The most popular horse race in the world brings with it Derby day parties that are steeped richly in tradition. But for one local family, the celebration means much more than picking a winning horse.
“We just had 42-month scans and we’re clean …” Jeremy Esposito says about his 8-year-old son, Drew, who the family found out had brain cancer in 2018. After experiencing the effects of such a diagnosis, the family created Super Drew’s Crew, a nonprofit organization aiming to help ease those effects on other families going through the worst time of their lives.
And the third annual Super Drew Derby Fundraiser returns Saturday, at Third Turn Oldham Gardens. The party offers a live auction and music, and food and drinks surrounded by family-friendly fun.
But the best thing about the party, Esposito says, is being able to celebrate Derby day with family and friends while also knowing you’re giving back and helping in a priceless way.
“We like to call it the most social event, and one of the best parties in Oldham on Derby day,” he says.
Live auction items run the gamut and include everything from gift cards and baskets to vacation getaways and “experience” packages.
Esposito says, “We are so happy to have 3rd Turn as a venue, they have been so generous to our cause …” as many other businesses have as well. “Like Foxhollow Farm with their sponsorships and beef donations for our menu, and the consistent help of individuals like the Howard Family, who have supported us and our cause since day one …”
The organization raises funds and promotes initiatives to help pediatric cancer patients and their families at Norton Children’s in Louisville, where Drew has been treated. Super Drew’s Crew has renovated the family room and playroom constructed a new laundry room on the Norton Children’s oncology unit; made it possible to install expanded telemetry in every room in order to use new therapies; and enacted a Christmas toy drive bringing in more than 450 items for kids who spend their holidays in the hospital.
The crew has also been able to provide financial support not only to the hospital, the Kids Cancer Alliance and Bree’s Blessings, but offers direct donations to families in need of financial assistance. And it renovated the family room and playroom at the Addison Jo Blair Foundation in Elizabethtown.
The fundraiser offers ticket options, starting at $75, that include beer and food, as well as full tables for groups with food and drink runners, up to a “Superhero” level offering unlimited drinks and food plus a swag bag.
“A lot goes into this party and it’s a big silent auction …We have everything from bourbon baskets to a Brunswick air hockey table to kegerators, a private-chef experience to Reds tickets to vacations … and the band is amazing,” Esposito says about the Greenwood Rye, a “jam-grass” band.
This year, there will even be a best-dressed contest, “even the kids will wear their best Derby attire,” he says.
Esposito says that like last year, they expect to have about 350 people, plus about 100 kids.
“There’s plenty for the kids to do. We’ll have bounce houses, arts and crafts, face painting, but there’s specialty craft cocktails for adults, too.”
The menu, created by Third Turn, will include dishes like bourbon-smoked chicken and fried chicken sandwiches, and specialty items like the Exacta Burger.. “It will be a great, well-rounded menu, something for everyone,” Esposito says.
And, even more cause for celebration, he says Drew is doing great. “He’s doing awesome, he’s going to school, plays on two soccer leagues and is living like a normal kid.”
Which is another living reason to keep the nonprofit going strong, Esposito says. “We have a donor-advised fund with Norton Children’s, whatever we fundraise and give to them we direct where that money goes. So it’s geared towards the family as well — if you have families that are doing better as a whole, then the kids tend to follow.”
Tickets for the event can be purchased through superdrew.org.