Strong Kids

Gala Continues Drive Toward Phase II

Aug. 8, 2016

Grace Esposito was born in September 2011 with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia pushing her heart out of place and leaving little room for her lungs to grow and form. “Amazing Grace” fought on for a year and a half, enduring five surgeries and spending a week on a heart-lung bypass machine, before losing her fight in February 2013. 

Long before she was born, Grace’s parents, Jennifer Johnson and Vinnie Esposito, have given back to Golisano Children’s Hospital. And this year, they will serve as honorary chairs of the 29th Annual Golisano Children’s Hospital Gala at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center on Oct. 22.

JJDuring their time at the children’s hospital, Jennifer, Vinnie, and Jennifer’s colleagues at 13WHAM led the creation of Grace’s Garden, committing $350,000 to the outdoor garden, which provides patients a healing change of scenery during their stay at the children’s hospital. They also fulfilled a $100,000 pledge along with Rochester-area Kiwanis clubs for a NICU room in Grace’s name. Jennifer, who serves on the children’s hospital’s Board of Directors in addition to her role as a reporter and anchor at 13WHAM, has also joined several other local media members to host the children’s hospital radiothon, which annually raises several hundred thousand dollars for the care of children.

The presenting sponsor of this year’s Gala is The Cabot Group. Company owner Mike Smith has been a member of the children’s hospital Board of Directors for six years, and his company has been the presenting sponsor of the Gala since 2008. The Cabot Group was a 2010 Miracle Maker recipient for Outstanding Commitment by a Corporation, and the company has consistently supported other children’s hospital initiatives, including the annual Golf Classic. 

GCHGThe event, themed “A Royal Celebration,” features a live and silent auction, dinner and entertainment featuring Steve Augeri, former lead singer of Journey; Wally Palmar, The Romantics, and Terri Nunn from The Berlins. Sponsorships are available starting at $1,000 and tickets are $200 per person. Proceeds from the gala will support Phase II construction at Golisano Children’s Hospital. 

For tickets, sponsorships, or to donate auction items, please contact Betsy Findlay at 585-273-5933 or