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When Kate and her family learned in 2011 that she had acute myeloid leukemia, her parents were devastated. But Kate, then 11, had a very different reaction.
A competitive gymnast and CrossFit athlete since 2006, Kate felt energized to keep pushing herself. She started chemotherapy and kept exercising — even after she lost her left leg because of a treatment complication.
Guests at the 20th annual St. Jude Four Stars of Chicago Restaurant Extravaganza heard Kate’s inspiring story April 8 and raised more than $650,000 at the gala benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Kate was ready to get back into gymnastics when she suffered a relapse of her cancer in 2012. Her parents turned to St. Jude for Kate’s second bone marrow transplant, and she was given a trial drug to improve the odds for the transplant’s success. St. Jude creates more clinical trials for cancer than any other children’s hospital.
Currently cancer-free, Kate — now 15 — works out several days a week and is even doing gymnastics again.
“This year’s St. Jude Four Stars of Chicago Restaurant Extravaganza was a special evening as we celebrated our 20th annual event raising more than $650,000 for the children of St. Jude,” said Joseph G. Shaker, event co-chair and a member of the ALSAC/St. Jude Boards of Directors and Governors. “This event has become one of the signature local fundraising events across the country for St. Jude and has made a huge impact, raising awareness in the Chicagoland area and more than $8.5 million in the past 20 years.”
About 850 guests attended the gala at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, where they sampled cuisine prepared by executive chefs from 20 of the top restaurants in Chicago.
Ron Boire, executive vice president, chief merchandising officer and president of Sears and Kmart, served as the honorary chairman of the gala, which recognized Kmart for their incredible support of St. Jude. During the 10th annual St. Jude Thanks and Giving® campaign in 2013, Kmart raised $21.9 million for the kids of St. Jude, bringing their overall fundraising total to more than $59.2 million for the hospital’s mission.
The evening also featured a cocktail reception and live and silent auctions. Allison Rosati, anchor of NBC 5 News in Chicago, served as the event emcee.