Rosemary Fanadakis

Rory Fanandakis was asked to join the association’s gala planning committee this year, and from the first meeting impressed everyone with her energy, passion, and willingness to roll up her sleeves and do what had to be done.

Rory understands the importance of the association’s mission, and uses every opportunity to introduce the American Lung Association to others. She has single-handedly been responsible for helping cultivate many new friends, raised thousands of dollars, helped create a new fundraising event, and opened up doors that, without her help, might not have been available to the association.

During the initial gala planning process, Rory, with the help of staff member Louise Lyons, took ownership of the Shop to Stop Lung Disease event at the association’s Gala, resulting in several hundred people visiting 40 retail vendors and raising more than $1,700. Rory also was instrumental in getting silent auction items, planning the Kentucky Derby hat contest, finding new sponsors and donors, and doing other tasks to ensure that the Breath of Spring Gala was successful. Her excitement was infectious, and that enthusiasm was definitely reflected by the outcome of the Gala.

She was responsible for engaging a new high-level donor to the event, specifically because she wrote a very personal and compelling letter explaining why the work of the ALA was important to her and to the community. This donor’s mother had lung cancer, and even though she had never given to the ALA before, Rory’s letter inspired her to become a gala sponsor.

Rory has raised funds to support programs and also helps spread the word about lung association services in the community. Her interactions with people as she solicits donations, sponsorships and auction items is always more than just a simple “ask.” She lets people know why their contribution is important and how the funds will be used to further the work of the ALA in the community. Rory’s commitment mission is fueled by her husband Nick’s experience with asthma, as well as a grandparent who suffered from emphysema.

According to Susan Denardo, Development Director with the American Lung Association in the Mid-Atlantic, “Although Rory has only been part of our ALA family for a short time, she has continually demonstrated commitment to our cause and given new energy to our committee. With her help, we had a successful gala, and in the process, introduced ourselves and our work to many new people in the community who will continue to support our cause.”