Community for a Good Cause
Bringing together friends, family, and patients for the Belmont Stakes event
The upcoming Belmont Stakes Dinner and Auction on June 11 in New York City is centered around community—the vibrant community of lung health professionals and the patients for whom they care.
Started 8 years ago as a Sunday brunch in her apartment, CHEST President-Elect Doreen Addrizzo-Harris, MD, FCCP, gathered individuals for an afternoon of fun with a philanthropic twist. Brunch attendees gathered to enjoy a glass of wine together and hear about the initiatives of the CHEST Foundation, with which Dr. Addrizzo-Harris was—and remains to be—intimately involved.
To grow the Belmont Stakes event into what it is today, Dr. Addrizzo-Harris leaned on her personal community of friends, family, colleagues, patients, and beyond.
What was once an event for tens of guests, the event this June is expected to welcome hundreds of attendees, making it the biggest Belmont Stakes event to date. But its mission remains the same—to spread awareness of the CHEST Foundation and fundraise for worthy initiatives relating to lung health.
“Last year’s event was the first time we were able to gather in person after what we had been through, and it was a memorable experience,” Dr. Addrizzo-Harris said. “People were so excited to be in a place where they could feel safe to network again, and the energy in the room was unmatched. While enjoying time together, we were also able to recognize two phenomenal community service awardees, reinforcing the mission and what we are fundraising for.”
This year’s event celebrates two patient advocates, Fred Schick and Betsy Glaeser, who both live with chronic lung conditions and use their experience to help others through their diagnoses.
To Dr. Addrizzo-Harris, spotlighting patients at this year’s event is especially meaningful because improving patient care and patient lives is the core focus of CHEST and the CHEST Foundation.
“Everything we do is for the patients, and the amount of energy and dedication that these two individuals show should make all of us clinicians want to go that extra mile for every patient,” Dr. Addrizzo-Harris said. “Despite their illnesses, they have chosen to dedicate their time to helping other patients understand the complex process that they are going through and lead support groups.”
Dr. Addrizzo-Harris encourages anyone interested in networking and raising money for a good cause to attend the upcoming event, stressing that an involvement in lung health is not a requirement. Beyond the CHEST membership, she hopes to see engagement from the entire community in the tristate area—friends, family, patients, and anyone who wants to spend a fun evening raising money to support the efforts of CHEST and the CHEST Foundation.