Going All In for a Cure: 21st Annual Joker’s Wild Casino Night

TysonsToday Staff Around Town

Benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

On February 25th, the Metro DC Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is hosting its 21st Annual Joker’s Wild Casino Night at the beautiful Hilton McLean. In 2015, when the event celebrated its 20th anniversary, more than 300 supporters raised more than $150,000 for cystic fibrosis research, care and programs.

Judy and Carl Riedy have actively supported the Foundation since the mid-1980s, shortly after their son, Chad, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF).  In 1996, they elevated their commitment by starting this event and have been co-chairs ever since. It has grown exponentially in its two decades of existence, from the amount of people who attend, the wonderful array of auction items – including a very robust live auction, featuring special trips, exclusive experiences, and even an autographed guitar from the band One Republic – to the unique entertainment experience of playing mock table and card games and dancing to live music. The CF Foundation’s Metro DC chapter, as well as its volunteer event committee, seeks to create something memorable for guests to look forward to each year – and to help raise the awareness needed to help save Chad’s, and thousands of others, lives.

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease affecting approximately 30,000 children and adults in the United States. More than 10 million people are symptomless carriers of the defective CF gene, and about 1,000 new cases of CF are diagnosed each year. CF causes chronic lung infections and difficulty digesting food and nutrients. The current predicted median age of survival for a person with CF is in the early 40s and beyond, but there is no cure.

The Riedy family has kept the momentum going for so long, because they expect their son to lead a full life and the results of this annual event are measurable. They are grateful for the foundation’s aggressive approach to drug development and discovery, saying, “Through the progression of this event, we have watched the foundation develop a series of new drugs and therapies that have added not only years, but dramatically increased the quality of our son’s life.” Chad is now a healthy 35 year old, married to his wonderful wife Julie and father to two young boys, Liam and Tate. Joker’s Wild Casino Night is now definitely a family affair, as Chad and Julie have not only become actively engaged ,but have also significantly increased the attendance thanks to the involvement of an ever-growing list of friends and young professionals.

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) Metropolitan Washington DC Chapter, 20th Anniversary Joker’s Wild Casino Night, McLean, Virginia (Rodney Choice/Choice Photography/www.choicephotography.com)

Besides the miracle of Chad’s life, as he has now surpassed his original prognosis to be fortunate to live past middle school, Carl and Judy are seeing firsthand the hope and continued success that the Foundation has created. The most recent CF drug therapy, Orkambi, was approved by the FDA last year – this drug is considered a major advancement for the nearly 30,000 Americans living with CF. Most importantly, over 50 percent of the CF population is now over 18 years of age.  To help assure a quality of life for adult CF patients, Chad has begun to play a more active role within the foundation, advocating for them.  He is helping to navigate previously uncharted waters by working closely as a liaison between the foundation and CF adults nationwide, bringing to the forefront new issues that they are facing such as mental health, lung transplants, and family planning.  Chad comments, “I am fortunate to be where I am today, and I want to support the direction that the Foundation is taking to increase the outreach, education, and services
for CF adults.

While the progress of the foundation is clear, there is still much to do to ensure ALL CF patients live a long and healthy life. The foundation depends on the dollars raised to promote future advances in CF research and medicine. To find out more about the CF Foundation’s mission and its venture philanthropy model, please visit cff.org.

For more information about the Joker’s Wild Casino Night on February 25th, including tickets and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Beatrice Santacroce, Development Director, 301-657-8444 or visit casinonight.eventscff.org. 

Please join Judy, Carl, Julie and Chad on February 25.  You will have a good time and support a very worthwhile cause.

Pictured above: The Riedy family: Carl, Judy, Chad holding his son Tate, and Julie holding her son Liam
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) Metropolitan Washington DC Chapter, 20th Anniversary Joker’s Wild Casino Night, McLean, Virginia (Rodney Choice/Choice Photography/www.choicephotography.com)