Friday May 6th's Dinner for Herm was stellar.
For our family, it is a four-day event punctuated with a 12-hour party plunked in the middle.
Friends and sisters from New England arrive for the weekend. We fill our cars and theirs on Friday morning with fragrant flowers, framed photos and the bounty for the night’s auction, guitars, mikes and song lists.
All day, at the Skaneateles Country Club, we unpack and set up. We are not the only ones who marvel at the sparkling generosity of our community.
People waft by all day: friends we love who can’t attend the dinner stop to tell stories about Herm. Waiters, diners, even the fellows working on the driveway ask if they can bid on the 'BIG GREEN EGG', the diamond necklace or the paintings.
We have the best auction ever.
Gathering the items is a magical team effort between Herm, my tireless brother in law, Jim Gregg and Melissa Scala.
Over several weeks Holly, Marietta and I watch the seats fill up and the donations mount.
Our friends and relatives present oil paintings and prints, diamonds, watches, and baskets of necklaces to us, often before we have to ask. The father of Holland’s good pal, canes an antique chair with vintage neck ties, then paints the chair in matching colors and patterns. Holland’s teacher, who was also his tennis coach and boss, donates a dinner for 20, 2 cases of wine, and then bakes the cookies and cannoli for everyone there! Cottage and Hotel stays are donated from all over the area. Even an opportunity to join local ABC news anchor, Carrie Lazarus, behind the scenes for the unfolding of a broadcast is on the table for bidding.
Over whelming generosity.
This year there is great news: I no longer have to describe what Immunotherapy is. It has become a familiar concept. It is now featured on the cover of TIME magazine rather than buried inside as it was in 2005.
It is even better news that tech giant, Sean Parker, recently donated $250 million to the same immunotherapy research we have been supporting since 2008. Our son Holland discovered first hand that this is the way to go to cure cancer if you care about the patient, his comfort and his future health, if you care about more than just killing random cells. Holland’s doctor reports an over 90% success rate with her clinical trials, and an over 50% cure rate long term. We see in our sights a day when no one ever has to undergo archaic chemotherapy again.
Holland was, and still is, a conduit for bright ideas. He was, and still is, a magnet whose strength was, and is, not just bringing people together, but bringing out the best in them.
His energy drew everyone into that room on Friday night. His energy put the gifts on the table and the money in the bank for the LLS. Everyone felt it.
We feel profound gratitude every time we do this.
But, this year, sprinkled on top was the best possible news, that our daughter has found her Prince Charming and Herm would definitely approve.
For me, there was more.
If you read our invitation or knew Herm, you know he was a happy boy who felt lucky most of his life.
I admit it has been hard for me to feel "lucky" for the past 14 years.
But this night, amidst the outpouring of love, with real hope for a cure at hand and with Herm’s energy tangible in the room, I felt beyond grateful. I felt happy for Herm and what has happened in his name.
That was when I got his memo.
And I actually felt lucky.
Thank you from the Gregg and Brewster families to every one who was able to attend, who donated or sent thoughts our way. Thank you for listening.
It is you who carries us all forward on this mighty mission.
Donations towards a cure can always be made at: lls.org/wcny/herm
Thank you Ellen Leahy for this incredible video that helps capture the night!