Rush Game Changers
Laughter may be the best medicine particularly when Second City delivers a delightful dose, but the recent Rush Woman’s Board fall benefit offered in addition a toast to three hospital game changes with enormous impact on Rush— each of whom held their own with the improv troupe. We asked co-chairs Bethany Crocker and Sarah Alshouse to tell us about the virtual event celebrated at viewing parties and online, reaching at least 500 supporters.
Alshouse and Crocker proved to be a dynamic duo with much in common: both Vanderbilt graduates, mothers of three children of almost the same ages, Winnetka residents, past co-chairs of the Kohl Children’s Museum event and, most of all committed Woman’s Board members dedicated to taking virtual and making it personable. They gave credit to Woman’s Board President Cindy Mancillas for the opportunity to go with a comedy twist.
“For past Woman’s Board events, there’s never been an opportunity for an artistic or comedic performance. Programming is usually more about prominent keynote speakers as with the Spring Luncheon or short presentations about the hospital and its important work at our galas. We knew all along that as much as we might want to do an in-person event we had to have a safe event, within Rush protocols, which still allowed us to raise sufficient funds for our signature project. We spent much time brainstorming our options. We knew that a virtual event would reach more friends and supporters across the country.”
“This was our board’s third virtual event and we thought why not try a little humor—it’s good for the soul! It had never occurred to us that we’d ever have the opportunity to work with Second City, but, as the 2022 virtual Fall Benefit proved they were an absolutely perfect partner!”
“We called it ‘Friday Night Live’. Second City performers were from Chicago and Toronto and had done their homework on Rush as well as developed the technological platform we used. The skits were interactive and personalized. We even got to vote on our favorites. The honorees were given the assignment of finding something in their house and showing it to guests. They were very good sports and each could have a second career in comedy if they weren’t so vital to the hospital.”
The game changes honored were Mia Levy, MD, PhD of the Cancer Center at Rush University Medical Center; Angelique Richard, PhD, RN, CENP, chief nursing officer at Rush, and the Road Home Program at the National Center of Excellence for Veterans and Their Families at Rush, represented by Brian Klassen, PhD.
Many board members, including the co-hosts, President Mancillas, Sonja Smith; Katie Comstock and Missy Shinall; Michelle Worth; and Jennifer Rice hosted viewing parties for their friends on what proved to be a delightful summer evening. Curated cocktails had been delivered directly to each ticket holder’s door.
Box Car Betty’s provided the fried chicken sandwiches as well as fried green tomatoes and pickles for the co-chairs viewing party.
Dr. Omar Lateef, president and CEO of Rush University Medical Cente, and Alshouse, Crocker, and Mancillas welcomed guests to the short program followed by a silent auction which included a private dinner with Dr. Lateef, Chicago Blackhawks experiences, and a dream spa and sail package at the Montage Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina. A party for 75 at the winner’s home featuring the Box Car Betty’s food truck was an auction prize.
The celebration went well into the night, raising significant funds to support Rush University Medical Center’s education, research, and community service programs, including the Woman’s Board’s 2021 principal project: The Woman’s Board Fund for Precision Oncology Research, a game-changing technology. Funds from the Woman’s Board will enable physician-scientists to use a patient’s cancer cells to artificially grow 3D organoids (mini tumors) in a lab and then evaluate their response to different therapies. This will allow oncologists to select the most effective treatment possible for each individual, improving outcomes for patients.
As Dr. Mia Levy said, “In a person, we can only give one treatment at a time. With tumor organoids, we can divide the cells to test response to multiple drugs at the same time.”
For further information go to: thewomansboard.org.
Originally published on November 7, 2021. Read the Classic Chicago Magazine article online here.