With 650 guests and 29 Bears players in attendance, the 23rd annual Bears Care Gala last Saturday night at the United Club in Soldier Field was a rousing success.
Bears players on hand included Trey Burton, Tarik Cohen, Kyle Fuller, Taylor Gabriel, Eddie Jackson, Charles Leno Jr., Kyle Long, Pat O'Donnell, Allen Robinson II, Mitchell Trubisky and Cody Whitehair, among others.
Former Bears in attendance were Anthony "Spice" Adams, Matt Forte, Dan Hampton, Jay Hilgenberg and Tom Thayer. Bears executives and coaches also were at the black-tie affair.
Through the annual Gala, Bears Care has been able to award over $14.5 million in grants to Chicago-area research efforts focused on finding a cure for breast and ovarian cancer and improving treatment options for those currently battling these diseases.
With funds generated at this year's event, Bears Care will look to award over $600,000 to its research partners.
New this year, the "Orange Carpet" was hosted by Chicago natives and NFL Network "Good Morning Football" hosts Kay Adams and Kyle Brandt. Jeff Joniak served as emcee and auctioneer of the Gala and was joined by his radio and TV partners, Thayer and Adams.
Auction items included a cruise on the Chicago River for eight with Burton, executive suites for the Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift concerts at Soldier Field and a week in a luxury apartment in Paris. One lucky group won a tour of the Bears locker room led by first-year coach Matt Nagy—and were joined by some of the team's offensive linemen.
Bears Care also auctioned off seven first-edition prints of the "Monsters of the Midway" comic heroes via the Bears Care Auction feature within the free Chicago Bears Official App brought to you by Verizon. Each 22"x26" framed print is signed by the player and artist. Player heroes include Cohen, Jackson, Trubisky, Leonard Floyd, Akiem Hicks and Jordan Howard. The seventh print features the "Monsters of the Midway" bear, which is signed by Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher.
A second Bears Care auction item available through the app includes a trip for two to New York featuring tickets to the Dec. 2 game at the New York Giants and a tour of NFL Network's "Good Morning Football" set and NFL Experience Times Square. NFL Experience is a first-of-its-kind live action attraction, combining interactive games, content and a state-of-the-art 4D theater that brings fans closer than ever to the game and their favorite teams.
Three of the prints and the trip are still available for bidding via the Chicago Bears Official App through May 22.
Bears Care was incorporated in 2005 as a 501 © 3 organization committed to improving the quality of life for people in the Chicagoland community, especially disadvantaged children and their families. Bears Care supports targeted programs in the areas of education, youth athletics, and medical research and health awareness programs focusing on breast and ovarian cancer.