The thought of Glen – a former patient at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and a huge Grizzlies fan – brought tears to the eyes of many at the Fourth Annual Grizz Gala at the Gold Strike Casino Resort last Saturday.
The annual fundraiser was designed with children such as Glen in mind. Glen recently lost his bout with cancer, a sobering fact noted in a letter read to the crowd during the event. One couple agreed that they would celebrate the rest of the night for Glen and his life.
Sold out for the second consecutive year, the blue-tie affair gave fans the opportunity to join the Grizzlies in one of the team's ongoing expressions of community giving.
"The Memphis Grizzlies are incredible friends to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital," said Emily Callahan, chief marketing officer at St. Jude and a first-time gala attendee.
" Events like tonight – the Grizz Gala – to the first-class experience they give us at the Grizz games are important. The players come to the hospital and they have tea parties with the children. They put smile on their faces. I would not change anything."
All proceeds from the gala benefit the Memphis Grizzlies House, which houses the families of patients that travel to Memphis to undergo treatment. The facility can accommodate up to 100 families and features an enclosed playground, fitness room and basketball court located on the campus of St. Jude.
This year – as always – the gala afforded new team members and new executives the opportunity to experience how their star power can make a difference in the lives of children battling illnesses.
"It's my first time here and I am amazed at the support that's given to the team and to St. Jude," said Grizz guard Jerryd Bayless. "It's a great event and I'm glad to be a part of it."
For Grizzlies CEO and Managing Partner Jason Levien, his first Grizz Gala also was his first event with St. Jude.
"It means a lot because the second day I was on the job with the Grizzlies I went to visit St. Jude and I was blown away," said Levien.
"I was blown away by the work they're doing, just by the campus, by the way they treat their patients. It was incredible. To have a tiny little role in helping them, it means a