Donors, family, friends, physicians, and patients came together on Sunday, September 25th to enjoy the festivities of the GI Research Foundation Associates Board Donor Appreciation Picnic at the Vertiport helicopter hangar in Chicago. The first event of its kind, the afternoon included many wonderful amusements for children of all ages, including carnival games, a bounce house, face painting, balloon artistry, music, picnic fare, ice cream, and food trucks. All were provided free of charge, as a special thank you for the donors’ ongoing commitment to the GI Research Foundation.

The venue offered guests a front row seat to parked helicopters in the hanger, providing photo opportunities for would-be pilots, as well as to helicopter takeoffs and landings from the adjacent helipad. Event organizers, Frank Matagrano and Katie Chudnovsky, worked tirelessly to put together a fantastic event. David T. Rubin, MD, offered a warm thank you to the event organizers and the GI Research Foundation Associates Board. As an exciting conclusion to the day’s fun, attendees participated in a raffle, trying their luck to win travel, art, sports memorabilia, photography, and the best prize of all, dinner with Medical Director David Rubin. As an especially generous contribution, the Chudnovsky family agreed to match all donations raised on the day up to $10,000, making the fundraiser a great success.

“We have been looking for new ways to bring our donors together and invite new donors to join our organization, and spending this afternoon together was a wonderful way to begin. I hope it becomes a GI Research Foundation tradition,” said Sabrina Bier, outgoing GI Research Foundation Executive Director and longtime organization volunteer.

To become involved with the GI Research Foundation Associates Board, please email

by: Anna Gomberg

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