Angel and I just spent a special week in New York City. In addition to my 30th birthday celebrations, we were there for WPT Foundation’s All in For Kids Charity Poker Tournament at the swanky Mandarin Oriental, where we raised $910,000 for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), specifically going toward food allergy research. Almost one million US dollars. Amazing.
I had the honour of visiting CHOP for a tour before the event to hear about just a teeny-tiny sample of the miracles they work in that incredible building — a building that becomes a long-time home for many families while their children are being treated for heartbreaking illnesses. I first arrived at the hospital expecting to leave in tears, but instead, I left inspired. I was blown away by the amount of love and happiness injected into this building.
As the nurse walked us through the hallways of various wards, we’d discover walls of colourful creativity, or a young boy peddling in his little red sports car with a big smile on his face. We could hear kids banging on xylophones in the oncology ward, a place where teachers facilitate school classes for all ages throughout primary and high school so that no children miss out on their education while undergoing treatment. There are many parts of my job that I am so very grateful for, and being involved in an event like this that gives back in such a beautiful way is right up there as one of the ultimate rewards.
Update Feb 2015: poker player and all-round amazing man, Dan Shak, is the driver behind this special evening of fundraising in New York City and, together with the World Poker Tour, Shak collected his deserving credit at the American Poker Awards, winning Charitable Initiative of the Year.
Highlights from the night aired during a WPT Season XIII Borgata Poker Open episode on Fox Sports Network recently. Here is the clip:
We’ll be returning to NYC to do it all again on November 6th, 2015. If you’re interested in joining us for this special night, please visit allinforkids.chop.edu for more information.