The 12th annual Celebration of Dreams Gala was held Saturday night at Bacara Resort & Spa, a key annual fundraiser for the Dream Foundation, generating nearly one-third of the foundation’s entire annual operating budget.
This in large part due to the sponsors and talent who donate thousands of dollars in products and services, this year in excess of $200,000. The 2013 sponsors included American Airlines, AOO Events Inc., Bacara Resort & Spa, Beau Joie Champagne, Bentley Westlake, Carl’s Jr., Gregory Pasetta, O’Gara Coach Westlake, Walter Claudio Salon Studio and Yacht Club Vodka.
The Dream Foundation is the first and largest national wish-granting organization for adults and their families battling life-threatening illness.
Gala night began as guests arrived to a line of Bentleys for photo ops and viewing pleasure. This grand entrance led to an outdoor dream as distinguished guests, VIPs and celebrities jaunted about sipping champagne, bidding on their favorite item in the silent auction and enjoying each precious moment.
Once inside the beautifully adorned grand ballroom, the gala included a live auction with Jane Lynch and Andrew Firestone serving as auctioneers and auctioning 10 one-of-a-kind items, including a getaway to the French Alps, Africa, a guitar signed by Richie Sambora that night, VIP tickets to a Lakers/Pacers game and much more.
The night continued with a smorgasbord of amazing performers, including Olivia Newton-John, Richie Sambora, Glee's Darren Criss, Broadway’s Teal Wicks, Sean Jones, teenage sensation Malia Civetz, dance troupe Tell-a-Vision and Barry Manilow, the Dream Foundation’s 2013 Humanitarian Award honoree.
Manilow inspired the room with an a cappella performance of “One Voice” and humbly accepted his award.
"Dream Foundation represents everything that is good about human beings," Manilow said. "I am so proud to be here. And to the angel, Thom Rollerson, who proves it takes only one person, one voice, to change the world."
Along with Manilow, CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc. and its CEO, Andy Puzder, were presented with the 2013 Outstanding Corporate Partner Award. A video was presented showing his gracious efforts complete with testimonials by fellow colleagues, politicians, celebrities, friends and those at the Dream Foundation who have witnessed his compassion first-hand.
The evening concluded with an epic after-party at Mirò Restaurant, with internationally acclaimed DJ Chris Cox spinning and the Carl’s Jr. Star Diner serving burgers and fries for guests to enjoy on the way home.
While attendees spent the evening rubbing elbows with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars — including Manilow, Newton-John, Sambora, Priscilla Presley, Lynch, Criss, Alan Thicke and Tanya Callau, Nigel Lythgoe, Sean Jones and Teal Wicks — the real stars for the evening were Dream Foundation’s dream recipients and their families.
Richard “Dick” Tidd, who passed just this year, was memorialized by his wife Sara and sister-in-law Sue, who joined the celebration as they continue to celebrate his life and final wish of a flourishing vegetable garden. Tidd passed exactly a week after the garden was finished, but it was one of the most beautiful weeks of his life.
"Thank you for your love. My life has become better because of Dream foundation. Thank you for making my husband's dream come true. It just keeps giving," Sue said tearfully after watching a beautiful montage of her husband’s final wish become reality.
Also in attendance and still battling, was 19-year-old Diamond Davis. Davis has been battling chronic liver disease most of her life but was delighted when her wish for an iPad and a gift card was fulfilled by Dream Foundation. All she wanted was entertainment during her treatments and to go shopping for once at her heart’s content. Though her future is bleak, her spirit and smile are glowing.
Dream Foundation founder and president Thomas Rollerson passionately addressed the audience.
“We must commend the bravery of everyone in this room, and everyone connected to the Dream Foundation who could not be here tonight. It is through bravery that we charge forward, it is through bravery that we fight every day and it is through bravery that we continue to make dreams come true,” he said.
It was a lovely evening. The Dream Foundation’s mission was celebrated and shared by those who are making a difference one dream at a time.
For more information about the Dream Foundation or how to donate, click here or call 805.564.2131.
— Dani Cordaro is a publicist representing the Dream Foundation.