When Jnetics cancelled its inaugural dinner with just four days’ notice, its chair Anthony Angel described the potential loss of income as “a massive blow”.
The dinner, titled Raise to Erase, had been expected to generate around £350,000 towards Jnetics’ work to prevent severe recessive Jewish genetic disorders within the community.
But by Tuesday, £150,000 had been pledged from supporters after the charity sent out requests to table hosts to ask their guests to contribute ‑— and distributed a link to the appeal video which would have been shown at the dinner. The video was extended to include a message from the dinner chair, Mr Angel’s wife Ruth, with a personal reminder of why the Jnetics’ screening programme and educational activities were vital.
She explained that their son Benjamin had cystic fibrosis, “one of the life-threatening genetic disorders we now test for. When Benjamin was born in 1978, it wasn’t possible to discover if you were a carrier for any of these disorders. Benjamin’s diagnosis was a complete shock to us.”
At 23, “after overcoming huge obstacles”, he qualified as a doctor but died three years later, leaving behind his new wife and the rest of the family.
“We were devastated and have mourned his loss every day for the past 14 years. Our family will never be the same again.
“We cancelled our dinner to save lives but that cancellation critically threatens our life-saving work,” Mrs Angel added, stressing “the obligation we owe the other young people we heard about in the video and so many others by eradicating these disorders”.
In keeping with the dinner theme, she urged supporters to erase the pledge they were going to make and raise it to a larger amount. Early indications suggested that her plea had been taken on board.