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On May 24, Rockit Bar & Grill hosted the fifth annual “Rescue Our Angels” Fundraiser with special guest and Chicago native, Jenny McCarthy. The fundraiser and live auction—featuring 2013 Grammy tickets, Chef for a Day with Graham Elliott and VIP Lollapalooza tickets, and much more—benefited Generation Rescue, a non-profit organization providing assistance for families affected by autism. McCarthy became involved with Generation Rescue in 2005 after her son Evan was diagnosed with autism, and in 2008, Jenny became president of the organization in an effort to help the thousands of families facing the same struggles.
“When [my son] Evan was first diagnosed with autism, the doctor said, ‘There’s really nothing much you can do.’ So I cried, went home, Googled the word autism and found this website called Generation Rescue,” McCarthy tells CheekyChicago. “And when I got on the site, it was all this information from doctors and parents with tips and treatments. So I treated Evan and he got better. And then I thought, okay, it’s time to pay it forward. I need to make this so huge that every parent knows that help is available.”
And Generation Rescue definitely pays it forward. Each year, the organization helps more than 25,000 families affected by autism by providing educational support and medical assistance, directly improving children’s quality of life.
“We’re now in 38 countries and we’re the only organization that’s funding families who are low income that want to treat their kids,” McCarthy says. “It’s important to be able to offer that service to them.”
Fundraisers like “Rescue Our Angels” make these services a possibility for families. The event’s founders, Michele and Pete Doyle, began “Rescue Our Angels” in 2008 to honor their daughter Caelan, who was diagnosed with autism in November of 2006. Caelan, who is now 10, has responded positively to treatments. This year, the Chicago-based event raised over $80,000 to help Generation Rescue give grants to families who could not afford treatments for their children.
As for the event taking place in Chicago, McCarthy says it feels like coming home each year: “Chicago is where I’m from. I miss it. I love it. I can’t get enough of it. I love coming back.”