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‘Biscuit Bash: A Sold-Out
Movie screening draws hundreds to benefit
The fight against CFIDS hit
the silver screen on July 28, when nearly 400 celebrities, politicians,
scientists, friends of The CFIDS Association of
America and people with the illness gathered in
D.C. for a special screening of the movie
The event, organized and sponsored by the Association,
featured a rare public appearance by Laura Hillenbrand, author of “Seabiscuit:
An American Legend,” the best-selling book about the 1930s racehorse that
inspired the movie.
Hillenbrand’s success — and her willingness to speak out about
her illness — has helped the
immensely. A grateful community showered her with praise during the
“It’s an inspiring story,”
CFIDS lobbyist Tom Sheridan told the crowd.
“The jockey is inspiring. The horse is inspiring. But really the most inspiring
story is the author.”
“We hope you’re all inspired a little bit to help us conquer
this illness.” Tony Kornheiser, star of ESPN Radio’s “The Tony Kornheiser Show”
and ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” television show, was the event’s honorary
chairman. He praised Hillenbrand’s efforts before the screening, as did U.S.
Sen. Harry Reid and Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC).
NBC’s Bob Costas was also in attendance, as was radio
personality Diane Rehm,
Washington Post writer Andrew Beyer, Washington-area
entertainment reporter Arch Campbell, Inside Edition reporter Les Trent,
actress Mary McDonough and Kornheiser’s
TV co-host, Washington Post sports columnist Michael
Dr. Gerberding said the evening was all about “C-words”:
Celebration, commitment and collaboration. “Hopefully, this leads to this last
c-word, which is ‘cure,’” she said.
Dr. Gerberding then thrilled the crowd by announcing that the
CDC will allocate an extra $100,000 toward the Association’s Physician Education
But the star of the night was Hillenbrand. She attended a VIP
gathering before the screening, as well as a special tea held in her honor the
day before. With longtime boyfriend Borden Flanagan at her side, Laura walked
slowly to the front of the movie theater to a standing ovation.
Hillenbrand said she was incredibly moved by the gathering and
the words of praise. “Thank you so much. To Kim Kenney , to the Association,
and to everyone who is working to
find a cure for CFIDS ,” she said.
Seabiscuit enjoyed immediate success at the box office.
On the first weekend of its release (July 25–27), it ranked first nationally in
amount of tickets sold per screen. It opened to a wider release the following
weekend. The film, released by Universal Pictures/Dreamworks/Spyglass
Entertainment, stars Jeff Bridges, Tobey Maguire and Chris Cooper. The movie
also won widespread acclaim from critics.