all, the evening raised over $800,000 for JDRF and was a memorable evening for our family.