On Saturday, November 19, 2016, Dan and Jennifer Gilbert hosted the beNeFit IV – “An Aquatic Affair to End NF” in downtown Detroit, where more than 1,700 guests helped raise $5.1 million for the Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF). Over the past four years, the beNeFit has raised a combined total of $16 million toward ending NF.
Dan and Jennifer are parents to NF Hero Nick Gilbert, and they created “The beNeFit” in 2013 as an inspirational event to raise funds and increase awareness of NF. Nick was previously honored at the New York Gala in 2011 as the Children’s Tumor Foundation Ambassador, in recognition of his courage living with neurofibromatosis and support of the Children’s Tumor Foundation mission.
“Dan and Jennifer are veritable partners in our mission to raise awareness and fund critical research to find treatments and, one day, a cure for neurofibromatosis,” said Annette Bakker, PhD, Children’s Tumor Foundation President and Chief Scientific Officer. “This annual event brings out the passion and generosity of the entire Detroit community, and we are truly grateful for their support to help us end NF.”
At this year’s benefit, the Strength and Honor Award was presented to Jeffrey Owen Hanson. Jeff is a 22-year-old philanthropic artist who is visually impaired due to an optic nerve glioma related to NF1. During the auction portion of the evening, Jeff helped raise $200,000 with not one but two original canvases purchased by supportive patrons.
Though legally blind, the Kansas native has painted and donated more than $2 million in acrylic canvases to more than 150 charitable causes since 2006. In 2015, Jeff was recognized at the New York Children’s Tumor Foundation Gala as the NF Ambassador and in 2016, he won the NASCAR Foundation’s Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award, presented by Nationwide.
To view more photos of the beNeFit IV – “An Aquatic Affair to End NF”, click here.