At Surprise-Filled Gala, JDRF Raises Nearly $2 Million More Than Goal to Fight Type 1 Diabetes

Natasha and Graydon Oliver (photo by Daniel Ortiz)

WHEN JDRF, THE leading global organization focused on researching type 1 diabetes, finally held its slickly produced Promise Ball with its “Day in the Life” theme after a two-year Covid break, it had high expectations. It set a fundraising goal of $2 million — which, it turns out, was all wrong. Instead, with the help of chairs Amber and Clay Bretches, the organization had an eye-popping haul of $3.7 million!


At Downtown’s Hilton Americas, a lively cocktail hour featured aerial performance artists and, of course, guests dressed to the nines. Attendees then filed into the ballroom, which “resembled a beautiful garden,” explained a rep for event organizers, “with décor like stunning greenery arrangements, warm candlelight and fog that made it feel as if the room was filled with morning dew.”

Drew Dougherty, host of Texans TV, served as emcee, and welcomed folks to a dinner of grilled beef tenderloin and truffled potatoes, with chocolate opera cake and mango pineapple compote for dessert. “The program even conveniently included carb count, as individuals who live with type 1 diabetes must count every carb consumed to ensure best possible control of their blood sugars,” noted the rep.

The emotional evening included recognition of honorees Freyja and Travis Lauritsen, whose daughter was diagnosed with diabetes as an infant — and a pair of surprise announcements of donations of $825,000 and $500,000 respectively. Other highlights included the adorable goldendoodle puppy offered as an auction item — and the gaming tables for after-dinner fun!

Mark and Jessica Stoner (photo by Daniel Ortiz)

Gaming tables at the JDRF gala (photo by CJ Martin)

Jose and Jeanine Lozano, Kat and Kris Kindrick (photo by Daniel Ortiz)

William Hagans and Jance Acosta (photo by Daniel Ortiz)

Shannon and Ernest Hunter (photo by Daniel Ortiz)

On the dance floor at JDRF gala (photo by Daniel Ortiz)

Meka and Kevin Coxon (photo by Daniel Ortiz)

Robert Beaty, Gideon Perritt, Sarah Lever and Reese Lever (photo by Daniel Ortiz)

Lesley Kargbo, Broderick Hicks and Ron Aladeniyi (photo by Daniel Ortiz)

Clay and Amber Bretches, Freyja and Travis Lauritsen (photo by Daniel Ortiz)

Travis Torrence and Heath LaPray (photo by Daniel Ortiz)

James Poppell, Karen Gentry, Jordan Amis and Ben Amis (photo by Daniel Ortiz)

Embry and Robyn Canterbury, winners of the auction's goldendoodle puppy (photo by Daniel Ortiz)

JDRF ambassadors Grant, Benjamin, Grayson and Samuel (photo by CJ Martin)

JDRF ambassadors Bethany, Lucienne, Jenna and Lila (photo by CJ Martin)

Bassan and Sandy Lati (photo by Daniel Ortiz)

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