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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

GiGi’s Playhouse promises an evening of inspiration at its March 10th Chicagoland Gala, a celebration of GiGi’s growth and the spread of its mission to promote acceptance for all

Twelve retired NFL players, Rob Johnson of CBS Chicago and Eric Ferguson of 101.9 THE MIX are among the special guests at the annual ‘rockin’ party with a rockin’ purpose’ gala

Press Release – CHICAGO: GiGi’s Playhouse will celebrate its tremendous growth over the past year and the spread of its mission to change the way the world sees Down syndrome, at the Chicagoland “i have a voice” Gala on Saturday, March 10, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. Nancy Gianni, founder and “Chief Belief Officer” of GiGi’s Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Centers, promises an evening of inspiration and elegance, “with a rockin’ edge.”

“This is not your grandma’s gala. It’s a high-energy, star-studded, visually stunning evening,” says Nancy Gianni, GiGi’s Playhouse founder and president. “There has been so much excitement building for the 2018 Gala that we expect to top last year’s attendance of more than 850 supporters.”

GiGi’s Playhouse, which has the only international network of Down syndrome achievement centers, changes lives through free therapeutic, educational and career training programs that serve 80,000 individuals of all ages. With more than 36 locations throughout the United States and in Mexico, and many more to come, GiGi’s makes a lifetime commitment to support and empower families from diagnosis to adulthood.

GiGi’s is thrilled that football players from the Chicago chapter of the NFL Former Players Association will once again attend the Gala. The exciting lineup includes Desmond Clark, Wendell Davis, Jerry Fontenot, Bruce Herron and Kurt Becker (’85 Super Bowl Champion), all formerly of the Chicago Bears, plus retired players from several other NFL teams. “Our boys are deeply honored that they will be present once again this year to lend their support and celebrity for such an amazing organization that does immeasurable good all over the country,” says Tom Serpento, executive director of the Chicago chapter of the NFL Former Players Association.

Other famous faces at the GiGi’s Gala include CBS 2 Chicago Anchor Rob Johnson, who returns as emcee, and Eric Ferguson, host of Eric in the Morning on 101.9 THE MIX.

The black-tie “I have a voice” Gala also features raffles, silent and live auctions, dinner, open bar and dancing to the Chicago-area’s ultimate party band, 7th heaven, which makes for a fun party with enthusiastic fans and a packed dance floor.

This year’s Gala will celebrate the encouraging voices and special bonds of siblings and the empowering role they play in each other’s lives. GiGi’s is encouraging Gala participants to send their sibling stories to, so they can possibly be shared during the event.

“There’s an urgent need to improve the lives of those with Down syndrome and those touched by it, and the “i have a voice” Gala helps us continue to provide free opportunities and meet that need,” Gianni says. “It’s also a rockin’ party that doesn’t quit! The evening is an awesome mix of elegance, inspiration, motivation and fun.”

The Chicagoland “i have a voice” Gala begins at 6 p.m. with a cocktail reception. Gala tickets are available now for $200 per person or $2,000 for a table of 10. The price increases to $250 per ticket after Feb. 25. For tickets and information, go to Supporters are encouraged to buy their tickets now, to ensure they’ll have an opportunity to join GiGi Gianni and many friends on the dance floor.

More about GiGi’s Playhouse

GiGi’s Playhouse was founded by Nancy Gianni in 2003, after her daughter, GiGi, was diagnosed with Down syndrome. GiGi’s Playhouse meets the demand for programs that target the underserved population of more than 450,000 Americans living with Down syndrome. Fourteen new centers are slated to open in 2018, and there are hundreds of inquiries to open more worldwide. GiGi’s Playhouse is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that survives completely on charitable donations. Funds raised from the 2018 Gala will enrich children and adults with Down syndrome through vital programs such as one-on-one literacy and math tutoring, speech therapy, fitness classes, career training and more. GiGi’s Playhouse also works to break down barriers and advance its vision of acceptance for all, through the #GenerationG campaign: Be Accepting. Be Generous. Be Kind. For more information, visit

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