If poker isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of philanthropy, you’re not alone. But last Saturday’s high-stakes event was more about generosity than gambling, touching the hearts of many while raising millions in an effort to give children with pediatric cancer a fighting chance.
Chance for Life was founded in 2005 by Brad Nierenberg after his best friend’s daughter, Kennedy Snyder, was diagnosed with an aggressive spinal cord tumor at the age of two. What Brad began as a 20 person fundraiser 15 years ago — to help raise awareness and assist with mounting medical costs — is now one of DC’s biggest charity events. What’s more, all of the event’s net proceeds fund clinical trials to assist pediatric cancer research.
This super social event starts at 11 AM with an all-day poker tournament boasting over 700 players. There’s also a full day of sprawling delicious buffet food, top-shelf open bar service, and an impressive silent auction.
In addition to tournament buy-in, Chance for Life also raises money by offering coveted auction donation items like sports jerseys, framed art, jewelry, vacations, experiences, sporting events and more.
While poker play and perusing were going on, there was also a celebrity chef tasting. Attendees enjoyed meeting award-winning chefs and sampling some of their most famous bites.
And an after-party began as the tasting event was completed, complete with an amazing line-up of live performers. To everyone’s surprise, pop star Daya made a personal appearance to perform her biggest hits, absolutely thrilling the crowd, which stayed well into the evening.
But the day wasn’t all fun and games. At this year’s event at the MGM, guests also heard the first-hand account of Willie Hughes’ mother, founder of the Willie Strong Foundation, and a proud partner at this year’s Chance for Life. The Hughes family shared the emotion of how families are shattered by the devastating effects of their children being diagnosed with, and many ultimately losing their lives to, pediatric cancer.
Attending the Chance for Life event is a chance to be part of the fight and remember kids like Willie Hughes, honoring them by raising money for pediatric cancer research. It is a chance to end pediatric cancer, develop new ways to fight it, and bring hope to families in need. Whether fighting for a cause or wanting to have a great time, this is one of DC’s most popular events every year.