Santa’s Elves holiday challenge raises more than $245,000 for pediatric sarcoma research
The annual fundraiser for MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital goes virtual, breaks records in 2020
The 15th annual Santa’s Elves fundraiser hosted by Paige, Michael and Patrick Fertitta in December 2020 raised more than $145,000 to benefit pediatric sarcoma research at MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital. In lieu of the elaborate fundraising event they traditionally host at their River Oaks estate, the family issued a challenge — to match donations dollar-for-dollar up to $100,000. Their match generated a final donation of more than $245,000.
Although supporters were unable to enjoy the Fertittas’ generous hospitality amid the usual festive decorations, lavish food buffet, merry carolers, and live reindeer grazing in a pile of snow, their meaningful donations will help fund important research that can benefit patients and families for years to come.
“I am grateful to all who donated amidst so much confusion and doubt in the world of 2020,” says Paige Fertitta, philanthropist and business woman. “It is a testament to the generosity of this city and the lifesaving research of MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital.”
Jeanne Spedale, a featured speaker at last year’s event, and husband, Gerry, created additional momentum by bringing forth a lead gift of $50,000. “We believe in the research being done at MD Anderson to discover increasingly hopeful treatments for children with pediatric sarcomas. We’re excited to seize this wonderful opportunity to double the impact of our contribution towards those heroic efforts,” says Spedale. “We extend our sincere gratitude to the doctors and nurses who cared for our daughter during her battle with sarcoma.”
Santa’s Elves spread holiday cheer
The money raised from this year’s fundraiser is the highest dollar amount donated to MD Anderson in the history of Houston Santa’s Elves, and brings the 15-year total to more than $1.3 million in support of important research and innovative care for pediatric cancer patients.
“We are thankful for the continued commitment of the Fertitta family and their many supporters,” says Richard Gorlick, M.D., division head and chair of pediatrics at MD Anderson. “The generous funds raised will help us better care for our patients and offer treatments that provide the best outcomes.”
While this year’s donation match challenge was a success, the Fertitta family is hoping the 2021 Santa’s Elves event will be an opportunity to once again celebrate the holidays in person as they continue their commitment to raise funds for pediatric cancer research.