Science Cheerleader and SAVE JON: Second Annual Game Changer Gala!

Science Cheerleader Hilary here!

Recently, the Science Cheerleaders lent spirit and support at the 2016 Annual Game Changer Gala for SAVE JON at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA! Traveling from all corners of the country, Science Cheerleaders were thrilled to be back at the gala this year to support the amazing mission of SAVE JON, an organization that is making huge strides towards unraveling the mysteries of Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC). PSC is a disease that affects the bile duct and liver, and took the life of football great Walter Payton. In fact, that connection brought former NFL player, coach, and Hall of Famer Mike Ditka to the cause, and he signed on as one of the original SAVE JON executive board members. A proclamation from Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto that declared July 30 “Mike Ditka Day” highlighted the importance of the contributions of this legend to the cause and community!

Science Cheerleaders Summer, Brandi, Jo, and Hilary with Coach Mike Ditka at the second annual Game Changer Gala for SAVE JON

Science Cheerleaders Summer, Brandi, Jo, and Hilary with Coach Mike Ditka at the second annual Game Changer Gala for SAVE JON. Photo courtesy of S. Wagner.

Driven forward by the Boyette Family, SAVE JON brings all the components for success together, creating a unique research environment that fosters collaboration, rather than competition, to accelerate success. Spearheaded by the ambition and research talents of Dr. Lisa Boyette, MD/PhD along with research mentor Dr. Dietrich Stephan, the organization hopes to make novel treatments and aims to cure PSC in time to save the life of Jon Boyette, Lisa’s younger brother, a PSC patient, as well as other PSC patients and patients fighting complex rare diseases across the world.

The evening, complete with moving tales from PSC survivors including keynote speaker James Redford, performances from Broadway greats from shows such as Wicked and Les Miserables, and a raffle for a signed football from the 2015 Pittsburgh Steelers, was a great success, raising both awareness and funding to continue the ambitious and important mission of SAVE JON. Science Cheerleaders Melissa and Jo even helped live stream part of the program, using Google Glasses!

Science Cheerleaders Melissa and Jo help live steam at the 2016 Game Changer Gala using Google Glasses. Photo courtesy of M. Smithson.

Science Cheerleaders Melissa and Jo help live steam at the 2016 Game Changer Gala using Google Glasses. Photo courtesy of M. Smithson.

The Science Cheerleaders were thrilled to be included again in the evening’s programming, mirroring the values of collaboration in research and embracing the talents of those around you to promote real change in the world. Stay up-to-date on the happenings at SAVE JON at save-jon.org!