Then Collins, noticeably thrilled with the theme and its obvious connections to NIH and the Human Genome Project, demonstrated wholehearted endorsement of the 2011 logo, which features a double-helix bow ribbon. He proceeded to twist his arms across his chest, mimicking the double-helix structure of DNA. He said he’d learned the gesture from Donna Appell, a member of his Council of Public Representatives. Collins encouraged
the audience to adopt the signal to convey not only the importance of DNA in our lives, but also the message that “charity is in our code.”
WRC-TV Channel 4 sports anchor Dan Hellie emceed the kickoff, which featured entertainment by a perennial favorite, the Walter Johnson High School Jazz Band, and a newcomer duo who jokingly call themselves Sax & the City. Vocalist Ashley Appell and her boyfriend, saxophonist Mervin Hernandez, teamed up to perform The Impossible Dream and The Prayer.
At age 24, Ashley, Donna’s daughter, has been visiting NIH as a patient for nearly 20 years and serves as an ambassador for the Children’s Inn at NIH. The inn is one of the more than 4,100 charities participating this year in the CFC of the National Capital Area. Both Ashley and Hernandez have Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome, a genetic metabolic disorder that causes albinism and visual impairment.
Several CFC charities sent representatives to the kickoff, including Hero Dogs (l), which provides service dogs to injured veterans, and the Peregrine Fund (c), which saves birds of prey from extinction.
At right, WRC-TV channel 4 sports anchor Dan Hellie serves as kickoff emcee.
Photos: Michael Spencer
“I really had no idea how much money you all raise for this event,” said Hellie, noting last year’s record-setting total. “This is outstanding. It’s really the biggest and best event you have every year. What you do matters.”
|Ashley and her mom, Donna, flank Hernandez and Collins.
In all, more than 35 charities sent representatives to the kickoff. Speaking on behalf of the many groups who benefit from the CFC, Ann Mitchell, president and CEO of Montgomery Hospice, said her organization of 100 registered nurses and dozens of counselors cares for 300 patients a day, 2,000 patients every year.
“Congratulations on your history of supporting charities,” she said. “Your donation will serve another meal to someone who is homeless or keep a community center open…Even in Montgomery County, many are without work, without health insurance and without hope.”
Mitchell also extended personal thanks to National Library of Medicine director Dr. Donald Lindberg and his wife Mary, a nurse who has volunteered at Montgomery Hospice for more than 26 years.
“It does seem to ‘take a village’ for a successful CFC,” said CFC deputy vice chair Lindberg, “and NIH is a remarkably fine village. Historically, the D.C. area CFC has counted mightily on NIH…and they are asking for $2.4 million this year.”
|Another of more than 4,100 charitable organizations that benefit from the CFC.
The kickoff site—the front lawn of Bldg. 38—was different than in years past. CFC lead IC for 2011 is NLM, which is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year. The library opened its home turf to several huge tents and offered continuous shuttle buses across campus throughout the midday.
With another kickoff in the books, now comes the time all NIH’ers can participate. It’ll be hard to top last year’s total, though. In 2010, NIH gave the CFC more than $2.7 million, which was an all-time record for the agency. NIH’s largesse represented almost half of the total contributed from the entire Department of Health and Human Services.
Visit http://cfc.nih.gov/ to get the latest on this year’s campaign.