Sunday afternoon, Albert’s Diamond Jewelers invited community members, new friends, and long term supporters to the 15th Annual MS Auction, a beloved fundraiser in the Region that raises money for multiple sclerosis research and support programs. Hundreds of people gathered together to bid on a variety of items throughout the day, with entertaining commentary by the auctioneer, CEO of Albert’s, Joshua Halpern, and an array of people that have donated incredible items that personally helped generate the most excitement and highest bids from their contributions.
Raising money for MS research is a personal ambition for the owners and employees of Albert’s Diamond Jewelers. Over forty years ago, Donna Halpern, wife of Albert’s founder, Fred Halpern, was diagnosed with MS. With so many people effected by the disease, researching to find a cure, finding better treatments, and supporting programs is incredibly important, which is why Albert’s Diamond Jewelers has stepped up to do their part.
“I’ve been in this business for 60 years, and I have just tried to please people,” said Fred Halpern. “This event has turned into a happening. Everybody loves being here, everybody is being generous, and you know one of these days, we will get a cure. I have watched this beautiful lady I am married to go down but I am very lucky that she is still around. I am very lucky to have her.”
Each year has brought this group to another record of success and this year, there was excitement in the air as the goal of surpassing $2 million for lifetime funds raised was just within reach. Half way through the auction Sunday afternoon, Josh congratulated the crowd as they surpassed that incredible goal and cemented themselves within the NWI and MS community as a business that makes a significant impact to those in need.
Guests mingled around the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond and explored all of the different items up for the auction. Throughout the auction, hundreds of people were bidding on everything from wine tours in Napa, to sports tickets for all of Chicago’s favorite teams, vacation rentals in Hawaii, golf trips at some of the finest clubs, dinner packages from the regions best restaurants, and gifts donated the everyone in the extended Albert’s, Halpern, and NWI family. For Rich Pietrzak, owner of Lithographic Communications in Munster, working so many years to support the annual auction offers him the chance to give back to the community in a meaningful way.
“Josh and his family have become very good friends of mine, and I have a relative that has MS, and this is a debilitating disease that deserves a cure,” said Pietrzak. “This is a great cause, and to be a part of it is not only an honor but also feels good to do. Donna, Fred, and Ashley are great friends and to work with all of the people who have helped make this event so successful shows that you can do anything for a good cause.”
Local and regional businesses and organizations showed their support of the auction and cause through their generous donations and sponsorships. Craig Chism with Comcast explained why being a part of the annual MS Auction has been important to him.
“I’ve been involved with this for 12 years now with The Times and now Comcast, and have gotten to know Josh, Fred, Donna and the whole family. I’m so happy to be a part of it every year,” Chism said. “I look forward to the next 15 years of doing this.”
The Albert’s Diamonds Jewelers 15th Annual MS Auction was the most successful yet. The $2 million goal was surpassed, etching another incredible milestone for this group that has worked together to make a difference. It is impressive to see this good group of people making a huge difference, building on a tradition, and having a heck of a lot of fun while doing it.
Sponsors included: Golden Tech, Schepel Buick GMC, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, the Jana Caudill Team, Associated Agencies, Inc., Becker & Gurian, National Technical Support, Inc., Theo’s, iShowcase, ODI, PepsiCo, Bill’s Movers and Storage, Frank Wright Huckleberry Memorial, NWI Indian Medical Association, Bowman Displays, South Shore Convention & Visitors Authority, Lithographic Communications, Lamar, Comcast Spotlight, Horton, Minotti Financial Group, Lakeshore Bone &Joint Institute, The Times, Kennan Liquors, Center Bank, Jalapeños, Mike Anderson Chevrolet of Merrillville, Tauber Law Offices, KGM, Inc., and Wells Fargo.