The Dream Foundation held its 14th Annual Celebration of Dreams Gala at Bacara Resort & Spa in Goleta, an event featuring unparalleled entertainment, heartfelt dream stories, and attracted a national audience of celebrities, special guests and foundation supporters.
The foundation is the only national dream-granting organization for adults and their families suffering life-threatening illnesses.
Entertainers included country/American musician Natalie Noone — daughter of Herman’s Hermits frontman Peter Noone, and Dream Foundation supporter and event co-chairwoman, Mireille Noone. Raised in Santa Barbara, Natalie Noone has also been a Dream Foundation volunteer.
Giving a more classical performance was 15-year-old Sara Stevens, who has been training since the age of 6 and is currently working with Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera musical director Paul Schwartz on an album.
O.A.R. (Of A Revolution), founded in 1996 by high school classmates in Rockville, Md., also performed American rock, much to the delight of guests.
Featured live auction packages included an “After-Noone with Peter Noone,” a private concert for 100 given by Noone; “Two Tickets to Paradise” package including four nights in New Zealand and three nights in Fiji; a five-star meal at one of Los Angeles’ favorite eateries Little Dom’s.
The silent auction boasted more than 70 items, including signed Kobe Bryant game sneakers.
“I have learned so much visiting with Dream recipients,” she said. “I have sat, talked, shared and played with these recipients, and have gained for myself as well strength and a greater appreciation of life.”
Dedicated to celebrating the more than 22,000 dream recipients the foundation has served since its inception in 1994, the event also included heartfelt testimonials from three recent dream families, the Malones from Arizona, the Hoods from California, and Tara Middleton from South Carolina.
Sheri and Jimmy Malone are the wife and son of 55-year-old James Malone, who died in June, just one day before realizing his dream of visiting Washington, D.C.
A Navy veteran who served from 1977 to 1981, Malone was honorably discharged as a disbursing clerk second class. The Dream Foundation was honored to have the Malones attend the public launch of its newest program, Dreams for Veterans, on Capitol Hill last month.
The Dream Foundation also welcomed dream recipient William Hood and his wife, Ellen. With a life expectancy of six to 12 months due to cancer, Hood received his dream last month when he and his family, including daughter Madeline, 14, and son Robert, 10, attended a San Francisco Giants game.
Middleton, 32, who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor last year, continues to fight for her life. Her final dream was fulfilled when she met her idol, Tamar Braxton, and appeared on her talk show, The Real.
Middleton continues to thrive as the founder and CEO of Rare Rubies, an organization that focuses on life coaching, consulting and motivational speaking.
“Dream Foundation is privileged to have such a generous, national network of supporters, corporate and in-kind partners, and volunteers who support the fulfillment of thousands of dreams each year,” Dream Foundation executive director Kisa Heyer said.
“Our Celebration of Dreams Gala is about enhancing awareness of the organization and its many programs, celebrating our incredible community of supporters, and — most important —paying tribute to the dreamers and their families we are privileged to serve,” she said.
The organization hopes to raise $1 million from the gala event, which attracted more than 400 guests and 550 more at its dynamic after party.
The 14th Annual Celebration of Dreams Gala saluted the founding partners of the newly launched Dreams for Veterans program: CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc. and president and CEO Andy Puzder, as well as John Paul DeJoria of The Patrón Spirits Co. and CEO and co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems.
Gentiva Hospice Foundation was also recognized. The organization has been a corporate partner in Dreams since 1999 and has helped serve more than 9,000 final dreams.
Event sponsors included Colleen Barnett-Taylor and Michael Taylor, CKE Restaurants Inc., Genentech, Dee and Andy Puzder, Tracy and Michael Bollag, The Himovitz Family and El Capitan Canyon, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, Wells Fargo, Bacara Resort & Spa, Patròn Tequila, John Paul Mitchell Systems, Walter Claudio Salon Spa and many others.
After the dinner and program, guests continued to celebrate until midnight at the After Party at the Dream Lounge in the transformed Bacara lobby. Dancers rocked to the music of DJ Chris Cox.
Spirits and photo booth were provided courtesy of Patrón Tequila, late-night bites were courtesy of Carl’s Jr. Star Diner, Patrón Tequila and ProYo, the Anytime Frozen Treat; beer courtesy of New Belgium Brewing Company; and the event producer/designer was Merryl Brown Events.
Net proceeds from the event are vital to maintaining and growing the mission of Dream Foundation, which receives no federal or state funding and relies solely on corporate and individual contributions, grants and in-kind gifts. Dream Foundation maintains a four-star rating (the highest rating) by Charity Navigator and has never turned down a qualified dream request.
— Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.