Second annual American Girl Brunch honors 6-year-old celebrity

Second annual American Girl Holiday Brunch honors 6-year-old celebrity

Proceeds to benefit the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital

December 1, 2005

The second annual American Girl Holiday Brunch, to benefit the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital, will be held at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, December 3, 2005, at American Girl Place, 111 E. Chicago Avenue. This year's event will honor Baylie Owen, 6, with the 2005 Comer American Girl Award.

Baylie has a rare brain disorder called Chiari malformation, in which the brain grows into the spinal canal, which causes intense headaches and pain. Despite daily discomfort, however, Baylie's determination to help her friends with Chiari has enabled her, with help from her family and friends, to raise more than $30,000 for Chiari research at the University of Chicago by selling beaded bracelets for $5 each.

Since an article about her appeared in the Nov. 28 issue of People Magazine, Baylie has received several thousand new orders.

"Baylie exemplifies the Comer American Girl Award because she has touched the lives of those around her through her extraordinary leadership, teamwork and commitment to making the world a better place through the spirit of giving," said pediatric surgeon Dana Suskind, M.D., who helped organize the event.

Michelle Obama, vice president for community affairs for the University of Chicago Hospitals, will present the award to Bailey for "her courage, inspiration, and efforts to create a better future for herself and her community."

The annual American Girl event was organized by the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital Auxiliary Board. Event co-chairs Suskind and Gail Rodman worked closely with auxiliary board members Jean Mohan, Laura Van Peenan, Megan Ihmels Simpson, and Joy Bergelson to bring this event to fruition.

The Mohan family committed themselves to raising resources and awareness for pediatric cancer programs at the hospital after their son Jimmy was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a highly malignant childhood cancer. Jimmy was a patient of Donald Liu, M.D., professor of surgery and surgeon-in-chief at the University of Chicago, and medical oncologist Charles Rubin, M.D., professor of pediatrics. Four years after completing treatment, 8-year-old Jimmy is in remission.

Beginning at 8:30 a.m., guests are invited to a private shopping event, with 10 percent of the sales to benefit the children's hospital. After brunch, American Girl Place actresses will visit the tables, hand out posters, and take pictures with guests.