Last night, DKMS, a world leader in the fight against blood cancer and other blood disorders, brought their annual gala into living rooms nationwide with a special virtual format – and raised over $3.5 million to help grant more blood cancer patient a second chance at life.
The evening honored Niren Chaudhary, CEO of Panera Bread, and his wife, Aditi Chaudhary. The pair shared the incredible story of their daughter Aisha Chaudhary, who passed away in 2015, but not before inspiring millions as a young author and motivational speaker. Guests were treated to a musical performance by multiplatinum singer-songwriter LP, who was introduced by actress Jaime King.
In the most emotional moment of the night, 9-year-old Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) survivor Grady Smith met his stem cell donor, Jessica Carroll, for the very first time. Jessica donated to Grady in 2018, and the two have been hoping to meet ever since. Their first meeting was followed by a huge surprise moment with Hugh Jackman.
In his opening remarks, DKMS founder Peter Harf recalled that “when we had to cancel our physical galas in New York and London, many people thought that we should take a break, but we cannot, because blood cancer doesn’t take a break…DKMS was born in adversity, and we know how to deal with adversity. We grow when the crisis gets deeper.”
“I’m very thrilled to be here for a cause that is very close to my heart,” said LP. “There are ten million DKMS registered donors worldwide, and we’d love to help them get to ten million more.”
Olivier & Valérie Goudet were the evening’s Event Chairs. DKMS founder Peter Harf served as Honorary Chair alongside Robert Gamgort and Charlotte & Alejandro Santo Domingo. Katharina Harf is the Global Vice Chairwoman of the DKMS Foundation Board. Coty and JAB are proud corporate sponsors of the event.