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8th Annual Pujols Family Foundation O’ Night Divine Christmas Celebration
December 1, 2012
By: Kelly Kener Quinn
“Why am I here?” A question that seems so vague, yet so clear. This question resonated throughout the evening at this year’s 8th Annual O’ Night Divine Christmas Celebration. Pujols Family Foundation Executive Director, Todd Perry, answered the question by sharing with attendees the profound impact the Pujols Family Foundation has had in the community since 2005, always focusing on the PFF motto of “Faith. Family. Others.”
The Pujols Family Foundation welcomed over 550 friends, sponsors, volunteers, partners and celebrity guests, to the Chase Park Plaza on a beautiful December evening. Guests were greeted with a warm welcome, ready to celebrate the year’s accomplishments and share the vision for the future of the PFF. In 2012 the PFF hosted over 80 events from St. Louis to Southern California, Kansas City and Nashville, Tennessee. Our team is proud to have launched the Foundation as a National organization and is excited to serve others across the nation.
However on this special night, we take the time to reflect on the series of events that led up to the O’ Night Divine Christmas Celebration and answer the question of “Why am I here?” Many of our special guests expressed they attend because they believe in the mission of the Pujols Family Foundation and have seen the joy our families feel when they attend PFF events. They also want to show their support for Albert & Deidre Pujols whom they respect on and off the field.
Special guests included “Gina Kelly Partner of the Year Award” recipients Matt & Leslee Holliday, as well as Lou & Jackie Brock, Chris & Amy Duncan, Johnny Hellweg, Mike & Kristen Matheny, Kerry & Maggie Robinson, Trevor & Lindsay Rosenthal, Jason & Paula Simontacchi, basketball legend Meadowlark Lemon, “The Irish Outlaw” boxer Ryan & Erica Coyne, and Dennis Phillips, of the World Series Poker Tour.
During the program several videos were shared featuring individuals whom the PFF serves and whom support the Foundation. In one video, each person was asked the same question, “Why are you here?” and though the details of every answer were different, the message was the same. They all believe in what the PFF is doing and want to be a part of making a positive impact in the lives of others.
David Kime, a young man with Down syndrome who participated as a member of Albert’s All Star Basketball team, was the highlight of a documentary about his life and love for the game of basketball. Throughout each scene, David’s passion for the sport and joy he felt on the court could be sensed throughout the ballroom. It is because of individuals like David, that our team continues to strive for excellence in all of the programs we offer to maximize the benefits for those who participate in them.
Events such as the Christmas Celebration allow the PFF team to have the resources needed to offer the multitude of programs & services throughout the year, not only within the Down syndrome community, but also for the humanitarian efforts our team provides in the Dominican Republic. Programs such as Project Sound Asleep, NEST and Batey Baseball continue to thrive as a result of the collaborative support from our sponsors, partners, friends and volunteers.
On a medical mission trip in October, a team of medical professionals treated over 1,000 people in one week. During this trip, our doctors continued treatment of a young boy with a life-threatening heart condition. We met Jorgeli about two years ago & since his first treatment, his condition has worsened. To improve his chance for survival, our team determined that surgery was the only option. However, it was not an option in the Dominican Republic.
After monumental efforts and collaboration between Compassion International, Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, Ranken Jordan, the Ronald McDonald House, the US Embassy in the Dominican Republic and the PFF team, Jorgeli & his mother arrived in the St. Louis on Thursday, November 29th, just in time to be honored guests at the O’ Night Divine event. We were also proud to recognize that his medical services will be donated and this young boy’s future already looks brighter than ever. After Jorgeli & his mom were introduced to our guests, it is certain that many of them were able to answer a question they may have been reflecting upon all night. “Why am I here?”
Albert & Deidre Pujols shared their dedication, vision and unconditional admiration for the community where they live and serve. Though the uniform may have changed, the commitment to the mission of the Pujols Family Foundation never has and never will. And that’s why we’re here.