By: Christian John Lillis
On Friday, November 3rd, Peggy Lillis Foundation (PLF) held its 14th Annual Changing the Odds Gala at 26 Bridge in Brooklyn, New York. This year’s Gala raised over $110,000 to support PLF’s programs, making it our most successful fundraiser ever.
This year, 120 guests joined us to celebrate PLF’s progress in combating C. diff and recognize three outstanding honorees: Dr. Sahil Khanna, Dr. Kevin Garey, and Pamela McCollister. We continued with our casino theme from last year with several fun games and prizes for the top three “gamblers.”
Co-founders Christian John Lillis and Liam Lillis opened the Gala by welcoming guests and celebrating the recent FDA approval of two microbiome restoration therapies for recurrent C. diff infections. They then reviewed PLF’s most significant accomplishments over the last year, including:
- Reaching 16 million people with our 2022 “See C. diff” campaign,
- Convening the first-ever Food & Drug Administration Patient Listening Session this past March,
- Launching a brand-new website at Cdiff.org designed and built by Monday Loves You, and
- The exponential growth of PLF’s media coverage, reaching tens of millions of Americans, with coverage in AARP, WebMD, US News & World Report, Inside Health Policy, Pharmacy Times, and ContagionLive.
We then held a moment of silence to recognize the passing of longtime C. diff advocate Lisa Neudecker, Peggy’s brother-in-law Brian Morgan, a passionate supporter of PLF, and all who lost their lives to preventable infections.
Following the moment of silence, Dr. Stephanie Otis delivered welcome remarks from the Gala’s Lead Sponsor, Ferring Pharmaceuticals. Then, our 2022 Advocate Award recipient Kee Kee Buckley introduced this year’s honoree, Pam McCollister. Pam’s acceptance speech, which included parts of her battle with C. diff and the work she’s done as an advocate, kept the guests riveted and brought tears to the eyes of many.
Next, Tricia Brown, marketing director for Nestle Health Science, the Gala’s Lead Sponsor with Seres Therapeutics, introduced the Innovator Award to Dr. Kevin Garey. Dr. Garey has long been a leader in C. diff research. His disease-specific quality of life measure, the Cdiff32, is a major step in assessing the socioemotional impact of C. diff infections.
Our 2023 Leadership Award was presented by Jennifer Accumanno and Dr. Kelly Daily of Ferring Pharmaceuticals to Dr. Sahil Khanna of the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Khanna directs the Consultative Gastroenterology Interest group, C. difficile Clinic, Fecal Microbiota Transplantation program, and C. difficile related Clinical Trials at Mayo Clinic, including trials for the recently approved microbiome restoration therapies.
We are grateful to all who attended. We are also grateful to the Gala’s sponsors Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Nestle Health Science and Seres Therapeutics, Merck, Pizer, Acurx Pharmaceuticals, Vedanta Bioscience, Crestone, Medscape and Paratek Pharmaceuticals. The 2023 Changing the Odds Gala was a banner success, and we are pleased to have once again brought together our friends and allies in the name of fighting C. diff.