When Kerstin Dittmar moved from New York City to San Francisco in 2010, she wanted to bring something with her besides all of her belongings. She wanted to continue her support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
So Dittmar became involved with restarting the St. Jude Miracles on the Bay Gala, and has served as chair of the event since 2012.
In October, a record 450 supporters attended this year’s St. Jude Miracles on the Bay Gala at City View at Metreon. The gala raised $300,000 for St. Jude and has now raised more than $960,000 in its history.
“I truly believe in the mission of St. Jude,” said Dittmar, who also was part of a St. Jude event committee while in New York. “They do absolutely wonderful work, not just on the patient care and patient support side, but, importantly, on the research side as well. I think a lot of people don’t realize how instrumental St. Jude has been and continues to be in furthering pediatric cancer research.”
Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since it opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90 percent, and won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.
During the event, guests had the opportunity to hear from Beth, a former St. Jude patient, who is now 24. Beth shared her story in the style of a TED talk and explained the personal and technical side of her treatment at St. Jude.
“It’s a cause that I think everyone can get behind,” Dittmar, 31, said. “For me, it has been great raising the profile of St. Jude in San Francisco to the extent I could, as well as bringing more awareness of the organization and how it impacts people throughout the country.”
Dittmar said the event, which also featured entertainment and live and silent auctions, would not be possible without the event committee she leads.
“It’s been an effort of a great group of people who took it upon themselves to create this event and bring attention to St. Jude,” she said. “We’ve enjoyed doing it. For all of us, it is the highlight of the year.”