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Dec 18

Game Changer gala raises $3.3 million to benefit Answer ALS and Team Gleason

Celebrities, musicians, researchers and patients joined forces to help empower people living with ALS while working to end the disease.

The Game Changer Gala, benefitting Team Gleason and Answer ALS, the single largest coordinated ALS research project lead by the Packard Center, was held at the Sheraton Grand Seattle on Friday, November 9. Celebrities, people living with ALS, musicians, business and tech leaders, and ALS stakeholders all joined in for the inaugural event that hosted over 700 people.

The extraordinary event raised $3.3 million to help empower people living with ALS through Team Gleason, while seeking a treatment or cure through the efforts of Answer ALS. While the funds are critical to the work of both organizations, the event’s important message was “Together, To Answer ALS”.

“I want to thank everyone who attended for taking a stand with us,” said Steve Gleason, founder of Team Gleason and the inspiration behind Answer ALS. “Your presence, your investment, your support, along with your strength and will, is what will change the game,” he continued. “Being a game changer is about standing, when the opportunity presents itself. Together, we can make our biggest impact. Together, we can change the game.”

From the beginning of the event with a spoken word performance by artist Tia Yarbrough, coupled with Judith Hill’s cover of Aretha Franklin’s “A Change is Gonna Come,” the inspirational tone of the night was set. Hosted by Harry Connick, Jr., the gala featured Macklemore, Mike McCready, Lord Huron, Preservation Hall Jazz Band with Joseph, Brandi Carlile, Stone Gossard, Chad Smith, Josh Klinghoffer, DaNell Damon and the Greater Works Choir, and more. NBC’s Peter King and CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux also added to the event.

The inaugural gala’s success is also attributed to strong partners like Presenting Sponsor, Aviators Against ALS, and other key sponsors, American Airlines, Boeing, Microsoft, Gates Ventures, Vitology, Stay Strong Against ALS, Caterpillar, The Fishman Family, Altavair, Spirit Aerosystems and many more.

  • Singer-songwriter Judith Hill’s cover of Aretha Franklin’s “A Change is Gonna Come,” set an inspirational tone.

  • Packard Center founder Jeff Rothstein (right) with Team Gleason president Paul Varisco (left).

  • Musician Mike McCready and signer Brandi Carlile perform.

  • Peter Warlick, founder of Aviators Against ALS, celebrates with his family.

  • Answer ALS Advisory Board Chair Ed Rapp (second from right), daughter Stefanie Rapp Pera, Ryan Jone (second from left) and Board Member Peter Foss (far right), celebrate with friends at the Game Changer Gala.

  • Clive Svendsen, Co-Director of the Answer ALS Research Project and CNN reporter and ALS advocate Suzanne Malveaux moderate a panel discussion on ALS research.

  • Answer ALS project manager Betsy Mosmiller (left) and Packard Center director Emily Baxi (right) walk the red carpet at the Game Changer Gala.