By any measure, Shelly Rainen and Carrie Rainen are a close mother-daughter unit.
Not only did they graduate from the same law school, they also practice law together in the family firm established by Shelly’s husband, Edward Rainen. In addition to their charitable activities in the Boston Jewish community, they share another important bond: their work for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
For 22 years, Shelly has been involved in the annual TomorrowNite Gala in Boston that benefits St. Jude, and for 21 of those years, she has co-chaired the gala’s silent auction committee. Over the years, her children, Carrie and David, along with her husband, have also worked to help make the gala a success.
But for Shelly and Carrie, the silent auction is “another facet of our relationship and it’s something that Carrie and I have in common with each other that we don’t have in common with our husbands,” Shelly said. “Even though they volunteer, they are not involved in the nitty-gritty the way we are.”
The Rainen ladies are hands-on volunteers. For the month before the gala, Carrie estimates that they spend 10-20 hours per week working on the auction. But during gala week, both women work on it almost full-time.
The 24th annual TomorrowNite Gala in March raised more than $370,000, bringing the event’s overall fundraising total to more than $5.3 million. And all members of the gala’s planning committee are looking forward to the gala’s 25th anniversary next spring.
At 34, Carrie has been part of the St. Jude family for most of her life and has visited the hospital several times. She describes a moment during the hospital’s 50th anniversary celebration that – for her – symbolizes the spirit and mission of St. Jude, which treats children from around the world.
After a St. Jude supporters’ dinner, she saw three men – one Jewish, one Muslim and one Christian – “all hugging and crying because of everything they have been through and hoped for. It was a very moving experience for me.”