UNICEF Message of Hope Gala raises $1.1 million

The Event: The plush surroundings of the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago provided stark contrast to the battle waging within as the U.S. Fund for UNICEF Midwest regional office and 530 supporters delivered another strike against preventable childhood diseases on April 11 at the seventh annual ‘Message of Hope’ gala.

The event was part of a two-year campaign to raise $3 million dollars for The Eliminate Project — a partnership between UNICEF and Kiwanis International to abolish maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) by 2015.

Cause Célèbre: Caryl Stern of New York, president/CEO, served as the evening’s keynote speaker and addressed UNICEF’s current campaign to reduce down to zero the number of children dying around the world from preventable diseases.

“I do believe that because UNICEF provides water, sanitation and nutrition; because UNICEF provides education, HIV protection … and education; because we believe that a healthy mom is a healthy child … and because we believe that every child deserves a childhood; I believe that someday in our lives we may actually see that number (be) zero,” said Stern.

Since 1999, the number of countries facing MNT has dropped from 59 to 25 through The Eliminate Project. To date, UNICEF has helped save the lives of 90 million children, more than any other humanitarian organization in the world; and to vaccinate more than half of the world’s children.

“Anyone can relate to saving child’s life (because) children’s lives have as much value in another country as they do in our own,” said Serrino.

Bottom Line: The benefit raised an unprecedented $1.1 million.

For more information, visit unicefusa.org/about/regional/midwest-regional-office.html.

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