Gala Chairs Aaron and Sandee LaPedis, Honorary Chair Arlene Mohler Johnson and master of ceremonies Karyn Buxman, RN, MSN, CSP, CPAE
Master of ceremonies Karyn Buxman, a nurse with plenty of other designations, led the program at Invisible Disabilities Association’s Awards Gala with laughter. She had the audience participating in giggles to guffaws. The neuro-humorist, whose speaking engagements have included the Air Force and Mayo Clinic, explained cutting-edge findings that support humor as not only healing, but empowering.
Getting into the 70’s spirit: Annie Mohler and patron Cyndy Marsh.
Since she serves on the advisory board of IDA, the Laugh Out Loud title was a natural. In addition, the culminating event was a belly-laugh performance by local comedian Sam Adams, who had a 25-year award-winning sports-journalist career before his first stand-up routine in 2001. His resume includes newspapers, magazines and TV, and in 2013 he authored a book. His delivery was refreshing. “Sports are my jelly beans,” he said. “Politics are my Brussels sprouts, and the two don’t mix.”
Title sponsor Fireplace Warehouse Etc. donated a great outdoor-room grill and fire-pit package for the live auction.
Eight honorees received awards. The 2017 recipients were: Perseverance– my Van Dyken-Rouen, Volunteer–Carrie Fell, Impact–Lucy Miller, Ph.D., OTR/L; Healthcare—Elizabeth Concordia, Inspiration–Wayne Brady; Founders – Dr. Susanne Cohen, Corporate, John Ikard and Invisible Heroes, Army Maj. Gen. Gale S. Pollack, Ret., who stole the audience’s hearts by staying true to her own tenet—be seen, be brief and be gone.
According to Wayne Connell, who founded IDA in honor of his wife Sherri, even though a patient’s appearance may not reveal their illness or pain, their daily battles are very real.
IDA provides encouragement education and connection to those afflicted: “At IDA, we believe that when the loneliness of illness and pain is overwhelming, laughter is really the great medicine and you just have to Laugh Out Loud!”
Mark Humphrey EVP Technology, from title sponsor Fireplace Warehouse Etc. and auctioneer Shelly St. John from Auction Divas.
Carrie Fell was the recipient of the Volunteer Award.
Army Maj. Gen. Gale S. Pollack, Ret., won the Invisible Heroes Award.
Invisible Disabilities Association President & CEO Wayne Connell with Tai Prohaska from Allsup, loyal sponsor eight years, and comedian Sam Adams.
Dr. Susanne Cohen who won the Founders Award, with Wayne Connell
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