It’s full speed ahead for the 2018 edition of Laugh Yourself Blue, the annual fundraising gala for Firefly Autism. And the bar has been raised over any of Firefly’s past galas, particularly with the names gracing the list of active chairs and honorary chairs for the event. None are strangers to Denver’s philanthropic community, including John Farnam of The Morgridge Family Foundation, and husband Paul Heitzenrater; Kelly Hume-Hodges of the Melvin & Elaine Wolf Foundation; Frederick Cherbuck of The Salah Foundation, and his partner, Wes Olivas. This will be the second time chairing the event for Hodges, and the third time for Farnam and Heitzenrater, who were 2016 recipients of one of Firefly’s Luminescence awards, given to outstanding members of Denver’s philanthropic community. Last year, Cherbuck and his sister, Megan Fearnow, were also Luminescence award recipients.
The list of honorary chairs is equally impressive, highlighted by longtime Firefly supporters Sam & Nancy Gary; Sandy Wolf, also of the Melvin & Elaine Wolf Foundation; Denver restauranteur Pam Savage Simms, owner of the popular S. Broadway eatery, Gozo; and Nancy Koontz, of Black Tie Colorado . Wolf and The Garys were also recipients of a Luminescence award in 2017.
“We couldn't be more excited about our chairs for this year’s gala,” said Firefly Executive Director, Jesse Ogas. “It just keeps getting better and better every year, and this one is going to be our biggest and best yet.”
Laugh Yourself Blue offers a different twist on the traditional non-profit gala faire, using a comedic theme to help raise awareness about autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This year’s gala will feature a rising star in the world of comedy, Michael McCreary, who has Asperger’s Syndrome. McCreary uses his comedy to help the public understand that autism doesn’t have to be viewed as dark and ominous. He says, “I like to help people learn that we laugh, just like everyone else.” His slogan is, “Do these pants make my Asperger’s look big?”
Headlining the evening will be southern funny gal Karen Mills, known for her appearances on the late-night circuit shows, as well as America’s Got Talent, among many others. Both Mills and McCreary are excited to be a part of Laugh Yourself Blue, which has grown to become one of Denver’s top ten favorite galas. This year’s event happens on Thursday, April 12 at the Seawell Grand Ballroom. Tickets and tables go on sale Monday, January 15, and can be purchased at www.firefly18.gesture.com.
Laugh Yourself Blue is presented by Walmart. Other sponsors include: Platinum Sponsor, Target; Gold Sponsor, The Melvin & Elaine Wolf Foundation; Silver Sponsors, Peak Properties Group, Schomp Automotive, and Process Control Dynamics; and Bronze Sponsors, Metropolitan State University of Denver, The Sawaya Law Firm, Susan Griffith, Pepsi, and Eventful Productions, Inc. Media Sponsors, KUSA-TV/9News and Mile High Outdoor.
Firefly Autism is Colorado’s leading treatment center for children and families living with autism. Formed in 2003, the Denver-based organization offers applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy, and is now one of America’s most respected facilities of its kind. Since its inception, Firefly has transformed the lives of thousands of children and their family members. For more information about Firefly, visit their website at www.fireflyautism.org.