The Celebrate the Light Gala shines in 2022


Rogers Behavioral Health Foundation’s annual Celebrate the Light Gala raised a net profit of more than $220,000. All the proceeds will go directly to providing free treatment for patients and families of Rogers Behavioral Health in need of mental health and addiction treatment.

Held on November 11 at Discovery World in Milwaukee, this year’s gala focused on Trauma Recovery. In recognition of Veterans Day – the day of the event – the gala theme was “Being at war with yourself: Enlisting in the healing process.” In recognition of this day,  a portion of the proceeds were specifically directed to Patient Care Grants for Military Veterans recovering from trauma.

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2023 Information
  • Save the date!  The 2023 Gala is November 10 at Discovery World.
  • Interested in being on the 2023 Gala planning committee? The committee meets in person (Oconomowoc, WI) roughly once per month starting in June. Virtual participation is possible. Contact Laura Miller to inquire further.

With roughly 340 people in attendance, the Celebrate the Light Gala featured keynote speaker Rae Anne Ho Fung, PhD, clinical supervisor in Brown Deer and West Allis, who is also an army Veteran and childhood trauma survivor.

Dr. Ho Fung gave a moving speech sharing her story of recovery, a life-changing friendship, and how the Iraq War solidified her decision to help others overcome their trauma. She discussed how, according to research conducted over four decades, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can negatively affect the trajectory of an individual’s life, often leading to dropping out of school, unemployment, and even early death.

Thankfully, treatment works. Access to comprehensive recovery programs using evidence-based, trauma-focused psychotherapies, like the programs offered at Rogers, are shown to be the most effective treatments for reducing symptoms of trauma. Access to treatment allows trauma survivors to feel safe again in the world, so they may cope with stress and live fulfilling and meaningful lives.

Following Dr. Ho Fung’s presentation, local mental health advocate and social media influencer JMatt took the stage along with numerous friends of the Foundation to complete the 22 Pushup Challenge, an event created to raise awareness of the 22 veterans who die by suicide every day. JMatt began this challenge in 2016 and, though only intended to go for 22 days, the gala marked his 2,138th day, having not missed a single day of push-ups throughout this time.

The evening’s program was followed by a request to support our Mission, led by Kevin Konopa, chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Thanks to generous donations and proceeds from the silent and exclusive auctions, the Foundation will be able to provide approximately 380 days of care to those in need.

The Patient Care Grant program was started in response to the variable insurance coverage and limited personal resources that our patients and their families are sometimes up against. The Foundation provides free treatment to families who have limited insurance, as well as for those whose personal resources are depleted. Grants are initiated by a patient’s treatment team and are available to those who meet established financial and clinical criteria.

You may also watch an interview about the gala and the Foundation’s work that aired on WISN-TV in Milwaukee with Brad Riemann, PhD, president of philanthropy, research, and clinical care.

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