Ben Higgins of ABC’s “The Bachelor,” New York fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff, and Uchenna Nwosu of the NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers, lent their talents at the 41st annual Spring Brass Ring Luncheon and Fashion Show held by the Children’s Diabetes Foundation on April 4. The even bigger stars of the event were the donors who generously gave $338,000 toward helping families in need and finding a cure for type 1 diabetes.
Higgins, best known for his role on season 20 of “The Bachelor” and who now uses his platforms to support causes he cares about, emceed the program. He opened with heartfelt thanks to the team who made the event possible and reminded guests of the purpose of the event. He then introduced Cheryl Lebsock, president of The Guild of the Children’s Diabetes Foundation, which has 300 members who tirelessly fundraise for the fight against diabetes.
To connect the event’s nearly 800 guests with the cause, Lebsock shared about her father’s dark battle with type 1, which included amputations, vision issues, kidney failure, and an early death at age 62. When her son was diagnosed at age 4, it was a different story as his doctor assured the family, “We have a team of people who are going to help you give him a normal life.” She let guests know that medical teams to help navigate trials, researchers, advocates, and generous donations that support the cause give families hope.
“Every dollar raised today helps not only extend the life of a child with type 1 diabetes, but also helps to dramatically improve the lives of every child and family touched with this disease,” Lebsock shared. “Thank you for giving us hope.”
Higgins then introduced Alex Hess, a boy living with diabetes for eight years, who gave the prayer before lunch and put a child’s face to the cause the guests attended to support. –
The lunch menu at each seat listed the amount of carbohydrates in each item, showing the Children’s Diabetes Foundation’s commitment to the needs of those with type 1 by giving them confidence to know what they were eating and the ability to enjoy a meal outside the home.
Lunch was followed by 34 children living with type 1 diabetes, better known as “type 1 heroes,” who walked the stage, a catwalk, holding their heads high and waving to a caring audience who loved seeing their faces.
“It’s difficult. It’s upsetting. It can be life threatening. And it never goes away,” Higgins reminded the guests. “Kids with type 1 diabetes are dealing with more physical, emotional, and social stress than we can imagine and yet, they continue to be brave and fight this disease.”
That emotional moment was followed by energy and enthusiasm as Halie Behr, auctioneer, kicked off a live auction. The live auction raised $57,000, and items included a family reunion at The Overlook in Grand Lake near Rocky Mountain National Park, passes to the 2019 U.S. Open Golf Championship, a 2019 Hyundai Accent, a Jet Linx private jet trip for six people, and a special package with NFL’s Uchenna Nwosu.
Nwosu, whose mother lives with type 1 diabetes, joined the auctioneer on stage to encourage bids for the last item, which included two tickets to an L.A. Chargers game, autographed cleats with the Children’s Diabetes Foundation logo, and a meet and greet with Nwosu.
A paddle-raiser followed the live auction giving guests the opportunity to contribute at various donation levels. At each level, Behr explained specific opportunities that could be funded, such as producing beta-like cells (insulin-producing cells), providing an insulin pump, providing an artificial pancreas, hours of research, and continuous glucose monitor supplies.
The event closed with the much-anticipated runway fashion show presented by world-renowned designer, Rebecca Minkoff, who is dedicated to bring women together to enact positive change. Her playful and subtly edgy handbags, accessories, footwear, and apparel delighted the guests as the models showcased them on the catwalk.
The silent auction before the luncheon raised $38,500. In total, the event raised $338,000 benefitting the Children’s Diabetes Foundation to fund research and care at the Barbara Davis Center, promote diabetes awareness and education, assist families in need, provide scholarships, and sponsor social activities for children affected by diabetes.
Title sponsor for the 41st annual Spring Brass Ring is Marketo, an Adobe Company. Premier sponsors are the Crazy Merchant, Inc, and Greenberg Traurig, LLP. Official media sponsor, Colorado Expression magazine, wine sponsor Ultimate Provence and transportation sponsors Jay’s Valet. Event co-chairs are Steven & Shelley Lucas and Neil & Barb Oberfield.
The event was named after the elusive brass ring that carousel riders would try to catch when the ride first became popular. Now universally recognized as a symbol of achievement, the brass ring represents the ultimate goal of finding a cure for diabetes.
The Children’s Diabetes Foundation, located in Denver, was established in 1977 by Barbara and Marvin Davis after their daughter, Dana, developed diabetes at the age of seven. The non-profit organization is dedicated to the support of research in diabetes and to providing the best possible clinical and educational programs for people with the disease. The Foundation’s mission is to raise funds to support the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes and its world-renowned research programs, where thousands of patients with type 1 diabetes, children and adults alike, receive the finest diabetes care available. Thanks to the generous funding provided to the Center, all patients are welcome, regardless of their financial status.
About the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes
The Barbara Davis Center continues to do cutting-edge research with technology and stem cells for a cure. Dr. Lori Sussel, Director of Research at the Barbara Davis Center, investigates the possibility of turning stem cells into insulin-producing beta cells, which are the root cause of a type 1 diabetes diagnosis. This along with studies for the artificial/bionic pancreas will help children and adults with the disease achieve better blood glucose results to avoid the complications of kidney disease, stroke, blindness, amputation, and heart disease.