It was truly a night unlike any other. Instead of their normal glittering Promise Ball, the local chapter of JDRF had to pivot this year, because of the coronavirus, holding their annual fundraising gala online.
But that didn't stop party-goers from making the most of the evening on May 9, which, this year, had the theme of "The Power of Us: From Start to Finish." Donning pjs, fabulous gowns, and tuxedos—or in the case of emcee Drew Dougherty, combining a tuxedo top with a pair of shorts a la the new Zoom "waist up professional" style—guests joined the YouTube Live event to support type 1 diabetes research. By the end of the night, the gala had raised more than $1.2 million.
Houston Texans and Type 1 Diabetic DeAndre Carter sent the gala a pre-event message of encouragement and the livestreamed event also included special messages from WWE star Lacey Evans and T1D heroes. The night's honorees, Peggy and Robert Kruckemeyer, shared their story with type 1 diabetes and JDRF.
Throughout the night, guests celebrated from the comfort of their homes, but the mood was still bustling with excitement. If there was a large donation to Fund A Cure, some guests did cannonballs in their backyard pools. And there was even a bidding war led by Stokes auctioneer Jim Jungers. The Live and Almost Live auctions had begun a week earlier, and guests had the opportunity to bid on lavish items, including fabulous vacation packages to Los Cabos, Mexico, and Colorado; wine tastings at local Houston favorites, such as B&B Butchers; and a precious Goldendoodle puppy.
Overall, the guests unquestionably reflected the night's theme, in spite of the pandemic. "Over the last two months, much has changed in our world, but what has remained consistent is the passion, drive and generosity of the JDRF and type one diabetes community," JDRF Houston Executive Director Rick Byrd said in a statement. "They truly demonstrated the Power of Us.”