I think a lot about what creates real estate values. While there are specific scientific methods in determining real estate value, there are many intangibles. One thing very close to my heart is the idea of community and how community affects who wants to live here, how they live and what involvement they have in making our community the best place to live for all. I believe the “heart” or collective direction of a community creates value on an intangible scale. I am always thinking about “What makes a great city?” I have had the good fortune to live in wonderful communities, growing up in the southeast, going to school in Europe or living for years in New York City. As an adult, I chose to live in Reno.

Saturday night was a perfect example of why I love our community. We were asked to go to the Moonlight Garden Gala, a first year event. It was a fund raiser for The Addi and Cassi Fund. The event was in the new Reno Ballroom downtown and it started pretty early (5:30) for cocktails. So here we were downtown on a beautiful evening with so much buzz going on. River Fest was just ending with kayakers crossing the street with their kayaks, Young Business Leaders of America at the event center and thousands of people enjoying a beautiful afternoon by the river.

I don’t know Hugh and Chris Hempel but it appears they moved into our community about 2004/2005 and for Reno, not very long. Apparently Hugh was a successful high tech entrepreneur who did very well and Chris was successful in her field as well. Once in Reno their twin girls were born. Tragically they were diagnosed with Niemann-Pick Type C, a lysosomal storage disease (LSD) a genetic disorder caused by genetic abnormalities. The particular disorder Addi and Cassi have is very relevant to Alzheimer’s disease and is called childhood alzheimers…

About five months ago friends of the Hempels begin to plan this fundraiser. It was sold out on Saturday night, over one thousand people. There was a silent auction, a live auction and lots of wonderful entertainment. Hugh and Chris Hempel spoke about the journey they had been on with their children and they were so authentic, so touching and so moving, there was not a dry eye in the house. They were so humble and touched at the turnout of our community and sponsors, it was a really special evening. A reporter that interviewed the Hempels said Hugh and Chris, after getting over the initial shock, said “We have been in training all our life for this task, this challenge.”

These two remarkable, capable parents have already made a difference in our lives in Reno, Nevada. Saturday night the Hempels bought stories of children from around the world to us. In most cases I am sure they educated just about everyone there. Most of all I was honored to have watched two such courageous parents share with our community their hopes, their dreams and their fears.

If we were in a bigger city or a different city, we might not have been invited or seen the beginning of something so positive. This important subject might have gotten lost among many other events. I am constantly amazed at the number of bright, accomplished people who live in our community and who use their considerable intellect and big hearts to shape our town. That is one reason I love our area, it is a community with a big heart.

Many blessings and prayers to the Hempels and their girls. If you would like more information or to help go to www.addiandcassi.com.