The community is invited to join friends and family on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. at The Chatham Orpheum for a fun evening to remember local fisherman Tom George by enjoying his favorite movie, “Jaws.”
The evening will be an opportunity to honor a man who was known for his humor, kindness, generosity, sense of adventure and love of the sea while raising money for ALS ONE, a local non-profit committed to finding a treatment or cure for ALS by 2020 while improving care now.
George passed away from ALS in January, but his memory and spirit live on in the lives of his wife, Rebecca Brown George, and the many friends and members of the community touched by George's friendly, philanthropic nature.
ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. A cure for the disease remains to be found. The disease emerged into the awareness of many through the Ice Bucket Challenge, the 2014 viral Internet campaign which helped raise millions of dollars for research, patient and community services and education.
Premiere items in the event's silent auction will be a unique opportunity to name a character in local bestselling author Lisa Genova's much-anticipated next novel, which focuses on ALS, along with a personal note of thanks for your contribution to ALS ONE in the book's acknowledgments; and a signed, framed painting of George's beloved boat Fisheye by well-known local artist Karol Wyckoff.
Carey Raimo, a close friend of the Georges, was inspired to help organize the event, though she had never attempted such a thing before.
“Tom loved philanthropy,” Raimo says. “This is a man who once turned a surprise birthday party into a fundraiser with a live and silent auction to raise money for cancer research. He was the person who would show up at every fundraiser and support anything that a friend was doing to make the community a better place. He loved silent auctions. I knew that an event like this, especially involving his favorite movie, 'Jaws,' would be right up his alley. My goals for this event are to honor Tom's spirit, and also to fill the theater, raise funds for this cause, and just have fun. We'll have a shark-themed photo booth. We want people to have a good time as we raise money for this very important cause.”
ALS ONE Executive Director Jen DiMartino is honored to be working toward the goal of improving care and services for those living with ALS as the organization works on finding a cure.
“I find it incredibly rewarding,” DiMartino says. “Of course this disease is sad and it is heartbreaking, but we are doing great things, and I have met the most extraordinary people with big hearts. We are grateful to be raising funds while paying tribute to someone dearly loved by family, friends and by his community.”
DiMartino explains that ALS ONE was founded by Kevin Gosnell last year to remedy the problem of researchers taking time away from their work to raise the desperately needed funds for ALS research. Gosnell was diagnosed with an aggressive form of ALS in May 2015, and passed away in August 2016.
“Researchers were limited by the fact that many spent as much as 50 percent of their time and effort outside their labs, fundraising in an effort to make their work possible. They were also isolated from each other, sometimes doing the same work. Kevin thought if we all collaborated and turned our efforts toward the same thing, while taking the researchers out of the fundraising aspect, we could find a cure for ALS by 2020, and that is our goal. Most of the funds we raise go toward research for a cure, and some goes to improve care for those living with ALS and their families.”
The doors will open for the event at 7 p.m. for a pre-movie reception, and “Jaws” will be shown at approximately 8:15 p.m. Tickets for the event are $60 and $100 for VIP tickets, which will include two complimentary drinks and a shark swag bag valued at more than $50. All tickets may be purchased either at www.chathamorpheum.org or at the Chatham Orpheum Theatre, located at 637 Main St. in Chatham.
For more information about ALS and about the organization ALS ONE, visit www.alsone.org.