Sunday, June 15, 2008
Woman Of The Year
"I did it!! I did it!! I can't believe I did it!!" Chartese Burnett shouted, over and over through her tears.
She had worked hard for this honor. Ms Burnett, Vice President Of Communications for Our Washington Nationals was overwhelmed after being named The 2008 Woman of The Year by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society National Capital Region this past Saturday Night at Mellon Auditorium in The District of Columbia.
Without a second thought, Sohna and I were on hand to support her efforts. In fact, many of her closest friends and colleagues from Washington's Baseball Team posted up to show their appreciation at this Black Tie Optional Affair. This was a Ladies' Night like no other. The African Queen and I also pleased to visit with Ms. Chatter and her husband--also supporting Chartese this evening. Remember, this event was about more than baseball.
And what a fine evening this became for Chartese Burnett and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. A Reception and Silent Auction. Dinner followed by a Live Auction and the introduction of all 16 Men & Women up for the 2008 Titles. 8 ladies and 8 gentlemen composed the finalists. And there were some very touching moments--including the honor of meeting two small children--Hannah McNeal (Age 7) & Hunter Ruderman (Age 8)--awarded for their fight to beat this dreaded disease as the 2008 Girl & Boy Of The Year.
Just a few short days ago--Chartese was kind enough to sit down with Sohna and I to discuss her life as a cancer survivor. Since virtually the very first moments she was diagnosed with a blood cancer in 1999--Ms. Burnett has been fighting back and giving back. A passion developed about service to others. A cause to help raise awareness of Leukemia and Lymphoma sickening many adults and children alike. Who doesn't know someone affected in their inner circle. Cancer knows no boundaries.
For the past 10 weeks, Chartese "competed" (if you will--although she will tell you any money raised is important) against seven other women from The Greater Washington, DC area fundraising for their causes. Working the phones, asking friends and even getting Ryan Zimmerman to go out on a date with a high bidder in a Charity Auction--Ms. Burnett pushed forward to give back some more--once again.
Despite working a full time job with Our Washington Nationals; putting in many long hours helping open New Nationals Park; and not alot of free time--Chartese Burnett raised nearly $80,000 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Washington, DC. A Healthy Sum which was good enough for The Society to name her their 2008 Woman Of The Year.
To say the least, Chartese was overwhelmed by the moment. Her husband, Paul, very, very proud. Many watery eyes among her friends. A circle of closeness shared in this very touching moment on Saturday Night.
Congratulations Chartese for being The 2008 Woman of The Year! The African Queen and I are very proud of you!! And most honored to be standing by your side for this wonderful moment. You gave all of us Tears of Joy.
PS: Jim Galvanek--in his 10th year as a Leukemia Survivor was named 2008 Man of The Year. Mr. Galvanek (a triathlete) had quite the following at the affair. He raised over $160,000. By far the highest total of the 16 finalists.
Together--these Men and Women raised nearly $800,000 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society National Capital Area Chapter. Quite the tally for just 10 short weeks of work.
Finally, Sohna and I had quite the fun table at The Dinner. Lisa & Andrew Lang, fellow Season Ticket Holders for Our Washington Nationals and Big Contributors to many Charity Events were on hand. Andrew cracked us up--when he expressed his joy over meeting and sitting with The African Queen. Andrew a big fan of Nats320. The Lang's were enjoyable all evening. And we enjoyed their company. They were great.
The same holds true for Kate Grinold--The Newly Crowned Miss District of Columbia--guest of Barbra Silva--Director Community Relations for Our Washington Nationals. Kate, also seated with us, will represent Our Nation's Capital this fall in Las Vegas at The Miss America Pageant. Good Luck Kate!!
Finally--check out The Ketel One Vodka Bar. Quite the attention getter inside Mellon Auditorium. You name the Martini--or vodka drink--you got it. Very cool.