May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month and we’re putting charity wine 2016 Bella Mente, Pinot Grigio, Venezie IGT, Italy, in the spotlight. Since the first release of our Bella Mente label in 2015, Traveling Vineyard has donated $1 from the sale of every bottle to the American Brain Tumor Association® (ABTA)—to date, we have been able to donate $73,625 thanks to our wine community.
The charity initiative behind the Bella Mente label was inspired by a personal story from within our Wine Guide community, as all our charity labels are. Wine Guide Lori Stryker’s husband, Ted Bohnert, was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme or GBM in 2014. Within 10 months, he lost his life to this devastating disease. But during his battle, Ted volunteered to participate in as many phase zero experimental clinical trials and research programs as he could, knowing that although his involvement would not benefit him, it could save others in the future. In 2015, we released our first Bella Mente label in honor of Ted’s bravery and selflessness. Lori, who today is a Director with Traveling Vineyard, is as committed as ever to the cause inspired by her beloved Ted.
“Over the last year, our donation to the American Brain Tumor Association has been felt far and wide. I am a member of several support groups all over the world for GBM Warriors, their spouses and caregivers,” Lori says. “I am constantly sought out for not only advice and counsel, but also just to thank me for all Traveling Vineyard continues to do to bring awareness to this horrendous disease.”
Lori has been contacted by warriors who want her to know how grateful and appreciative they are. “These are people who understand they will likely die from GBM in less than two years. Like Ted, they just want a cure so no one else has to suffer like they and their loved ones. And, because of our Wine Guides talking about and marketing Bella Mente—affectionately known as ‘Ted’s Wine’—at each of their tasting events around the country, we have been able to witness the generosity of so many people in every community who order hoping to be a part of finding a cure.”
Bella Mente has become a beautiful beacon
of hope for so many.
Since 2015, we have been touched by many stories from within our wine community from warrior families, like Lori’s. One of those stories comes from Wine Guide Jody Dvorak, who joined Traveling Vineyard shortly after Bella Mente was released, in October 2015. Because of the story behind the Bella Mente label, Jody was inspired to get her sister, Glori Ann Byrd, on board as a Wine Guide with her.
“I wanted my sister to be a part of this amazing tribe that came together to help a fellow Wine Guide through her nightmare, and three months later, my sister Glo became a Wine Guide, too.”
A car accident just one month later, however, led to a GBM diagnosis for Glo.
“In disbelief, I reached out to Lori Stryker, the Wine Guide who lived the horror we were about to embark upon. My new friend was a source of support, information, and empathy. During the 16 months before she died, my new wine tribe reached out to both Glo and me with messages of support. They contributed financially to Glo’s family’s needs, and assisted me with my business when I needed to be with her.”
As Jody, now a Director with Traveling Vineyard, notes, with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, the median survival rate for Glioblastoma is 16 months. That means that half the people diagnosed will die sooner.
“For my baby sister, a 45-year-old mom of two middle schoolers, it was devastating. Glo was the most positive person I’ve ever known, but not until GBM, did I learn how incredibly brave she was. Everyone with this cancer is different, and there is no cure. A diagnosis is a death sentence. There is an urgent need to find better treatments for this incredibly aggressive brain cancer.”
The funds raised through sales of Bella Mente, Pinot Grigio, continue to support a different, more hopeful future for GBM warriors.
The ABTA, which celebrated 45 years of impact in 2018, directs funds donated by Traveling Vineyard toward important medical student fellowships for those investigating careers in brain tumor research—all part of its campaign to inspire the greatest medical minds to become involved in this battle. In 2017, the ABTA, in honor of Ted Bohnert, awarded the Medical Student Summer Fellowship to Melanie Babinski, DEC, who completed a fellowship in brain metastases at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
“I am so very, very proud to be a part of a company that chose the American Brain Tumor Association as the beneficiary of one dollar from every bottle of Bella Mente sold,” Jody says.
Join us in supporting the ABTA and let’s defeat GBM. Learn more about Bella Mente, Pinot Grigio.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN BRAIN TUMOR ASSOCIATION
Founded in 1973, the American Brain Tumor Association was the first national patient advocacy organization committed to funding brain tumor research and providing support and education programs for patients, caregivers and their loved ones. For more information, visit www.abta.org or call 800-886-ABTA (2282).