Recap: Premier Black Tie Gala a Smashing Success

Foles encourages continued fundraising efforts, recognizes local hero

The Chase Center on the Riverfront was sold out on Friday February 15th as over 500 guests attended the Leukemia Research Foundation of Delaware’s 12thAnnual Black Tie Gala. The one hundred percent volunteer driven nonprofit credited it’s record breaking attendance to the dedication of its volunteers and to the continued sponsorship from some of the largest businesses in the Tri-State area. 

With 150 auction items, ranging from small gift baskets to courtside tickets for a 76ers game, guests enjoyed cocktails, bidding, and the comradery of being a part of a very prominent guest list. Cocktails were followed by a formal dinner and short program during which time Executive Director Denni Ferrara candidly spoke about her experience with cancer and of the many milestones the foundation had reached in the past few years. The LRFDE is currently fulfilling their second one-million-dollar grant to Nemours A.I DuPont Hospital, and was honored to have Patient Unit 3 East of the Hospital named in their honor last December. Ferrara also acknowledged the ongoing support of Cassidy Painting, the Presenting Sponsor for past 12 years. More specifically, the Cassidy Family was thanked for going above and beyond during the 2018 Gala that ended in a loss of power from a severe winter storm. 

Utilizing a play on words, Ferrara and the 2019 Gala Committee asked guests to continue to “be the light” in the lives of those affected by cancer. In the eyes of one guest in particular, the Leukemia Research Foundation of Delaware fulfilled that role. Julia Wise, a 24-year-old Delaware native who is courageously living with stage IV metastatic cancer, joined Ferrara on stage to receive a gift of a lifetime. In a recorded message, Super bowl Champion Nick Foles acknowledged the work of the Leukemia Research Foundation of Delaware and encouraged guests to continue with their efforts. Foles then spoke directly to Wise, stating he was humbled by her courage and fight. Wise, in disbelief, was presented with a custom jersey with Foles number and a loud applause from guests. 

The Leukemia Research Foundation of Delaware raised an astonishing $300,000 from the five-hour event. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the 12thAnnual Premier Black Tie Gala go directly to fund cutting-edge blood cancer research. As a volunteer driven organization, the LRFDE prides itself on having no administrative fees and has continued to be an advocate for transparency in the non-profit community. 

Highlights of 2019

Sponsor Spotlight: An inside look at tomorrow evenings Presenting Sponsor, Cassidy Painting

For the past twelve years, (yes – you read that correctly – TWELVE years) Cassidy Painting has proudly been the Presenting Sponsor of the Leukemia Research Foundation of Delaware’s Premier Black Tie Gala.

What began as a friendship with the foundations Executive Director and her family, has now become an unbreakable bond that is the epitome of love, dedication, and teamwork. Months prior to tomorrow nights 12th Annual Black Tie Gala, the Cassidy Family and their renowned painting and graphics companies, began their planning. Signs, banners, decor, and an astonishing $25,000 sponsorship level has continued to make the Cassidy Family’s dedication to funding cutting-edge blood cancer research nothing short of unbelievable.

For over 25 years, Cassidy Painting has provided the East Coast with unmatched quality and customer service within their industry. From high profile commercial buildings to large industrial complexes, customers go to Cassidy Painting when they need reliable, experienced professionals and innovative solutions to meet their individual project needs.

Located in Newport, DE, Cassidy Painting has served thousands of businesses throughout the mid-Atlantic region and along the entire East Coast. Their services include but are not limited to, commercial painting, industrial coatings, fireproofing, sandblasting services, and fleet/automotive refinishing.

In addition to supporting the Leukemia Research Foundation of Delaware and managing their businesses, the Cassidy and Horney families welcomed their own little additions a few months ago. Luke and Beau Horney are proudly the newest members of the Black Tie Gala Committee!

For more information on Cassidy Painting and Graphics, please visit their website at

Sponsor Spotlight: Reybold Group Donates 15K to Leukemia Research

We at the Leukemia Research Foundation of Delaware are proud to honor the Reybold Group for their continuous support of the LRFDE and for being a trusted partner with many organizations in the communities which they serve. Most recently, the Reybold Group generously donated an outstanding $15,000 to the LRFDE to aid in our mission of providing continuous funding to cutting-edge blood cancer research!!

In addition to their generous donation, the Reybold Group also designed and published a billboard promoting the foundation –  their powerful message in support of the LRFDE sits on RT.273 in Newark. 

It is an honor and a privilege to have the sponsorship of the Reybold Group, a leading provider in commercial and residential development. They, without a doubt, uphold the important value of giving back to their community and it is obvious that they share the same hopeful vision for the future that we do: a world without cancer. For that, we are forever grateful. 

Pictured Above: The billboard proof designed and donated by the Reybold Group – located on RT. 273 in Newark.

The Reybold Group is a multi-faceted and integrated company with 50 years’ real estate experience. Their ultimate vision is to continuously improve the quality of life (live, work, play) in the region. To achieve their goal, Reybold has invested in and developed several business units including:

> Construction
> Residential Leasing
> New Residential Sales
> Commercial Leasing
> Construction Technologies

Each division’s management objectives highlight safety and a commitment to excellence. Accordingly, they carefully design each project surpassing existing code and Green standards; vet and select local merchants who supply the best materials and qualified labor, providing cost savings in the processes that they share with their customers; develop relationships with their customers assuring satisfaction and excellence in the customer experience; invest in the region’s good works improving the quality of living and working throughout New Castle County; and furnish and support vital jobs that support the local economy.

For more information on the Reybold Group please click here.


“Powerless”: A note from a LRFDE Volunteer

Anytime after the ball drops on New Year’s Eve should be considered “Gala Season”. The behind the scenes work is some of the most exhausting and equally most rewarding volunteer work I’ve ever done. Between spreadsheets, media posts, and the running to-do lists, you will find laughter, excitement, and a dose or ten of sushi to keep us energized. Yet even after crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s some things end up out of our control. After losing power in the late afternoon I would be lying if I said my heart didn’t sink a little. I lost track of the questions running through my head about the ways in which it was still possible to pull the evening off.

Under battery operated lights guests started to funnel in. I welcomed one woman in particular who changed the course of my whole evening. After handing her a program book, I invited her to grab a drink and reiterated that we would be “up and rolling” with generators shortly. She then looked at me, just as calmly as if she had walked into a fully lit and heated room, and said “Hey, I survived cancer… This. Is. Nothing. The show goes on.”

It was then that I stopped and noticed my surroundings. Mr. Cassidy who should’ve been in a tuxedo, was in a work jacket. Mrs. Ferrara remained focused under the pressure of hosting 450 guests and the need to raise funds, especially given the circumstances. Nina Warren and Kari Mayhew planned registration without a computer system. Countless amounts of volunteers asked “where can I be of service”. Teamwork. Resilience. Positivity. All of this was evident on Friday night. I couldn’t help but notice how the power of community is essential to moving forward. I took note of the resiliency of those volunteers who overcame one “road block” only to hit another, but kept working to make the 2018 Gala a success. Not once was anyone on our team not positive, and if they were internally worried, they remained upbeat and professional.

I’ve never had cancer, nor have I had a family member who has. While the circumstances of Friday seemed heartbreaking at times, I was reminded that, in the scheme of things, the surface stuff doesn’t matter. I was reassured that what seemed big to me in the moment was nothing in comparison to the power of people, of their resiliency, and of positivity. What perspective a cancer survivor can give. I feel privileged to have checked that understanding woman in. She doesn’t know how important she was to me in that moment.

In the words of Robert Longyear during Friday night’s program: “funding research matters, because people matter”.

Anonymous LRFDE Volunteer 

Pictured Above: LRFDE Volunteer, Ava Ferrara, sleeps in front of the Deerfield Country Club fireplace at 2AM with News Journal article about a trial drug funded by LRFDE to her right.

Cassidy Painting: Presenting Sponsor For 2018 Black Tie Gala!

We are honored and grateful to announce that Cassidy Painting has generously committed to being our 2018 Black Tie Gala Presenting Sponsor! Cassidy Painting’s $25,000 dollar sponsorship aids in making the LRFDE Black Tie Gala the first class event we strive for it to be. We could not raise the funds we do without the generous support from businesses like Cassidy Painting!

The Cassidy Family has generously sponsored our Premier Black Tie Gala EVERY YEAR since it’s debut in 2008. They have also been presenting sponsors for the Delaware Mud Run, and the Delaware Mud Run Jr. Their contributions over the past eleven years total more than 1 million dollars. 

For over 25 years, Cassidy Painting has provided the East Coast with unmatched quality and customer service within their industry. From high profile commercial buildings to large industrial complexes, customers come to them when they need reliable, experienced professionals and innovative solutions to meet their individual project needs. Their services include but are not limited to, commercial painting, industrial coatings, fireproofing, sandblasting services, and fleet/automotive refinishing. 

For more information about Cassidy Painting, please visit

Independence School Goes Gold For A Cure!

The Independence School Student Government Association proudly supported our efforts of funding research by “Going Gold” on Friday January 19th, 2018. The student body participated in a “dress down day” to raise awareness for cancer research and concluded their day with a gold themed dance in the gymnasium. Strobe lights, great music, good food and awesome door prizes made for an exciting evening! Independence School donated a grand total of $1,285!!

We are so grateful to build working relationships with students like the Independence School, who support our mission and believe in our dedication, to give one hundred percent of every dollar to research. 

Many thanks to the Student Government Association and advisors Tanya Godsey and Mr. Raab for all of their hard work! 

Nemours Inspiration Award & Our One Million Dollar Grant

On Wednesday, December 13th, 2017 a few of our volunteers were honored to join a room full of health professionals, advocates, and members of other charitable causes at the Nemours Annual Donor Reception held at the DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, Delaware. That evening, we were also honored to have received the 2017 Nemours Inspiration Award for our dedication to providing ongoing funding for cutting edge blood cancer research. Upon receiving the award, President and Founder of the LRFDE, Denni Ferrara, spoke candidly about her own experience with childhood cancer and the capacity of the human spirit with it’s ability to not just endure times of suffering, but to blossom from it. She credited her family’s resiliency to the health professionals and friends that surrounded them when her daughter was battling leukemia, and said that the same selflessness and compassion is what she sees in the volunteers of the LRFDE. 

Prior to the Donor Reception, we were joined by a small group of Doctors and Executives from the hospital (who have truly become friends through our common goal) to present another one million dollar grant to Nemours Alfred I DuPont Hospital for Children. As we looked at which institutions to partner with for our next grant, the words “cutting edge blood cancer research” seemed to fit best when describing the scientists right here in our back yard. For the past 5 years the LRFDE has been in awe of the breakthroughs made by Dr. Kolb and the staff of Nemours. The launching of a clinical trial for a new immunotherapy drug is truly remarkable. Their dedication to fighting childhood cancer while attempting to limit toxicity to the patients and their numerous other accomplishments coincide with our mission of advocating for advanced therapies and patient care. The Leukemia Research Foundation of Delaware is honored to support Nemours so that their historical breakthroughs in cutting edge blood cancer research will continue. 

As always, thank you to all of our sponsors, event participants and selfless volunteers for joining us in our mission. All of this, is because of you. 


With love & gratitude, 


Giving Tuesday signed into Proclamation

On a global day of giving, the Leukemia Research Foundation of Delaware was honored and privileged, to join representatives from an array of nonprofits during Delaware’s Proclamation signing of Giving Tuesday. We were also humbled and surprised, by the recognition of our Executive Director, Denni Ferrara, for her efforts in the promotion of charitable giving and volunteering through her selfless dedication, to providing ongoing funding, for blood cancer research.

Giving Tuesday is a global giving movement built by individuals and communities in the US and in countries around the world. On Giving Tuesday, millions of people come together to support and champion the causes they believe in, by donating and fundraising on their behalf. For more information on Giving Tuesday, please visit

We at the Leukemia Research Foundation of Delaware, strive to make everyday like November 28th. Through the continuous support from our volunteers and the dollars donated at our events, we believe in finding a cure and in the power of community. Thank you to everyone who makes that possible. Today and everyday, we encourage you to believe in the power of giving. 

With love & gratitude, 



Believe Bears: bringing bear hugs to children with cancer

                                                We believe in community. We believe in hope, and we believe in finding a cure.

We are so very proud to announce our 2017 Holiday Campaign! In conjunction with Build-A-Bear Inc. and Nemours A.I Dupont Hospital for Children, Believe Bears are bringing bear hugs to children with cancer. For every bear purchased, one bear will be donated to a child with cancer. PLUS, as always, 100% of the proceeds benefit blood cancer research. It’s a win, win. 

Believe Bears come with a silk LRFDE Believe Ribbon, a mission statement tag, and thank you notes from the LRFDE and the staff of Nemours. 


To purchase your Believe Bear please visit our store