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By Kris Gaganidze

The Fourth Annual LAUGH YOUR FACE OFF was held May 8, 2018 in Chicago’s beautiful neighborhood of Lincoln Park at the Park West.  This marks a new date and a new bigger venue!  All of this helped to make this year’s LAUGH YOUR FACE OFF a huge success. With temperatures in the high 70’s and a beautiful sunshine day to come out and help support The Facial Pain Research Foundation (FPRF) in their fight to find a cure for Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN).

To date LAUGH YOUR FACE OFF has raised over 1.2 million dollars for research for a cure for the rare nerve disorder called Trigeminal Neuralgia.  The   Foundation is currently funding six different research programs to find a cure for Trigeminal Neuralgia.  TN is known to be one of the most painful conditions known to humans.  It is often called the suicide disease because there is no known cause and no cure.   

My husband, Kyr and I had the great pleasure of meeting Michael Pasternak six years ago.  He is one of the people who started the Foundation looking for a cure.  We got involved with Pat and Amy Tomasulo four years ago when we were asked to help with LYFO.  What an honor to get to work with and know these amazing people.  They are the brains and Founders of the brilliant LAUGH YOUR FACE OFF! This year’s LAUGH YOUR FACE OFF took place at the Park West Chicago.  The venue was twice the size that we’ve had in the past.  So over twice the number of people (700) attended Saturday’s event.  The evening started with cocktails, appetizers, silent auction and raffle!

My husband and I had the privilege of checking in VIP guests, sponsors and TN patients.  What a joy to thank our sponsors personally and give hugs to TN patients as they entered the event.There was a separate raffle set up just for the TN patients.  I think they appreciated the thoughtfulness of a special raffle just for them!  And a huge shout out to all of the returning and new sponsors!  We appreciate your generosity and support! 

The evening started with the very funny Pat Tomasulo warming up the audience with his great standup comedy.  After Pat got the crowd laughing we never stopped.  He was followed by five, yes five great standup comics.  Thank you to Rocky Laporte, Brian Smith, Jeannie Doogan, Drew Frees and Mike Stanley.

Next, the beautiful Amy Tomasulo read the raffle winners, which was exciting for all of the winners of those amazing packages!  

Followed by two special videos of TN patients, which gave us deep insight and understanding into the daily toll that TN takes on a person’s quality of life.  It’s amazing to see the impact on the audience that those videos made.  It was emotional, inspiring and heartbreaking.  These two brave TN warriors brought tears to many people. 

Then the big give which raised twenty five thousand nine hundred dollars in a matter of minutes!  I continue to be astounded by how generous people are.  

LAUGH YOUR FACE OFF an event where I was surrounded by friends, family, doctors, scientists, TN patients and many supporters.  Everyone was there for a reason, to find a cure for Trigeminal Neuralgia.  Every person I met that evening truly cares about the patients and supporting the research for a cure.  LAUGH YOUR FACE OFF is a huge success because of all the people who show up to show that they care.  Thank you for a beautiful night that gives each and every TN patient hope for a better tomorrow.


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