Gala Soars at New Venue

The Wings of Hope Soaring to New Heights Gala presented by Fabick Cat shown bright on April 29 at the Hilton St. Louis Frontenac, a new venue for the signature fundraiser which was held in the spring for the first time in event history.

Back for the third consecutive year, emcee and auctioneer Rene Knott kept the crowd entertained and the energy high on a night when more than 300 guests gathered to celebrate and support our mission-critical work changing and saving lives through the power of aviation.

Successful silent and live auctions and generous event sponsorships generated significant funds to support the services and programs that fuel the Wings of Hope mission — and families who have benefited from those services were in attendance, adding more meaning to every dollar raised.

Thirteen-year-old Caleb Voyles and his mom, Crystal, attended the gala and were featured in a video shown to attendees depicting Caleb’s Wings of Hope journey which began with a flight to Shriners Children’s St. Louis from his home in Wichita, KS, when he was only two years old. Today, Caleb is nearing the end of treatment to lengthen the femur bone on his right leg, which was shorter than his left at birth, and is on track to fully recover before he turns 15.

Crystal said flying with Wings of Hope “eases the stress and anxiety” of traveling to St. Louis and makes the trip a lot more comfortable for Caleb.

“Without Wings of Hope we would be spending a lot more time on the road, Caleb would be missing more school and my other two kids would be missing more time with us,” she said.

Claire Biangardi and her mom, Marianne, who were also featured in the video, joined in the festivities as well. Almost 13, Claire flew with Wings of Hope from St. Louis to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to treat a rare and life-threatening cancer when she was a toddler. Now, a cheerleader and tennis player, Claire is a bubbly teen ready to take on the world.

“It’s extremely important to support Wings of Hope because they help so many families around the world,” Marianne said. “Just being able to count on them to fly your child back and forth to treatment and not worry about the cost is huge. We are so grateful to Wings of Hope and the impact they’ve had on our family’s lives.”

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