Roeland Park native Deidre Pujols and daughter lending their support to annual Gala of The Mission Project

Albert and Deidre Pujols and family.
Albert and Deidre Pujols and family. Photo via The Mission Project.

Deidre Pujols may be more widely known in some circles as the spouse of Albert Pujols, the first baseman for the Los Angeles Angels and former St. Louis Cardinal.

But others know her as a tireless advocate helping people living with Down syndrome, such as her daughter Isabella. Still others would know her as a childhood friend from Roeland Park.

Sarah Mai, the executive director of The Mission Project, counts herself among the latter. Mai has known Pujols since they were 4 years old. “She’s an old friend,” Mai says. The two reconnected as adults.

Deidre Pujols is the president of the Pujols Family Foundation that focuses on Down syndrome and improving life in the Dominican Republic, where her husband grew up. This year, she and Isabella are serving as honorary chairs of The Mission Project’s Kentucky Derby Gala fundraising event that will be held May 7 in the Lake Quivira Country Club.

The Mission Project is an organization based in Mission that enables adults with developmental disabilities to live independently in the community.

Deidre and 18-year-old Isabella will be attending the gala and the family is making other contributions as well, including a VIP suite at the Royals-Angels game on July 27 for the live auction. They also will be inviting other family and friends to the gala.

“She is doing this because she believes in what we do,” Mai said. “It’s pretty special.” Mai said Deidre wanted it to be clear that this is a personal contribution and not part of the foundation’s work.

The Kentucky Derby Gala will include both a live and silent auction plus food, drink, prizes and watching the running of the Derby.

More information about the gala and registering for tickets can be found here.