Hall of Famer Tom Glavine and his wife, Chris, were honored Saturday at the Cure Childhood Cancer fundraiser.
The event, titled The Believe Ball, was held at the St. Regis and featured both humorous and serious moments as the capacity crowd saluted the Glavines for their charitable work, cheered Tom for his induction and pondered heartbreaking data involving cancer’s youngest victims.
“How can we make people understand the enormity of it?” Glavine said. “Not enough is being done. Sure, there’s plenty of stories of children who have won their fight. Personally, I can’t imagine being one of those whose child did not win that fight. That’s why we’re here.”
Cure Childhood Cancer executive director Kristin Connor shared some stunning statistics: "While cancer is the second leading cause of death in children and while the incidence of cancer in children is on the rise, sadly, less than 3 percent of all federal funding for cancer research is dedicated to solving the types of cancers that affect children."
Cure Childhood Cancer is combating that ratio by donating more than $2.6 million each year toward research efforts, thanks to dedicated supporters like the Glavines, Connor noted.
The Believe Ball was chaired by Sylvia and Patrick Tylka with Braves president John Schuerholz and his wife, Karen, serving as honorary chairs and longtime local broadcasters Jill Becker and Chuck Dowdle serving as emcees. Jill Rossino and Linda Terrana served as auction chairs.
Guests included longtime Channel 2 Action News anchor turned Kiss 104.1 host Monica Pearson and her husband, John; radio consultant Vikki Locke and her husband, Mike Hughes; author and therapist Dr. Karin L. Smithson; local broadcaster Stacey Elgin; writer and fitness instructor Laura Scholz and her husband, Tim Long; and art/jewelry gallery owner Timothy Tew and his partner, Joseph Northington.
The event featured a performance by "The Voice" alum Chris Cauley and a hilarious tribute video created by voice artist Steve McCoy. He wrangled personalities including comedian Jeff Foxworthy, television therapist Dr. Phil McGraw, Hall of Famer Phil Niekro, recording giant Elton John — and actress Kristy McNichol, who asked Glavine a personal question during her segment: "Is it true I was your first teenage crush?"
(McCoy confessed that he’d had to arrange a shipment of signed baseballs to seal the deal with McNichol.)
Glavine used his time at the microphone to commend his wife for her efforts on behalf of Cure, including the annual Quiet Heroes luncheon honoring the mothers of cancer patients. This year's Quiet Heroes event is Sept. 27 at the InterContinental. (Info: curechildhoodcancer.org/events/quiet-heroes.)
“Thank you all for being here,” Glavine said. “To say we are humbled would be an understatement.”
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com