The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Joe and Kathy O’Donnell hosted the Joey O’Donnell Film Premiere at the Natick Mall and AMC Theatres Framingham Sunday night.
The O’Donnell family has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in support of the Foundation and the Joey Fund, which is named in memory of the O’Donnells’ son, Joey O’Donnell, a courageous fighter and victim of cystic fibrosis.
Joe O’Donnell spoke about the tremendous progress that has been made toward finding a cure for cystic fibrosis.
O’Donnell personally thanked Dr. Preston Cambell III, CFF president and CEO, and Dr. Jeffrey Leiden, chairman, president and CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, for their outstanding work in their respective fields.
Dr. Leiden said, “It’s still sort of sinking in – this is really the culmination of a 45-year dream to make a single medicine that can treat up to 90 percent of all patients with cystic fibrosis.”
He singled out Joe O’Donnell for his leadership and generosity in the cause of finding a cure for cystic fibrosis.
“There’s one person in particular that I want to recognize and that is Joe O’Donnell – this absolutely would have never happened without Joe O’Donnell,” said Leiden. “Every mission has a visionary who gets up and can see what’s possible. Forty-five years ago, Joe stood up and he saw what was possible. For those of you who know Joe, he is a force of nature. There was nothing that was going to stop him from making this happen and nothing did. We couldn’t have done it without his continuous support and his advice and all the things he did to push us forward.”
Fittingly, the hundreds of guests accorded the O’Donnell family the largest ovation of the evening.
“Joe, thank you for making really a miracle happen,” said Dr. Campbell. “It’s going to change the lives of people with CF and bring joy where there was once tears.”