Propel A Cure Plans February Fundraiser

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(Contributed Photo)

    In July 2014 when her son Antony was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, Annabelle Hall, founder of the non-profit organization Propel A Cure, realized she had work to do: “When your child becomes so ill, with future compromised, a whole different mindset takes over.” 
    Although Hall and her husband Andre Gout knew nothing about the disease prior to their son’s illness, they poured their energy into learning about the disease. Crohn’s Disease currently afflicts 1.2 million Americans and 2.3 million Europeans. When Hall realized there is no cure for Crohn’s, she was incredulous.  “I quickly realized if I wanted to live to see the day my son was cured, I had to help do something about it.”
    Hall created Propel A Cure to raise funds for research and promote education about the disease. The group will host a Mardi Gras fundraiser on Feb. 23 from 6 p.m. – midnight at Santa Maria Church, 40 Santa Maria Way in Orinda.
    She explains the gala evening includes dinner prepared by a French chef who garnered rave reviews from last year’s Mardi Gras event. Other activities include wine tasting, three bands, dancing, and live and silent auctions. Tickets to the event are $100, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to funding innovative research leading to a cure for Crohn’s disease.
    Hall is grateful to local businesses who donated many auction items for the upcoming gala, such as restaurant gift cards including Casa Orinda, Siam Orchid, Peet’s Coffee and Tea and Republic of Cake, live theater and concert tickets, hotel stays in Napa and Tahoe, kayaking in Santa Cruz, electric bike riding in Monterey, whale watching, paintings and a bi-plane ride. Other local businesses that have donated to the event include: Alma Music, Atma Yoga, Cal Shakes, Smiley Nail Spa and Entourage Spa. “We’ve also received a super generous donation from Epicurean Exchange and Village Associates,” adds Hall.
     “People fighting this horrific, debilitating disease are amazing warriors, true survivors often suffering in silence. I have also learned that courage is in all of us,” Hall exclaims. Fighting Crohn’s Disease alongside her son and family has taught the family a lot according to the Orinda mom: “Because of its nature, it is a lonely disease, and those who are ill are reluctant to share that they have it. We refuse, however, to believe that a cure is not possible. Therefore, we will continue to spread the word, seek support and fund promising research.”
    Hall explains, “Most people know it is a terrible disease, even if they don’t know much about it. They seem to understand viscerally that it is something bad.” She is happy that the awareness in the community is growing, and she educates people on Crohn’s by speaking to groups such as Orinda Woman’s Club and Rotary as well as raising funds for research. 
    Hall notes the organization’s name was suggested by a woman in Australia: “Propel a Cure – it is active like planes propelling through the air or boats through the water. Through our efforts, we are propelling a cure forward.”
    Hall teamed with two other Orinda moms whose children have Crohn’s, Dina Fiatarone and Christine Pitt, to raise over $30,000 last year by hosting a Mardi Gras gala for vaccine research. She hopes this year’s Propel A Cure’s efforts are equally successful.
    To learn more about Propel a Cure or to purchase tickets, visit Propelacure.org, or write propelacure@gmail.com or call 925-528-9559.

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