The recent annual fundraiser for Andee’s Army, Evening of Hope, held at Tony Conway’s Flourish event venue, raised record-breaking funds of more than $1.2 million for the nonprofit.
Supporters of Andee’s Army showed they were ready to go to a live event again and support the youth brain and spinal cord injury foundation with huge hearts and deep pockets. Presenting sponsors of the event were Chris M. Carlos, Board Members Elaine and John Carlos, and Helen A. Carlos and Ron Hilliard. The Honorary Chair was Dr. Joshua Vova, director, Pediatric Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, a partner with Andee’s Army.
The evening kicked off with the SeeIT Chorus singing “Man in the Mirror” and then “The Lord’s Prayer.” Executive Director Nina Cheney thanked supporters and recognized co-chairs Jessica Garcia and Megan Roth, Father Paul Kaplanis, dean of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation, Alana Shepherd, co-founder of the Shepherd Center, a partner with Andee’s Army, and former U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler.
The patient testimonials called “Stories of Hope” were the highlights of the evening. Andee Poulos, for whom the foundation is named, said that 10 years have passed since her stroke. She is now a senior in college and participated in therapy last summer to work on balance and cooking skills. She is living in an apartment off campus and is off the meal plan.
“I would be lying to you if I said this journey has been anything but challenging,” she said. “When you have a brain injury, it takes an army of people to support you. Andee’s Army has always had my back.”
“Nina promised me I wouldn’t have to follow you again,” Chairman of the Board Jack Sawyer said. “You are remarkable.“
He reminded guests that Andee’s Army steps in when insurance steps out and thanked Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for all that it does. He introduced Dr. Vova who treated patient Judge Colvin, a three-year-old boy who stole the hearts of the audience. Judge and his father Jeff Colvin were hiking in Nashville when a rare Derecho wind storm caused a 75-year-old oak tree to fall on them. Jeff suffered a broken back, crushed ribs, and a punctured lung, He had a total of 29 broken bones. Judge suffered a traumatic brain injury and was in a coma for two weeks.
“Our mantra became ‘Healthy Family Together Again’ and it has come true,” Jeff Colvin said.
Tony Conway created a wonderful meal with his usual flair: roasted carrots and beets with an avocado and orange salad, soy ginger-braised beef short rib and cod, and a goat cheese lemon meringue tart. The cocktail reception area and ballroom were saturated in color with hundreds of gorgeous roses, including a special Instagram backdrop for photography. Guests enjoyed a signature cocktail during the reception.
Following the remarks, stories of hope, and an exciting live auction, attendees danced the night away to the tunes of the Michel Jons Band.