iSociety: Rochelle Rose

[Click here for a Noozhawk photo gallery from the event.]

The Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation once again hosted its annual Sangria Soiree on Saturday afternoon at the lovely Villa of Sunstone Vineyards & Winery in the Santa Ynez Valley.

The second annual event and silent auction featured delicious tapas by Rudy’s Restaurant and Tequila Bar, amazing paella from Viva Paella prepared on site, Spanish-inspired flatbreads by Chef’s Touch, and artisan cheese selections from Ono Catering.

Guests enjoyed tequilas and sangrias made from wine from Sunstone Winery, Palmina Wines, and D’Alfonso-Curran Wines. All proceeds from the auction and event support programs and services offered by Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, which provides financial and emotional support to families of children with cancer living in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties.

During the brief program, Executive Director Director Lindsey Guerrero lauded event co-founders Tracy Angel and Shannyn Tupper for their outstanding leadership and dedication. Also helping on the committee were Carolyn Shepard Baham, Hank Blanco (who was also active in the organization’s Saks at the City event in Santa Barbara) and the lovely Donna Barranco-Fisher.

“I am overcome with gratitude by the generosity and encouragement of all of our supporters here today,” Guerrero said. “This year we have helped 670 kids with cancer, and their families. We pay for hotel stays, emergency utilities, counseling and special items for their children with cancer, so that they can concentrate on supporting their children during a period of crisis. The numbers of families we serve is increasing. We already have 23 new diagnoses to date of children this year in our community that need our help.”

Significant sponsors included Blanco, Dr. Robert Kammer and family, and Mary Ellen Trainor Zemeckis, who was unable to attend. Board chair Jim Bechtel also provided leadership.

One-of-a-kind auction items were donated by Bonita Handbag, Chuck Liddell Autographed Shorts, Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa, Halper Fine Art, Marcus Allen, Kenny Loggins and artist Yone’ Young.

A family helped by the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation was introduced to the attendees. Parents Mike and Jill Emerson walked to the stage with their young twin daughters, Makenna and Morgan. It was the twins’ birthday, so the girls were presented with presents to unwrap. Jill Emerson described how much the foundation helped when one daughter was diagnosed and treated for cancer.

“As parents, we were overwhelmed by the diagnosis and the weeks of treatment,” she said. “Mike had to continue to work, so the foundation helped so I could stay in a hotel near the hospital so I could spend as much time as possible with my daughter.”

The Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded by Nikki Katz in 2002 with the purpose to assist families through their battle with cancer. Programs include financial support, emotional support groups, bone marrow drives and holiday projects.

Click here for more information on the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, or call 805.962.7466.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkSociety. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.