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Eighth Annual Promise Ball

An Enchanted Journey to the Cure

Story by Bill Bannister  | Photos by Baxter Buck

Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease that strikes both children and adults suddenly. It has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. There is nothing one can do to prevent it, and at present there is no cure. That’s where the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) comes in. JDRF is the leading global organization funding Type 1 diabetes research with the goal of creating a world where this disease no longer exists.

The West Tennessee chapter of JDRF held its biggest and most important annual fundraiser, The Promise Ball, at the Memphis Hilton. It was an elegant evening to remember. Approximately 450 people, who came from across the country to support JDRF in style, attended the ball. Glasses of champagne and fine chardonnay, along with mouth-watering hors d’oeuvres of bacon-wrapped scallops and chicken Wellington, greeted guests as they entered the hotel’s Grand Ballroom and made their way to the silent auction to place bids on a stunning array of treasures including fine jewelry, artwork and fine wines and spirits. Regions Bank donated a beautifully restored vintage bicycle. Additionally, there were scuba lessons from The Dive Shop, a football autographed by Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, a Bacardi Rum package, a premium bottle of Gentleman Jack Tennessee Whisky and a Tarpon Springs vacation package. Kendra Scott Jewelry was on hand with a jewelry pull and for a donation guests could try their hand at the Makers Mark Whiskey pull.

Dinner began with a mixed green salad with feta cheese and mandarin oranges along with candied pecans, followed by an entrée of grilled beef filet and katafi shrimp with jalapeno peach chutney. Desserts featured a flourless chocolate cake, panna cotta, and a “magic wand with pixie dust.”

Auctioneer Mark Drilling conducted the live auction that included items such as four tickets to see Justin Timberlake on his Man of The Woods tour, a VIP NFL experience for four at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, a one-week stay at the Palms of Perdido and an AKC registered yellow British Labrador puppy from Robert Milner’s Duckhill Kennels.

After the dinner and live auction, The Super 5 band took to the stage for a night of dancing to all-time party favorites. Celebrity emcee was Fox 13 news anchor Darrell Greene. JDRF Development Manager Katie Pickler said, “This year’s Promise Ball is in honor of Raj and Michelle Midha and their daughters Claire and Ellie. It was also held in memory of former Youth Ambassador Blac Hughes.” 

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