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Dinner with the LLLI Founders: Celebrating 50 Years

Judy Torgus
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 24 No. 1, January-February 2007, p. 35

A special part of the LLLI 50th Anniversary Celebration was the Founders Reception and Gala Dinner held on October 28, 2006 at the Hilton Hotel in Lisle/Naperville, Illinois. The seven LLL Founders were the honored guests, and they were surrounded by members of their families and special friends from near and far. Current and former members of the LLLI Board of Directors joined in the celebration along with LLLI staff members, active and retired LLL Leaders, and corporate sponsors.

Guests were entertained by a string quartet from Glenbard East High School; musical selections from the 1950s were performed by Martha Kasten, daughter of Mary Ann Kasten who was an LLL Leader many years ago. Special 50th Anniversary Awards were on display, and additional tributes from Linkages and the United States Breastfeeding Committee were presented at the dinner. A short video was shown at the dinner that included interviews with the Founders and highlighted the LLLI 50th Anniversary. The segment was filmed by WTTW, the local PBS channel in Chicago, and had been shown on Chicago Tonight, a daily program featuring news from the Chicago area.

After a delicious dinner, a three-tiered cake, topped with an etched replica of the 50th Anniversary logo, was displayed and served. Gifts were presented to the Founders and some of the guests left with gift baskets and door prizes. A silent auction featured original artwork and historical memorabilia, including signed copies of the 1963 edition of THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING. Everyone left the dinner with new and renewed friendships and fond memories, looking forward to the 50th Anniversary Conference next summer in Chicago! (See pages 36-37 for more information on the upcoming Conference.)

A Toast to the Founders

Gwen Gotsch, long time LLLI Leader, author, and editor, was the Mistress of Ceremonies at the 50th Anniversary Celebration Dinner. She led everyone in the following Anniversary toast:

To the seven Founders of La Leche League who in 1956 recognized that the best information and the most effective support for nursing mothers came from other nursing mothers, who organized meetings, and wrote a manual and started a whole new organization;

To the La Leche League Leaders who followed the Founders' example, with meetings and counseling calls; who became administrators, advocates, authors, and more; who helped women around the world give their babies the precious gift of human milk;

To the fathers, the families, the advisors, the fundraisers, and the donors -- everyone who helped La Leche League thrive;

And most of all, to happy mothers and breastfed babies everywhere -- because that's what it's all about. Happy anniversary, La Leche League!

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