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Block Party raises funds for Next Step

From left: Bonnie Miller with John and Jess Gillooly, all from Milton, at the Next Step party.
From left: Bonnie Miller with John and Jess Gillooly, all from Milton, at the Next Step party.(Bill Brett for the Boston Globe)

Despite the wintry mix that left people wet and bedraggled Friday evening, 250 partygoers made their way to MIT’s Walker Memorial to attend the Next Step Block Party. Benefiting Next Step, a Cambridge-based organization assisting teens and adults living with chronic life-threatening illnesses, the ninth annual event included live music and dancing, a rum tasting, an auction, raffles, and games including cornhole and a basketball challenge. Guests enjoyed dinner from Commonwealth Cambridge and drinks donated by Sam Adams, Newburyport Brewery, and Ipswich Ale. Among the attendees were Next Step founder and executive director Bill Kubicek, Katherine Beaverson from Pfizer, Jen Helfer from Bluebird Bio, and doctors from Boston’s major hospitals. The event — co-chaired by Next Step board member Mary Ann Guillette and her husband, Ethan Gilsdorf — raised $90,000 for Next Step, with a record-breaking $35,000 from the live auction alone. Auction items included a signed jersey and football from Patriot Devin McCourty and an autographed photograph from teammate Danny Amendola, a signed photo by music photographer Herb Greene, American Repertory Theatre tickets, a Charles Hotel and Henrietta’s Table package, a Formaggio Kitchen cheese cave tour, a handmade Vermont coffee table, and vacations in Gloucester and Orleans.