Community dons sneakers and sequins to support recovery

Rosecrance alum Nikki R. speaks to guests at the first Rosecrance Foundation Sneaker Ball on Thursday, May 2, in Chicago.

Guests sported their best attire and finest kicks Thursday night to support The Rosecrance Foundation’s first Sneaker Ball, which benefits people seeking recovery from mental health and substance use disorders.

A big thanks to the more than 300 people who filled the beautiful space at Artifact in the Ravenswood neighborhood of Chicago. The night was filled with delicious food, wonderful company, an inspiring program, and a lively dance party to end the evening.

Tom Farley, Professional Relations Coordinator for Rosecrance, emceed the event’s program, which celebrated the support of the Chicagoland community for so many seeking recovery, and highlighted our eight locations serving the city and surrounding suburbs.

Stephanie Van Vlerah, dedicated board member of Rosecrance Behavioral Health, The Rosecrance Foundation, and Chair of the Chicago Regional Board, kicked off the night by thanking event co-chairs LeighAnn Hranka and Michael Ripani. Hranka chairs the Rosecrance President’s Leadership Council, and Ripani serves alongside Van Vlerah on the Chicago Board.

Rosecrance President/CEO Dr. Dave Gomel thanked all the generous sponsors, including the Foglia Family Foundation, which was honored with the 2024 John J. McDonough Philanthropic Leadership Award. The award is named in honor of John J. McDonough, who chaired the Rosecrance Foundation Chicago Board of Directors, which he helped organize.

The Foglia Family Foundation’s 13 consecutive years of giving to The Rosecrance Foundation have helped thousands of people find help, hope, and lasting recovery from substance use and mental health disorders at Rosecrance.

Gomel detailed Rosecrance’s expansion across Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin while expressing his gratitude for long-time and new supporters.

“If this is the first time we’re meeting, Rosecrance is my family, and you’re now a part of this family,” he told the crowd. “You’re helping us serve tens of thousands of people every single year.”

Rosecrance alum Nikki R. then took the stage to share their recovery story and the “profound impact” Rosecrance has had on that journey.

Hitting their lowest point with substance use disorder in May 2020, Nikki was ready to get help. “Rosecrance was there and took me with open arms.” One of the most powerful aspects of their experience at Rosecrance was the presence of staff who were also in recovery.

“Their personal stories and firsthand understanding of the challenges I faced created immediate connection,” Nikki said. “And knowing they had walked a similar path and found success in recovery was not only comforting but was incredibly inspiring. Their stories gave me hope and showed that a life free from addiction to drugs and alcohol was possible.”

Nikki is now an Alumni Ambassador with the Rosecrance Alumni Program and shares their story to help others: “Seeing others succeed in their recovery reinforces the belief that a life of sobriety is not only possible but is filled with endless possibilities.”

Thank you again to all our sponsors and everyone who supported the 2024 Rosecrance Foundation Sneaker Ball!

Rosecrance President/CEO Dr. Dave Gomel thanks supporters at the 2024 Rosecrance Foundation Sneaker Ball on Thursday, May 2, in Chicago.
Light-up Rosecrance shoelaces at the 2024 Rosecrance Foundation Sneaker Ball.
Members of the Rosecrance President’s Leadership Council post with Rosecrance President/CEO Dr. Dave Gomel at the 2024 Rosecrance Foundation Sneaker Ball on Thursday, May 2, in Chicago.
Attendees of the 2024 Rosecrance Foundation Sneaker Ball play heads or tails on Thursday, May 2, in Chicago.


Check out our 2024 Sneaker Ball album on Facebook to see more photos from the event!