All in for Ethan Fundraiser Raises $35,000 for GANs Research


Ethan and friends. Photo courtesy of All in for Ethan Facebook page.

Kellie Halvey, Staff Reporter

Saturday, February 24, 2018, marked the fifth annual All in for Ethan fundraiser. The fundraiser benefitted GANs research, a rare disease that affects one of RB’s students, Ethan Tkalek.

In speaking with Ethan, he acknowledged that this venue, Gibson Bar and Steakhouse, was his favorite place to host the event.

The event had a great turnout of people from different parts of Ethan’s life. Friends, family, teachers, doctors, and more attended the fundraiser.

“It was evident that so many people love and care about Ethan, there were people from all different parts of his life: teachers, and therapists, and speech therapists from when he was young, to neighbors, to family members. It was pretty amazing to see all these people who really have known him,” said Mari Mortensen, a social worker and sponsor of the RBHS Best Buddies program.

For Mortensen and Nicolette Anderson, a special education teacher, the highlight of the event was hearing Ethan’s doctor, Steven Gray, speak about the progress being made in GANs research.

“Since last year, the doctor came that’s working on the trials for finding a cure or just reversing some of the symptoms of GANS and so my highlight is always seeing him speak about the progress that he’s making in the clinical trials,” said Audrey Connelly, a close friend of Ethan’s.

At the event there was also food, a silent auction, and lots of talking with Ethan and his parents. Ethan is very personable and loves to talk to everyone.

“I think if anyone meets him [Ethan] they’re going to say that he is a witty, kind, personable person and he genuinely loves to be around others and interact with others… One of the highlights of his day is getting to participate with all of his peers because that really is what motivates him, and he’s just he’s an awesome kid,” said Anderson.

“[My favorite part of the event was] talking to everyone,” said Ethan, “It feels good [to know that so many people support me].”

Ethan came to Riverside Brookfield High School this year and has made an impression on everyone that he meets. Everyone has a different favorite thing about Ethan, but everyone thinks the world of him.

“I love that he’s such a genuinely happy person, I feel like he’s dealing with everything so well and he’s such a strong kid,” said McKenna Doyle, a close friend of Ethan.

Ethan is very proud to have his name on such a successful event. This year, the event was able to raise $35,000 towards GANs research.

“It is so rare and there’s not a lot of funding… this goes towards research for Ethan and other kids with GANs,” said Jake Garvey, one of Ethan’s close friends, in a recent interview.

Ethan loves that he is such a big part of making a difference in GANs research, and the lives of other kids with GANs. “It feels like we are really raising money and all of that.” said Ethan.