Celebrating ten years of a collective commitment to hope

Excitement is building for the 6th Family event

Robin Baba and Beth Conen cannot believe it’s been ten years. In July of 1998, just a day after Rory died of a brain stem glioma, a type of pediatric brain tumor, Rory’s family established The Rory David Deutsch Foundation to raise money for pediatric brain cancer research. In the years since, The Foundation has done much more than provide an impressively steady funding stream to medical researchers in the field. “The Foundation has brought people together, raised awareness about the disease, and organized events where kids of all ages have great fun,” says Robin, who has partnered with Beth in co-chairing The Foundation’s signature event since its very first year. “So much good has come from a loss that is still tremendously difficult to come to terms with.”

Robin and Beth, both members of The Foundation’s Board of Directors since its inception, are once again in the midst of planning for the biennial Rory David Deutsch Foundation Family Event. Drawing on the success of its last event two years ago, which raised close to $400,000 and attracted more than 800 people, this year’s gathering will once again be held at the Highland Park Recreation Center. With the theme, “Reach For the Stars: A Carnival of Fun Celebrating a Commitment to Hope,” the event is set for Saturday, November 15, 2008. “We’ve worked hard to make these events better each time, and this year will be no different,” says Beth. “With ten years of great people contributing to great accomplishments, this is sure to be a special occasion.”

Inspired by Rory’s love of games, sports, family and friends, this year’s festival of fun will feature quite an array of games and activities as well as a delicious dinner, an exciting raffle, and an amazing silent auction. “It’s fun for the whole family, but Ross and Mindy have always wanted these events to focus on kids,” says Beth. “From the start, kids have played a significant role in this Foundation.”

Beth’s son and Robin’s son were both friends of Rory’s, and each of them have joined many other young people volunteering their help at different foundation events over the years. “From stuffing envelopes to running games or booths, Rory’s friends have been very involved,” says Robin. “Rory is still very present in my son’s life. He has a picture of Rory on his desk and he mentioned him in his Bar Mitzvah speech. Through The Foundation, he and other kids have learned how important it is to give back in any way you can. With Rory’s friends now graduating from high school, in the years ahead they are the ones that will continue to carry The Foundation forward.”

“There’s no greater tragedy than someone losing a child, and this loss was so personal to us,” says Beth. “Ross and Mindy’s incredible commitment to The Foundation has helped it maintain momentum over the years.” As Robin puts its, “They not only dedicated themselves to raising money for cancer research, they did their homework on how and where the money would be best spent. That’s what has made The Foundation’s Family Event, and so many of its other fundraisers so meaningful and memorable.”

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