Each year, we gather to honor and thank PKD Foundation supporters (PKDF) who go above and beyond at our Gratitude Benefit event. PKDF supporters from across the country will get together in Chicago, on April 9, to help celebrate and show appreciation for our 2016 honorees.
We asked longtime supporter and event sponsor, Karyn Waxman, who has attended every Gratitude Benefit, why this is one of her favorite events and why she hopes to see you there.
PKDF: This will be your third year at our Gratitude event. Why do you attend each year?
Karyn Waxman: Since my PKD diagnosis 16 years ago, I’ve met, befriended, worked with and networked with many PKD patients, volunteers, researchers and PKDF Board members as a result of my involvement with the PKD Foundation. I greatly appreciate the work we do collectively and the relentless time and energy everyone contributes to our mission to end PKD. Attending this event is just one small way my husband Jerry and I are able to personally thank and honor those who continuously take the work that we do as an organization to the next level.
PKDF: How does it feel to be among so many people who are fighting to end PKD?
Karyn Waxman: The gala is a “feel good” PKD get-together for us. The focus is on thanking and honoring those who have generously embraced PKD as their cause, worked hard to raise funds and used their expertise to help develop treatments and find a cure for PKD. I find it invigorating to be among these PKD movers and shakers.
PKDF: What do you enjoy most about the Gratitude Benefit?
Karyn Waxman: I enjoy the mingling part of the cocktail hour the most. I love having the opportunity to visit with and thank the honorees I already know, and introduce myself to those I’ve not yet had the pleasure of meeting.
PKDF: You’re from Memphis. Why fly to Chicago to attend the Gratitude Benefit?
Karyn Waxman: We enjoy traveling to attend the Gratitude Benefit. Many of us routinely travel to see family and for business. Because ending PKD is a big part of my life, I consider attending this gala something that falls under both the business and family umbrella on many levels. Besides, it’s a wonderful celebration of all the fantastic work being done to end PKD.
PKDF: What does it mean to be honored at this event?
Karyn Waxman: The honorees at our gala have generously used their time, talents, resources and expertise to benefit those in our PKD community. Celebrating them means that we gratefully acknowledge thank and appreciate all that they have done on our behalf.
PKDF: Why do you sponsor Gratitude?
Karyn Waxman: As this event has moved from region to region, our growing list of annual honorees has continued to inspire me. Sponsoring the gala is our way of showing our appreciation to all the honorees and letting them know that we support their efforts and that they have not gone unnoticed.
PKDF: How does Gratitude help move the Foundation’s mission forward?
Karyn Waxman: No one wants to feel like they’re working on something as big as PKD in a vacuum. A simple “thank you” goes a long way. Honoring those who have shown exemplary support for the PKD cause motivates us all to continue our hard work and hopefully inspires others to join. We believe that cultivating new volunteers, donors, philanthropists and researchers will help move the Foundation’s mission forward.
About Karyn Waxman
Karyn has been the Memphis Chapter Coordinator since 2001, and was a member of the PKD Foundation Board of Trustees from 2006 to 2012. Her husband, Jerry Waxman, is a current member of the PKD Foundation Board of Trustees. The Waxman’s host the Memphis Driving Home a Cure Golf Tournament, one of the most successful Foundation DIY events.