October 17, 2015, Who is amy? held their 10th Annual event for amyloidosis at the Redline Gallery on Arapahoe Street in Denver. This event was held in honor of Janet Richardson-Baughman to help raise funds to continue research which will help find a cure for this disease and to help with awareness efforts. The Gala raised in excess of $20,000 to continue these efforts and will be distributed to various areas of the medical community to include an educational seminar for medical students at Georgetown University School of Medicine’s Grand Rounds, and the amyloidosis research fund at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Approximately 200 people joined family and friends of Janet Richardson-Baughman and Michael Cooper at the gala. Janet Richardson-Baughman an artist, equestrian and devoted mother, who was known internationally, suffered from amyloidosis and lost her fight with this horrible disease on October 29, 2014. Janet’s daughters Jennifer and Amy, who live in Colorado, and Jessica, who lives out of state, were in attendance at the event and gave a very special emotional tribute to their mother. Jennifer and Amy have joined forces with the Coopers to help with this cause, which will also help educate the medical community on how to properly diagnose patients with amyloidosis.
The event was bittersweet as Janet’s Daughters, accompanied by Dr. Marina Ramirez-Alvarado from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, notified everyone of Mike Cooper’s death on October 13, 2015, just four days from the Gala. Mike’s daughters Shelley Cooper Kon, Sarah, Becca and their friend Michele Wilson founded the organization when their father was diagnosed. Mike is known for his being a grass-roots community organizer in Denver, a volunteer and a Federal IRS attorney. Most of all he was a dedicated father of his three daughters.
Dr. Marina Ramirez-Alvarado gave a powerful presentation on the disease and how she and others at the Mayo Clinic are working very hard to find any information which could lead to better treatments, new medications, less side effects and to develop educational materials for victims and their families. She spoke of many websites and places, with local meetings, where victims, family members and friends can communicate, vent, gain support and express their feelings without being judged. She wants to help them lead better lives as they wait for a cure with nearly 3,000 people being properly diagnosed annually. She also expressed her intense passion and devotion in dealing with the disease and those diagnosed with it, which was felt and seen by all with her non-verbal and verbal responses, appearing as if she was running for a political office.
The gallery was full of artworks by various artists featured in the galleries’ current exhibit called Jokes of Nature, curated by Donald Fodness and Geoffrey Shamos. There were also items of all different kinds to bid on in the silent auctions including artworks by Janet Richardson-Baughman, her husband John Baughman and other distinguished artists which aided in the raising of more than $20,000.
The Cooper and Richardson-Baughman families would like to express their sincere gratitude for those who were able to attend, make donations and support the organization and Gala.
There were several sponsors for the event which include Noodles and Company, Tony P’s, Mondo Vino, RedLine Gallery, VaVa Bloom and Oskar Blues.
About Who is amy?
Who is amy? was started when the Cooper sisters, Shelley, Sarah, Becca and their best friend Michele Wilson, started seeing the Cooper’s Father’s, Mike Cooper, health started deteriorating to a life threatening level, having blood-type rashes, weight gain and trigger finger. After seeing many doctors and being treated for heart problems he finally underwent a heart biopsy which showed he has Amyloidosis. Mike underwent a special bone marrow transplant which saved his life but did not cure him of the disease.
For information on amyloidosis, to make a donation, support or volunteer to help Who is amy? click here.
Medical research of amyloidosis is limited, there is currently no cure. Amyloidosis is a debilitating and fatal disease. Unhealthy proteins are deposited in the organs and tissues, creating irreversible damage. The walls of the heart and the tissues of the lungs are often attacked first. Amyloidosis affects the body’s organs. Amyloidosis sufferers have trouble breathing, walking short distances, experience chest pain, and have all around poor health. Because there is no cure, chemotherapy and stem cell transplant are often used to treat the disease. These leave permanent side effects such as drug dependency, nerve damage, and heart failure.
For more information about Amyloidosis click here.
To see a video slide show of the Gals click here.