A Celebratory Benefit for the PKD Foundation
On March 6, we celebrated honorees from a cross-section of those in the Northeast supporting the work of the PKD Foundation. Our honorees have each made great strides to support families with PKD by lending their voices to lobbying efforts, providing compassionate care and support for patients and families, advancing research through financial support and participating in clinical trials.
Corporate Philanthropist Honoree Abby Schumer (middle)
with her mother Amy Epstein (right) and guest.
Many of the honorees were surrounded by friends and family, who also shared how the courage of those being honored affected them. When Amy Epstein learned that her daughter, Abby Schumer, and her company Select Equity were being honored, she shared the following message.
"There are few people I have known in my lifetime more heroic than my husband, Jeremy G. Epstein, who died four and a half years ago.
He endured 20 years on hemodialysis, along with one failed kidney transplant, after his kidneys failed at the age of 42. During that entire time, and with several bouts of cancer and heart issues to endure as well, he worked full-time as a litigation partner at the law firm of Shearman & Sterling. I should also note that he managed to contribute over 5,000 hours of pro bono legal assistance. He believed strongly that all people, regardless of their ability to pay, should have good legal counsel.
My daughter Abby comes a very close second for courage and heroism. Diagnosed with PKD, she decided to 'be part of the solution, instead of the problem' by presenting the PKD Foundation as a non-profit worthy of a donation by her firm, the Select Equity Group. To disclose having PKD to her colleagues at their foundation dinner took enormous courage. That her colleagues at Select Equity embraced her and responded as generously as they did puts them in a very rarified and noble group in corporate America.
I am very glad to have the opportunity to honor my husband, Abby and Select Equity for what they teach us about strength, courage and the decision to be part of the solution."
Along with celebrating the accomplishments of our honorees, those in attendance were able to witness the moment when retired New York Giants Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride first met Danny Langsdorf, who, seven years ago, donated the kidney that saved the life of Gilbride's sister, Laurie Cavanaugh. In a twist of fate, Langsdorf is also the new Quarterbacks Coach for the New York Giants.
Retired New York Giants offensive coordinator and honorary Gratitude Benefit chair Kevin Gilbride
"It's impossible to find the words to express to someone: Without you, my little sister wouldn't be alive," Gilbride commented. "I'm the oldest of the seven and she's the youngest girl. She's my baby sister. You say thank you. Thank you for saving her life. There's no way we can repay you. It's a beautiful story."
These are just a few of the many stories shared at the Gratitude Benefit, and they serve to remind us of the compassion, generosity and courage experienced by those in the PKD community.
Our work to date, and our future opportunities, are completely dependent upon the leadership of dedicated clinicians and researchers, the courage of our patients and families, the support of our volunteers, and those who care enough about ending PKD to financially support our mission.
PKD Foundation CEO, Jackie D. Hancock, Jr., shared with attendees,"If there is ever to be a day in which there is no more PKD, it will surely have been made possible by the dedication of individuals like these."
Thank you again to our chairs, our sponsors, our guests and our honorees who, like so many of you, have made the Foundation what it is today.
A special thanks to our Platinum Sponsor Otsuka America Pharmaceuticals, Inc.