By Sarah Ellen Rindsberg
The Fairfield/Westchester Chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America is thriving thanks to the devotion of its volunteers, including those right here in our hamlet. Hilary and Bruce Murray of Chappaqua were honored for their endeavors at the Chapter’s annual fundraising event at the Ritz-Carlton, Westchester on February 9. Their motivation, like that of many volunteers, is the search for a cure for all those who are afflicted.
When Hilary met Bruce she learned that he had just had surgery and was living with Crohn’s. In addition, her mother had recently been diagnosed with colitis. When the Murrays moved to Chappaqua, a friend introduced Hilary to Jennifer Paley, Executive Director of the Chapter, who also resides in Chappaqua. Hilary and Bruce had been very active in other chapters in Washington and Chicago and were eager to continue. Each year, contributions have skyrocketed due to their efforts. “We try to get the whole community involved,” Hilary said. Neighbors Wendy Silverman and Lauren Baker have joined in to help.
As a board member, Hilary finds her work for the Chapter extremely gratifying. “At the meetings, we hear about the progress being made in research. It makes me feel good,” she related. Dr. Tom Ullman of Chappaqua, a gastroenterologist who specializes in Crohn’s and colitis, also sits on the board.
One person who is especially appreciative of the volunteers’ efforts is Lisa Harding, Development Manager of the Chapter. “We wouldn’t be able to raise nearly the amount of funds that we do an annual basis without our volunteers,” she noted. The event in February raised over $300,000. “They’ve been wonderful at helping with all of our initiatives and with the awareness part of our mission,” Harding added. Future events include the Take Steps Walk on May 19.