First Descents Ball Raises…Wait For It…$450,000


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At least 410 people attended the FD Ball, raising an average of $1000 a person. At an estimated cost of $1,000 for each First Descents program participant to attend a week of surfing, kayaking or rock climbing, the FD Ball raised enough money to send 450 young adults fighting and surviving cancer on an adventure of a lifetime.

“This year’s gala was more than an event. It was a celebration of life, adventure and friendships,” says First Descents Founder Brad Ludden. “In all the events I’ve been to, I’ve never experienced anything like it. It was one of the proudest moments of my life and the generosity by all who attended will surely propel FD onto a growth trajectory unlike any we’ve ever known… and that’s saying something.”

FD Ball guests were treated to an all-vegan dinner prepared by Spago chefs, music and dancing by Funkiphino. The parents of past participant Nick “Nickname” Raitt accepted the Spirit award on his behalf reminding the audience what an incredible force he was and how he touched the FD family. FD participant and fighter Karson “Johnny” Beatty spoke about the remarkable changes the First Descents experience made in her life.

“The crowd was electric, the speeches brought tears and laughter and guests walked away feeling as though they had hit the reset button for the year,” says event chair Angela Rossi. “It was extraordinary the number of guests that participated in paying it forward, whether it was $100 or $50,000, everyone felt moved to change the life of a young adult cancer fighter and survivor and we are so grateful to the more than 50 volunteers and our incredible corporate partners who made this the biggest yet.”

FD Mobile, First Descents’ adventure vehicle, made its debut at the ball grabbing plenty of attention. FD Mobile is a van designed to bring the First Descents experience to events, organizations and small groups. By making outdoor adventures more accessible, First Descents will deliver its high-energy, life-changing opportunities to more people than ever.


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