At a rock ’n roll party at the Agora, Cleveland’s venerable rock palace, 200 patrons gathered for Giving Kids Hope, a home-grown nonprofit that aims to make a big difference in the health of children worldwide. The de facto host, Dr. Mitch Drumm, Ph.D., is a professor and researcher at Case School of Medicine, and a catalyst for lab research, but also a leader for this special event.

A mad scientist vibe, with bartenders in lab coats and bubbling vials of…something decorating the open bar, folded nicely into the rock theme with guests in leather jackets, slinky mini-dresses, super high heels, and a variety of bad boy/bad girl outfits. Yes, black nail polish included. Call it rock out for research, as many of the guests really are scientists at Case where they examine how genes create or affect various conditions and diseases.

The fundraiser progressed nicely from cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres. A silent auction, wine auction plus a vacation raffle all took place before guests moved to the main concert hall for a sit-down dinner by Thyme Catering, presentations and a highly entertaining live auction.

Honored at the event was Dr. Pamela Davis, Dean of Case Medical School. In a pre-dinner interview Dr. Davis praised the work Drumm and his team are doing. “Mitch is part of a huge national effort that’s been working to conquer cystic fibrosis (CF) for 40 years,” she said. “We all have 15 genes that could be lethal if they are not matched up. Most escape, but that is not true for some kids. The CF model is a prototype – we learned from that process how to approach cells and how to test and seek new drugs for 21 different genetic disorders. And we are very close,” she added.

After dinner an appropriately raucous live auction took place (this IS rock and roll after all) skillfully guided by host WKYC’s Monica Robins and auctioneer David McCreary – who auctioned off his own stylish belt for $150. Bidding was intense but good-natured for items including a food truck party, be a ‘researcher for a day,’ or the chance to sing or play the cowbell live with Hard Days Night, The Beatles tribute band that later rocked the house.

Funds raised will be used to create state-of-the-art labs, to support the ongoing research and to encourage students to become part of the team that works to more rapidly develop therapies for genetic-based disorders. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY RITA KUEBER

Mitch Drumm and Tim Miller

Connie Brown, Dr. Pamela Davis and Jim Herget

Kaili Smith, Carrie Smith and Kellie Kurtz

Dean and Maureen Moore with Mary Beth and Steve Demko

Eric Barbato, Elisha Barbato, David Barbato and Danielle Louis

Mike Roether and Jim Demuth