This past Friday, April 11th, Etihad Airways, alongside several other partners, unveiled the Etihad Airways Room at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington DC. Etihad Airways’ Chief People and Performance Officer Ray Gammell was joined by UAE Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, President and Chief Executive Officer of Children’s National, Kurt Newman, MD, and Fox News anchor Bret Baier, a member of the Children’s Hospital Foundation Board.
The unveiling took place in Children's National's Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation after a tour of the Cardiac ICU, where Etihad Airways also gave funding for additional hospital rooms.
The Etihad Airways "Flying Nannies" also flew in to Children's National, paying a visit to entertain some of the hospital's young patients. Each Etihad flight has an onboard "Flying Nanny" available to help entertain children during the flight. Nannies are specially trained and certified by Norland, and have a busy bag for children. Kids can enjoy coloring, origami, face paining, and even more with the Etihad Flying Nannies.
Due to patient confidentiality, I am only able to release Etihad's Official Press Release photograph I took of the Flying Nannies.
The events in the morning were only a precursor to Children's National's annual "Dream a Little Dream" Fundraiser Ball at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, DC, that evening. Almost 1,000 guests, including National Security Adviser, Susan Rice (D), Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel (D), and the Saudi Ambassador to the US, Adel Al Jubeir, and other congressmen, senators, and celebrities, were welcomed by video introductions from Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and First Lady Michelle Obama. Speakers included Kurt Newman, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Children’s National, House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor (R), and His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the United States. The glamorous evening began with dinner, personally cooked by Wolfgang Puck himself.
After dinner, the fundraising auction began. Bret Baier, anchor for Fox News Channel and member of the Children’s Hospital Foundation Board, conducted the auction with the help of Norah O’Donnell, co-anchor of CBS This Morning.
The auction was kicked off with a black labrador puppy - the only description was "AWWWW!!!" Other auction items included Two Diamond First Class tickets on Etihad Airways, tickets to the Kennedy Center Honors, and tickets to tapings of American Idol and The Voice.
All auction proceeds went directly to Children's National.
Another item auctioned was a Lorraine Schwartz bracelet, necklace, and earrings, designed for and worn by Beyoncé. The jewelry was co-designed by Jozlyn Miller, a 12 year old patient of Children's, who modeled and was on hand to help Bret Baier conduct the auction.
Upon winning the jewelry, Jho Low surprised Jozlyn by asking her to keep and enjoy the jewelry, and also donated an additional $100,000 to Children's National on top of the jewelry's purchase price.
The evening concluded with a surprise performance by singer and actress Jennifer Hudson, which I was unfortunately unable to photograph due to licensing agreements with Ritz-Carlton.
Overall, the fundraising event raised a record $10.7 million, all of which directly benefits Children's National.
This was the fifth time I have photographed for Etihad Airways, and it is always nice to catch up with some familiar faces I have come to know over the past year. I have photographed Regina and Jekaterina at every Etihad event I have attended to-date. It's so great having friends and fans all over the globe!
My photography has been used for press release, and has been featured in several news outlets. I have been informed that The Washington Diplomat is also writing a story featuring my photography, due out next week.