By Amanda Okker, RE/MAX Times Online Editor
LAS VEGAS – The promise of three private concerts by 10-year-old piano prodigy Ethan Bortnick took top bidding at the RE/MAX R4 Big Give on Tuesday, raising $105,000 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. And a “two-of-a-kind” RE/MAX branded Fender guitar – the other is owned by Dave and Gail Liniger – fetched $16,000 for Susan G. Komen for the Cure at the Survivor Show and Auction on Wednesday.
RE/MAX Affiliates donated more than $200,000 (US) total during the separate live auctions, and the amount is rising as silent-auction bidding continues to be tallied. Packages included vacations, sports outings, memorabilia and more. Three framed flags made from the envelope of the first RE/MAX Hot Air Balloon raised more than $20,000.
Ethan Bortnick, the young performer whose recent 20-city tour was sponsored by RE/MAX, stole the show at the Big Give in the R4 Marketplace. He pumped up the crowd by performing a range of songs from Mozart’s “Rondo alla Turca” to Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” People were especially moved when he played a song he composed for CMN Hospitals titled “It’s a Miracle,” inspired by Ethan’s own 5-year-old brother’s experience at a CMN Hospital where he underwent three heart surgeries.
RE/MAX of Texas Region Owner Richard Filip and Sales Associate Judy Austin with RE/MAX Allegiance in Alexandria, Va., went head to head in a bid for a single concert Ethan was initially auctioning off. Filip came out on top with his $35,000 bid; in a twist, Ethan agreed to perform concerts for anyone who matched Filip. Austin was a taker on behalf of her office; Christine Martysiewicz, Director of Internal Public Relations for the RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada Region, surprised with a third bid.
“Once I’m in the chase, I can’t say no,” said Filip, who has been a big bidder at past convention auctions. “We’ve been a Miracle Region of the Year three times, and it’s incredible Ethan is donating his time in consideration of his brother. I’d like him to come to Texas and perform at another fundraiser for CMN Hospitals.”
Ethan shared a message for RE/MAX before playing Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.”
“I dedicate this song to everyone at RE/MAX for making the world more wonderful.”
Komen Survivor Show
Susan G. Komen for the Cure founder Nancy G. Brinker made a heartfelt speech to a crowd of several hundred at the Survivor Show and Auction benefiting the breast cancer foundation she started after losing her sister Susan in 1982.
“The five-year survival rate for early stage breast cancer was 74 percent when I founded the organization, and today it’s up to 98 percent,” Brinker said. “From the bottom of our hearts, we want you to know how much Susan G. Komen for the Cure appreciates RE/MAX. We are proud to be part of your family and we hope you’re proud to be part of ours. Your work is so important, and when people see the RE/MAX name on that pink ribbon at Race for the Cure events, it means so much.”
Then came the stories of five women in the RE/MAX family who fought and won their battles with breast cancer. Moving videos captured their breast cancer journeys, inspiring the crowd to give. An unexpected profile of RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly’s sister, Maureen Hotz, was especially heart-warming to many – including Kelly herself, who is also a survivor.
© 2011 RE/MAX International, Inc. RE/MAX Affiliates may share this article, provided they do not charge for it and this notice is included. All other rights reserved.