“I learned so much!”
“The best ever!”
Those words summed up the opinions of the 170 attendees to this year’s Honey Bash – the fifth annual gala since The Bee Foundation was launched in March 2014. It was a special year…one that paid Tribute to the amazing families who have been touched by this devastating disease. Guests were reminded of the traumatic loss that can be caused by brain aneurysms, however, were inspired by the hope, advocacy, and awareness that filled the room. It was a night of celebration that allowed us to reach a stunning peak of over $175,000 raised for brain aneurysm research and awareness.
The Kimmel Center, with its stunning windows overlooking the lights of Broad Street, served as the backdrop for a glittering evening that featured educational speakers, survivors, and live and silent auctions. Master of Ceremonies, Rosemary Connors of NBC 10 Philadelphia welcomed attendees and kicked things off. She then turned the program over to Dr. Chris Kellner, who gave the crowd an update on the success of the 2016 TBF Research Grant for the study of a brain aneurysm blood biomarker leading to further study. Dr. Kellner also introduced the brand new TBF Fellowship which is solely dedicated to groundbreaking research on the true economic costs resulting from brain aneurysms, a critical component in our advocacy on Capitol Hill.
Christine Kondra, Executive Director and co-founder, along with her sister Erin Kreszl, of The Bee Foundation, introduced this year’s research award recipients, Dr. Robert M. Starke of the University of Miami and Dr. Ben Strickland of the University of Southern California. Guests of Honor and advocates Kavita Basi, a brain aneurysm survivor whose book, “Room 23,” detailed her journey to recovery, and Amy Leigh Horan, whose play “Burst” recounts her mother’s brain aneurysm experience, captivated the crowd and brought to light the daily struggles of those who live with this disease. Erin Kreszl, the Foundation’s CFO, presented the Foundation’s Bee Inspired Awards to the individuals whose dedication and efforts after their own personal experiences are inspiring us all: the Brewer family, the Bryden family, Sally Freedman, and the members of George Mason’s Chi Psi Fraternity.
The evening didn’t stop there, following the “Fund a Fellow” paddle raise, which raised over $50,000 alone, attendees took to the dance floor, mused with Philadelphia’s hottest new photo booth “Gifadelphia,” and left the evening satisfied enjoying “Ellie’s Candy Bar” and “Kenny’s Chocolate Chip Cookies” donated by Insomnia. Finally, a hardy contingent kept the party going at the Honey Bash After Party at the much loved Volver bar and restaurant.
“Looking at where we are, here at our 5-year mark, is just amazing,” Erin and Christine said. “But there’s so much more to do!” They, along with The Bee Foundation’s Board and team members extend a heartfelt thank you to their supporters for helping to raise a record “175 Thousand Dollars toward future research and awareness initiatives and truly making this year’s event “The best ever!”
The energy continues as we close out another great year.