Discover the Dream Gala, held annually in Columbus, Ohio, celebrated its 10th anniversary this year on May 21. And those involved have a great deal to celebrate. In its first year, this fundraiser held at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium raised $37,000. This year, the event yielded a whopping $500,000 to support the lifesaving mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
This growth is thanks, in part, to the involvement of Jack Hanna, renowned director emeritus for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, honorary event chairman for Discover the Dream and devoted St. Jude supporter. Hanna’s own daughter, Julie, was a patient in the 70s; she was diagnosed with leukemia at age 2 and successfully treated at St. Jude. She’s now in her 40s and shares her father’s love for animals.
Discover the Dream boasted a cocktail reception hour where live animals from the zoo mingled with the guests, facilitated by Jack Hanna and his team. Discover the Dream Gala also hosted some other very special guests.
Four St. Jude families sat on a patient panel to share their stories with attendees and explain what St. Jude has meant to them. Because the majority of St. Jude funding comes from individual contributors, St. Jude has the freedom to focus on what matters most — saving kids regardless of their financial situation.
Without St. Jude, Julie would not be here. We owe her life to St. Jude, and we will be eternally grateful — it’s that simple.
The 10th anniversary celebration of Discover the Dream circled back to St. Jude, highlighting where the hospital was 10 years ago and where we’re headed in the future. St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90 percent. We won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.
“My family truly understands what it means to have your health,” explains Hanna. “Without St. Jude, Julie would not be here. We owe her life to St. Jude, and we will be eternally grateful — it’s that simple.”