Friday night, Chicago lovebirds Jenny McCarthy and Donnie Wahlberg celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary in Geneva, IL hosting Generation Rescue's A Night of Hope event supporting families affected by autism, raising nearly $250,000.
150 guests, including event co-chairs Karen and Ed French and Rowena and Joe Salas, joined together at the Oscar Swan Inn to support the cause.
McCarthy tugged the heartstrings of everyone in the room, opening up about the journey she and son, Evan (13), shared in defying the odds and paying it forward. “He’s my angel,” said the actress, sharing how proud she is with how far her son, who was diagnosed with autism in 2005, has come with the help of the resources offered by Generation Rescue.
Following the former TV host, Wahlberg took the stage for his first-ever solo performance accompanied by pal and music composer Rob Lewis and singing group Vocality (alumni of the Chicago Children’s Choir). Compelled by his wife’s affiliation, the New Kids On The Block member joined the board of directors for the foundation earlier this year.
“I am honored to be a part of the board,” said the Blue Bloods star. “Imagine a family who has no hope… Generation Rescue offers hope. It not only offers hope; it offers results.”
Wahlberg went on to aid in hosting the event’s live auction with auctioneer Keith Jones.
“We’ve come along way… We were just a website,” McCarthy said, as she announced how much money was raised following the auction. Overwhelmed with emotion, the Sirius XM radio personality shared that the auction alone had grossed over $200,000, which will help Generation Rescue fund medical treatment for more autism families across the country.
“We’re honored to have their support tonight and so happy to have them on our board,” said Candace McDonald, executive director of Generation Rescue.
The event was sponsored by ALE Solutions, Amazing Lash Studio, Fiora’s Restaurant, French Med Spa, Hotel Baker, Jeneé L. Palaczek, Snug Vest, the Bullock Family Foundation, realty executives Christine Wilczek and Jason Bacza, The Custom Companies, Dave Foss, DC, Fox Valley Auto Group, attorney Joe Klein, and Play Again Now. Shuki Moran of Exceptional Events by Shuki produced the event. Moran also produced McCarthy and Wahlberg’s wedding in St. Charles last summer.
Guests enjoyed exclusive gifts, food, and beverages provided by All Chocolate Kitchen, Angelica Collection, Avant Gardena, Balloons Chicago, Beth Quinn Designs, Blackberry Baking Company, ChicExecs, Chalkink, DJ Rich Ungos, Fox River Distilling Company, Garrett Popcorn Shops, Giordano’s, In the 6, Kenya’s Mini Donuts, Lagunitas Brewing, Medea Vodka, Mother Trucker., Pevonia, Ruggable, VooChic, U-Lace and Shakou.
Generation Rescue is the leading national non-profit organization providing hope, support, and immediate treatment assistance to families affected by autism. To learn more or support the cause, visit generationrescue.org.