Virtual events mean unexpected drop-ins.
DKMS, a world leader in the fight against blood cancer and other blood disorders, hosted their annual gala on Sept. 17, but switched the usually in-person event to a virtual format for 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The gala raised over $3.5 million to help those affected by blood cancer.
Guests tuning in were treated to a musical performance by multiplatinum singer-songwriter LP, who was introduced by actress Jaime King. Hugh Jackman also joined the event for the gala's most emotional moment. Grady Smith, a 9-year-old Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) survivor met his stem cell donor, Jessica Carroll, for the first time. Carroll and Smith have been waiting to meet since Carroll made he donation in 2018. Jackman surprised both Carroll and Smith by popping into their meeting, and then Jackman's French bulldog surprised all of them by inviting himself to the special moment.
Dali the dog wandered into the room Jackman was virtually calling from and could be spotted in the background of his video box. Instead of asking the adorable pooch to leave, Jackman picked up Dali to introduce him to his new friends. The surprise within a surprise made the successful night even sweeter.
And while the gala could not take place in person, New York City still celebrated DKMS’s incredible work by lighting the Empire State Building red from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.