NEWTON, MA — The Celtic Connection, an annual fundraiser to benefit Alpha-1 research, set more than just March snowfall records. The March 9 event brought in over 340 guests and raised a record $68,000 for the Alpha-1 Foundation’s research programs, twice last year’s total.
The event boasted a traditional Irish dinner and entertainment, including performances by Irish step dancers from the award-winning Harney Academy of Dance. Irish folk band Hogan’s Goat provided live music for the evening, as they have done each year for the event.
The highlight of the evening is the presentation of the Irish Shillelagh award, named after an ancient Celtic weapon of Ireland, symbolizes the battle that Alpha-1 doctors and researchers are waging in the war against Alpha-1.
This year the award had two recipients: Edwin Silverman, MD, PhD, and Robert “Sandy” Sandhaus, MD, PhD.
Silverman has been a longtime researcher on Alpha-1 and COPD at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Sandhaus has worked with Alpha-1 since his work with Alpha-1 pioneer Aaron Janoff in the 1970s. He is clinical director of the Foundation, medical director of AlphaNet and director of the Alpha-1 program at National Jewish Health in Denver.
“Celtic Connection would not happen without the hard work of all of our committee members who organize this event. We started conference calls in December, and we only met in person on the day of the event,” said Angela McBride, committee member and director of development and community relations for the Alpha-1 Foundation.
Celtic Connection committee members were Bob Healy, chair; Kevin Abt, Susan Binnall, Sheila Favazza, Joan and Oliver Garry, Pat Jackson, Liam Lynch, Angela McBride, Joanne Mellady, Pattie Murphy, Sandy Ringgard, Robert Stoker, Claire Sullivan, Angela and Chris Brown, Fred Walsh and Ginger Watkins.
Celtic Connection sponsors were Accredo, Alnylam, AlphaNet, ASD Healthcare, Baxter, Civitas, Centric Health Resources, CSL Behring and Grifols.
Celtic Connection is a part of the Building Friends for a Cure program at the Alpha-1 Foundation. For more information on the program, or to participate in an event, visit www.alpha-1foundation.org/building-friends-for-a-cure.