The Joe Andruzzi Foundation (JAF) 16th Annual Gala was held on Thursday, October 26, in Boston at the beautiful Fairmont Copley Plaza, gathering supporters, patients, and celebrities for a magical night that asked us all to BELIEVE in removing financial barriers for New England cancer patients so they can access treatment. Through the generosity of sponsors and donors, we raised more than $725,000 for cancer patients!
It all started on the red carpet, sponsored by GlideFast and hosted by WEEI’s Nick “Fitzy” Stevens, as celebrity guests including Nancy Kerrigan, Bob Socci, Jarvis Green, Tully Banta-Cain, Louie Bello, David Andrews, and others brought the glam alongside JAF patient recipients and sponsors. Everyone enjoyed signature cocktails, wine, and prosecco generously donated by Josh Cellars.
The Gala’s theme of BELIEVE came to life as guests entered the ornate main ballroom greeted by tabletop messages of gratitude from JAF patient recipients throughout New England and adorned with centerpieces created by Baby Boyle Bouquets.
WCVB 5 Eye-Opener Co-Anchor Antoinette Antonio served as the emcee for the evening. Joe and Jen Andruzzi recapped the year’s highlights and impact on patients with CEO and President Jen Andruzzi, who made a groundbreaking announcement, unveiling UniCORN – Universal Community Oncology Resource Network. UniCORN is a web-based platform offering cancer patients and the oncology community access to a Resource Directory and soon a Financial Tool and Common Application.
“UniCORN will transform how cancer patients access support when they need it most. It also compliments the work of social workers and patient navigators. It serves as a way to convene so many of our peers in the cancer space as we all work towards alleviating the financial and emotional stress of cancer patients and their family members!” announced Jen Andruzzi.
For the fourth year, JAF recognized outstanding individuals and organizations who made a difference for JAF and its mission this year through our 2023 Game Changer Video sponsored by the Boston Bruins Foundation, Red Sox Foundation, and New England Patriots Foundation. This year’s honorees were Rob and Karen Hale, Dana D’Alessandro, Todd Patkin, Nick ‘Fitzy’ Stevens, The Castle Group, and 5Tool Productions.
“We are pleased to honor this year’s Game Changers for their amazing dedication to the Foundation,” said Joe Andruzzi. “We are thankful to have them on our team as we continue to help those in treatment and their families make ends meet.”
The program included a video recap of the Foundation’s 2023 Road Trip, an initiative that had the staff traveling throughout the year to each of the New England states JAF serves. The highlight of the evening was hearing from Ree Smith, mother of pediatric patient recipient Zoe, age 4, who battled metastatic neuroendocrine cancer, and the impact JAF’s assistance had during their journey. Afterward, little Zoe and her older sister, Zia, joined Joe Andruzzi in asking guests ‘Do You Believe?’ and engaging the entire room to ring the bells placed on tables in a show of support.
Zoe’s moving story set the stage for Nick Stevens and Joe to lead the LIVE Auction and Appeal. From unique experiences to a fabulous trip, guests had their hands in the air for great items and an important cause.
The NFL Players Choir brought the night home with another show-stopping performance. After the choir sang their last note, guests headed straight for the after-party, where The Hess Twins were waiting for everyone on the dance floor! Dessert included custom cupcakes by Montilio’s. Favors this year were rocks glasses featuring our Boston location and provided our incredible partners at Well Told Design.
Thanks to Platinum Sponsors Granite Telecommunications, Amplix, and GlideFast, as well as Gold Sponsors Bob’s Discount Furniture, Cross Insurance Agency, and The Derenzo Charitable Foundation. We couldn’t have hosted this event without the support of our Gala Committee: Nicole Hartley, Michael and Jessica Lombardo, Tom and Jen Lavallee, Nicole Rosa, and Tom Turco. Sincere gratitude to all of our dedicated volunteers, led by Jaimie Cathers, and the staff at Fairmont Copley Plaza, for ensuring a top-notch guest experience.
Big thanks to our in-kind sponsors: Peak Events, Well Told Design, Montilios, Josh Cellars, Love, Tito’s, and Remy Cointreau. and our always phenomenal event partners at The Castle Group and 5Tool Productions. Our auction and chance were amazing again this year, thanks to our generous donors who contributed some outstanding items.
Gala 2023 welcomed the following new major sponsors: Keches Law Group, NWN Carousel, Browne Consulting, Massachusetts Senior Care Association, Sturdy Health, Third Rock Ventures, and Blueprint Medicines.
The Foundation couldn’t have imagined a better evening to celebrate a mission that strives to help so many and the people who support our work. A sincere thank you to all those who attended – in person or from home! Your support gives help, hope, and reasons to smile for cancer patients and their family members throughout New England.