By Kenneth Barilari
#HipNJ spoke with Martha Raymond, Executive Director of Michael’s Mission, about their upcoming 8th Annual Gala, which takes place on March 16 at the Intercontinental Barclay Hotel in New York City.
The event will feature a live auction, a silent auction, and a raffle, so there will be lots of opportunities for individuals to purchase exciting items. Auction items will include many experiences, such as trips to Wine Country, Broadway show tickets, hotel stays, and restaurant gift certificates. “Each year, we have a lot of fun with the silent auction,” Raymond says. “It brings out a little bit of a fun competition with people.”
Awards will be given to Kristen McRedmond for Advocacy, Joe Orlando for Mentorship, and Karen Walsh for Outreach and Awareness. According to Raymond, “Recipients were chosen because of their outreach and education awareness efforts in the colon cancer community.” Past award recipients include Katie Couric, and fashion designer Carmen Marc Valvo.
Michael’s Mission was founded in 2009 in memory of a young man from New Jersey, Michael Soussa, who passed away from colon cancer at very young age of 33. His loss devastated his family, fiancée and friends, who created Michael’s Mission with the hope of honoring Michael’s legacy and helping other patients and families facing the diagnosis of colorectal cancer.
“We don’t want any patient or family member to feel that they are going through this alone,” Raymond says. “We are there to talk with them over the phone, or meet with them in person. If anyone needs help, we are here. All of our services are free of charge.”
Martha Raymond has been an advocate for colon cancer research for the past 25 years. “Both of my parents passed away from the disease, and back then, there weren’t organizations that helped,” she says. “I strongly felt that I wanted to help people get the resources that our family could’ve used.”
All proceeds from the Gala go into research and patient programming. To purchase tickets and to learn more about Michael’s Mission, click here.