NetIP Chicago hosts its Third Annual Charity

Chicago, IL: NetIP Chicago hosted the Third Annual Charity Gala benefiting Cancer is Colorblind on Saturday, November 12, 2011, at the Doubletree Chicago Magnificent Mile, 300 E. Ohio Street, Chicago, Illinois. The evening was attended by about 300 guests. Close to $30,000 was raised.

CiC seeks to raise awareness and funds for pediatric and adult cancer prevention and treatment, while honoring cancer survivors and fighters. The festivities featured a formal three-course dinner, cultural performances, celebrity appearances, inspirational speakers, and special recognition for cancer fighters and survivors. The gala included a matching rally, a silent/live auction and raffle with an impressive line-up of donated items and prizes. Upon entering the event, Surabhi Saraswat stated, “NetIP chooses causes that are important to the community and where our efforts will make a direct impact. This year, Bear Necessities and Robert H Lurie were selected. Previous beneficiaries include Apna Ghar, a domestic violence center, Children’s Memorial Hospital and Sinai Health Systems.” All CiC proceeds directly benefited a genetics research program and a cancer support program at two cancer institutions, which serve diverse communities and patient populations: Robert H Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation.

The evening started at 6:00 p.m. with cocktails and live music performed by a local band, Finally August (see below details for band information) to set the mood of the evening. Around 7:30 p.m. the program started with a beautiful Bharat Natyam dance performed by Vaidehi Patel. Name of the dance “Mahishasura Mardini is a dance that symbolizes good over evil. It represents Durga as a divine goddess and mother, being a war goddess to fight the demon, Mahishasura.

Mahishasura has changed his appearance many times. She was born as buffalo demon, an evil elephant, andchanged into a lion. Yet, Durga defeated them all. This was a well-told story by Vaidehi’s dancing. After the dance, Ashwin Janakiram gave the background for NetIP. He stated, “The CiC campaign had experienced significant outpouring of support through the Chicago City Challenge and our “Race Against Cancer” 5K Run/Walk at Soldier Field. There are 24 chapters of NetIP throughout the United States.” Then he introduced NetIP’s President, Kesha Parikh, for the President’s Speech.

Kesha Parikh stated, “Welcome to NetIP Chicago’s 3rd Annual Charity Gala benefiting Cancer is Colorblind! NetIP brings together like-minded and passionate individuals who all have a common objective: making an impact. Whether you want to make an impact in your professional or personal lives, NetIP provides the access and opportunity that you may otherwise consider is far beyond reach! If I were to describe NetIP’s core value in two words, they would be community and impact. NetIP’s mission is to serve as one voice for the south Asian diaspora and to engage and develop a network of professionals to benefit the community. We strive to accomplish this through our initiatives, partnerships and programming across our four pillars: Cultural Awareness, Professional Development, Community Outreach and Political Awareness.

“For three continuous years, we have been hosting a large scale gala and charitable campaign such as the one today to support the needs of our Chicago community, where we live and work. Collectively NetIP Chicago will have donated over $200,000 to various local programs here in Chicago.

“Here’s why CiC is so powerful. It clearly resonates NetIP’s core values: to unite a community to make an impact. “CiC is not NetIP’s only focus. Across our four pillars, NetIP Chicago has been introducing new programming and new initiatives. In 2010, we launched NetIP 2.0. 2011 has taken the “concept” from 2010 and turned it into a culture for NetIP Chicago! Our mission this year focused on expansion and sustainability of our new brand.”

Kesha then went on to describe the new programs that were introduces across the four pillars. She concluded with “All in all it has been an amazing 2011 and I am very excited to see what heights NetIP Chicago will surpass in 2012.” She then went on to thank all sponsors and board members. She then introduced Rishi Seth, Vice President of Charitable Campaigns for NetIP Chicago and was thankful for all of his contributions to NetIP.

Rishi Seth thanked sponsors (House of Pearl Fashion, KPMG, Patel Brothers,, Marriott, Tek Systems, Chicago Reader, Taylor Made Performance, PRP, Valeo, Minuteman Press Chicago, and Olivaire Events). He then said, “We have had an incredibly successful year, but I want to take you back to the beginning in January. Riding off an incredible high of 2010, we wanted to keep the momentum going and make this year even better. As we were looking through the numerous cancer organizations in the city, we knew we wanted to give to organizations that support the full gamut of cancer care. That is how we decided on Bear Necessities and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center. Also, six years ago, I lost my Mom to cancer. I would like to say that one of the biggest lessons I learned from my Mom was that, when possible you need to give back to those around you. From my early teens, my Mom encouraged me to volunteer at various organizations in our hometown. Ask yourself one question, isn’t that why are you here tonight? Aren’t you here because you want to make a difference in the lives of those battling cancer, irrespective of race, gender or creed. ” He then continued to outline each of these organizations. Rishi talked about Grayson a young boy who battled cancer and now Grayson is a happy and healthy young boy running around and enjoying water parks like Key Lime Cove on a regular basis. It is nice to see a Cancer success story. Rishi then introduced Jonny Imerman.

Jonny Imerman is the founder of Imerman’s Angels. While fighting cancer at 26 years old, Jonny had loving support from family and friends, but never met anyone his age who was a cancer survivor. He fought cancer and thought about how nice it would have been if he had a support group or even at least one person that could understand what he was going through. He then started the Imerman, where cancer fighters can get 1-on-1 cancer support.

After Johnny Imerman told his story, Rishi introduced Jyoti Patel, for the inspirational speech. Dr. Jyoti Patel is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University. She specializes in the treatment of lung cancer. In addition to developing novel therapies for lung cancer, she has a special interest in lung cancer in women and the interplay of genetic, hormonal, and molecular differences that contribute to differences in outcome in women. Under the direction of Dr. Jyoti Patel, the Lurie Cancer Center is creating the first model of personalized cancer care utilizing a patient’s genetic code to create specific therapies for all of those battling this terrible disease. Dr. Patel told everyone, “ Prevention and survivorship is key to fighting cancer.”

Another cancer survivor from one of CiC’s beneficiaries, Bear Necessities told his story. Sean Patel is currently at Benedictine University here in Chicago. One year ago, however his life was turned upside down when he was diagnosed with a germ cell tumor. As Sean was fighting this disease, he was missing the summer music festivals of Chicago that he loves. This past summer after being treated, as part of his Bear Hug, he and his sister attended all three days of Lollapalooza, seeing some of his favorite artists including Eminem and Kid Cudi. Sean is truly an inspiration to us all. Sean’s story was heard by all, as a wakeup call that cancer fighters are not alone.

The evening continued with the bone marrow drive, silent auction, live auction, matching rally, and raffle prizes throughout the night. A three course dinner was served and dancing followed to lead all into a fun evening. There were some dignitaries (Super Model Saira Mohan, Bear Necessities CEO & Founder Kathleen Casey, CFO of Hyatt Harmit Singh, Owner of Balani Custom Clothing Prem Balani, Chef Suzy Singh, CEO of House of Pearls Mahesh Seth, Founder of Eye on India Anuradha Behari and many others) who attended this event. The evening’s photography was provided by Suresh Bodiwala and G&G Photography.

About NetIP Chicago:
The Network of Indian Professionals of Chicago (NetIP Chicago) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with national affiliation throughout the United States. It is the largest South Asian professional organization in the city of Chicago dedicated to the overall achievement and advancement of professionals with an interest in South Asian culture.

As stated by Kesha Parikh, President, “So, what is NetIP? If I were to describe NetIP’s core value in-two words, they would be community and impact. NetIP’s mission is to serve as one voice for the South Asian diaspora and to engage and develop a network of professionals to benefit the community. We strive to accomplish this through our initiatives, partnerships and programming across our four pillars: Cultural Awareness, Professional Development, Community Outreach and Political Awareness. Over the past few years, NetIP Chicago is becoming the “catalyst” that is leading a revolution throughout the NetIP community by re-branding and refocusing its mission towards community and impact. Come join us at

NetIP Chicago’s Executive Board Included: Kesha Parikh, President, Rishi Seth VP of Charitable Campaigns, Amit Shah, VP of Finance and Technology, Nirav Amin VP of Operations and Strategic Development and Sri Devi Mudragada, VP of Marketing, Membership and Admin.

Board Members included: Rubina Singh Marketing Chair, Pardip Nayyer Sponsorship Chair, Anand Mathew Cultural Awareness Chair, Trusha Bhatt CiC Committee, Smita Kamath Social Chair, Radha Patel Political Awareness Chair, Shantel Bridges CiC Gala Chair, Priti Trivedi CiC 5K Chair, Surabhi Saraswat Community Outreach Chair, Koushik Subramanian Sports Chair, Kavita Singh CiC Committee, Amit Joshipura Professional Development Chair, Ren Cuevo Graphics Chair, Sheetal Trivedi Community Outreach Committee, Steve James Sponsorship Committee, Unnati Patel and Priya Narayan Cultural Awareness Committee.

Volunteers included: Trusha Bhatt, Ashwin Janakiram, Taral Patel, Anita Oak, Chef Suzy Singh, Ronak Joshi, Manish Kumar, Marina Isaac, Natasha Kapoor, Morlie Patel, Smita Chand, Mona Toke, Leena Toke, Kumar Murukurthy, Nadh Murukurthy, Nandini Anantharaman, Nushmia Khokkar, Shanthy Edward, Khusbhu Shah, Sapna Shah, Saunvit Pandya, Neha Amin, Ashwini Srinivasan, Purvi Patel, Viraj Patel, and Kelly Christensen Mims.

About Robert H Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University:
The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University was first established in 1974. The center’s title was modified in 1998, when the National Cancer Institute (NCI) awarded the Lurie Cancer Center the highly competitive “comprehensive” designation-reflecting the center’s dedication to the highest standards of cancer research, patient care, education, and community outreach. Today, the Lurie Cancer Center is one of only 40 NCI-designated “Comprehensive” cancer centers in the nation. In addition, the Lurie Cancer Center is a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), an alliance of 21 of the world’s leading cancer centers dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care provided to patients with cancer. You can get more information at

About Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation:
Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation is a national organization dedicated to eliminating pediatric cancer and providing hope and support to those who are touched by it. Our mission is carried out through three unique programs which include the Bear Hugs Program, Bear Discoveries and Bear Empowerment. Visit us at

About Johnny Imerman’s ANGELS:
Imerman’s Angels carefully matches and individually pairs a person touched by cancer (a cancer fighter or survivor) with someone who has fought and survived the same type of cancer (a Mentor Angel). Cancer caregivers (spouses, parents, children and other family and friends of fighters) also receive 1-on-1 connections with other caregivers and survivors. These 1-on-1 relationships inspire hope and offer the chance to ask personal questions and receive support from someone who is uniquely familiar with the experience. The service is absolutely free and helps anyone touched by any type of cancer, at any cancer stage level, at any age, living anywhere in the world. Imerman Angels is a federally registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. Mission: Imerman Angels provides personalized connections that enable 1-on-1 support among cancer fighters, survivors and caregivers.Today, Imerman’s Angels supports over 2,500 survivors in all 50 states and countries. To find out more information, go to

Photographs and Press release by: Asian Media USA

Suresh Bodiwala
Asian Media USA
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