SPECIAL FEATURE: The 10th Annual Carol Baldwin Gala
BY FARAH JADRAN
When you enter the Carol M. Baldwin Gala on Saturday, May 12, you will be surrounded by more than 800 members of the Central New York community. The gala, held at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, is now in its 10th year, a landmark that not only the Baldwin family is proud of, but its community is delighted as well.
For many people, the gala has been about attending as a survivor or honoring a loved one’s memory. However, as the CMB Breast Cancer Research Fund grew, and as events like the gala grew, the community gathered around this cause for one major reason, this is a local cause for breast cancer research. Because funds stay local, so many people feel closer to the fund’s mission. Now, the gala’s number of attendees continues to grow annually, and the reasons to attend are infinite.
With a personal mission to help find a cure for breast cancer and heart filled with pride for her friends who are survivors, community member Robin Cortese, says she will continue to attend the gala. In particular, Cortese met her good friend, Patti Muller, about five years ago when she was new in town. Not knowing much about Muller, other than she loved her “enthusiasm and lust for life,” she found that she would soon be a part of her new friend’s circle of support. “Never ever without a smile on her face, and as brave as she could be for everyone else,” Cortese said. “Patti Muller forged through with the help of others that had previously experienced this trying time.”
Soon after, Cortese was sitting at a table at the CMB Gala where half the participants stood up to be honored as survivors. “ I have the utmost respect for each of the women that I know who have fought like champs,” she said. “I attend the Gala because I support Patti Muller, Ann Marie Stonecypher, Cindy Bell, Loretta Taylor and Terre Slater. These women are each a force to reckon with.”
Like Cortese, the dedication to the fund and the support for family, friends and loved ones continues to resonate in the community. As a breast cancer survivor, Ann Marie Stonecypher says that events like the gala are important to her. Most of all, the CMB Fund’s loyalty to the community has been extraordinary. “It is nice to know that when
you make a donation to the organization it may actually reach someone you know,” said Stonecypher who applauds the fund’s commitment to the Syracuse community. In the same way, eight-year survivor Cindy Bell says the fund’s mission is what matters most. “Knowing many breast cancer survivors and being a survivor myself, it’s nice to know that CMB has our back,” said Bell. The gala has become an annual affair for Bell and her circle of friends that consists of both survivors and supporters.
The gala has also drawn longtime members of the board to stay involved and work toward finding a cure. Linda Drimer, who has served as secretary and president on the organization’s board in the past, says she “loves doing this.” Drimer co-chaired the gala when it first started 10 years ago and she continues to stay involved by helping with the gala’s very successful journal. “I love Carol [Baldwin] and her family,” Drimer said. Helping on different event committees has “always been easy” because of the love and respect she has for the Baldwin family.
No matter your reason, survivor, supporter or attending in someone’s honor, the 10th annual Carol M. Baldwin Gala is open to everyone that wants to see the Syracuse community find a cure, a cure that will save both women and men we love.