Upper Arlington News

Wild Crush fundraiser

CFF to host 'coolest wine tasting' in town


Fine wine and foods from a myriad of Columbus area restaurants will be featured -- and the fight for a cure will be the focus -- when the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Central Ohio hosts its annual Wild Crush event next month.

For the past decade, CFF of Central Ohio has kicked off its yearly fundraising efforts with what it dubs "the coolest wine-tasting event in town."

This year will be no different. The 11th installment of the CFF's Wild Crush will take place April 11 at Walter Commons at St. Charles Preparatory School, 2010 E. Broad St., Columbus.

In addition to offering fine wine and a "cool vibe," organizers last week noted the Wild Crush supports a great cause. It represents the beginning of the local CFF chapter's 2014 fundraising efforts, which organizers say are crucial to combatting cystic fibrosis, an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system.

There currently is no cure for cystic fibrosis and, as CFF of Central Ohio Executive Director Darlene Cronin noted, researchers don't receive financial support from the federal government.

"There is no government funding for cystic fibrosis research," Cronin said. "So, funding for research all comes from personal donations.

"We're so close to a cure. It's one of the diseases I can say will be cured in my lifetime. I've never been able to say that in all my years in health care."

Despite the lack of government funding, there are 79 CFF chapters throughout the United States.

Proceeds from events such as Wild Crush go to the national CFF, with roughly 90 cents of every $1 donated to cystic fibrosis research.

In the 1950s, few children with cystic fibrosis lived long enough to attend elementary school. Now, those diagnosed with the disease live into their 40s and beyond.

Cronin credited drugs such as Kalydeco, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2012, and other emerging medications in the cystic fibrosis "pipeline" for giving hope to the 30,000 people in the U.S. and 70,000 people worldwide who've been diagnosed with the disease.

"(Kalydeco) was the 'Drug of the Year' in 2012 and really has been a game-changer for the doctors and our foundation," she said. "Now we're doing research of additional drugs that can be taken in conjunction with Kalydeco."

Wild Crush -- scheduled from 7 to 9:30 p.m. April 11 -- is typically attracts up to 400 people. Advance tickets cost $75 per person and can be purchased online at cff.org/chapters/centralohio/wildcrush.

Tickets at the door will cost $80 per person.

Additionally, 70 VIP tickets are available at a price of $125 per person. The VIP portion of the program will begin at 6:30 p.m. April 11.

"VIP includes a one-hour, prior-to-the-reception sampling of premier and upscale wines from Eddie Merlot's," said Jackie Riedel, CFF of Central Ohio development manager.

In addition to products from Eddie Merlot's, Wild Crush will feature international and domestic vintages and hors d'oeuvres from BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, Cantina Loredo, Mezzo Italian Kitchen and Wine, Spaghetti Warehouse, The Melting Pot, The Refectory Restaurant and Trattoria Roma.

There also will be a silent auction and live entertainment.