At the Reaching New Heights Women’s Luncheon for Cumberland Heights, guests can always expect an atmosphere of acceptance and camaraderie, and this year’s event was certainly no exception. Despite a full house at Hillwood Country Club, the women’s gathering-which did include a few gentlemen, sequestered to one long table at the far side of the room-felt like an intimate family affair, with Cumberland Heights’ success stories serving as the centerpiece of the poignant afternoon.
News anchor Cynthia Williams, emcee of the luncheon and a Cumberland Heights graduate, offered a humorous and heartfelt take on her time in rehab and the road to recovery. The Sheila Keeble Award was presented by Sheila’s son, Patrick-also a graduate of Cumberland Heights-to Leslie Dabrowiak, yet another alum of the program. Leslie was celebrated for her 25+ years of service and leadership to Cumberland Heights and her tireless efforts to aid in fundraising through events like the Women’s Luncheon and the annual Concert for Cumberland Heights. “Thank you, Patrick, for making me sound so good,” Leslie joked before acknowledging that she was “truly overwhelmed” by the honor.
The keynote speaker, Susan Ford Bales, daughter of President Gerald Ford and Mrs. Betty Ford, shared her powerful and personal story about being the daughter of an addict. Emotions were running high as she recounted the heart-wrenching journey of her mother’s descent into alcohol and drug dependency, and her road to treatment and recovery. Approximately one in four Americans are exposed to alcoholism in the family, with so many more impacted by the disease through friendships and professional relationships, so it was no surprise to see how moved the crowd was by Susan’s inspiring testimony. And it was yet another timely and stirring reminder of how crucial treatment facilities like Cumberland Heights are to our community.