Often when we think of fundraisers, we think of generating money towards research and cost of medical procedures. Sometimes however, we forget the peripheral costs involved for families and in the instance of children awaiting vital organ transplants, it is important to note the financial, in addition to emotional impacts involved. The loss of salary for some parents taking time away from work to care for their child, plus the stresses of making mortgage payments, travel expenses, car payments, gas, groceries, etc. are an extra-challenging reality for those families impacted. 16-time Grammy winner David Foster is on a mission to aid financially those families requiring assistance in these cases.
Taking place at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto, the David Foster Foundation Miracle Gala and Concert drew a star-studded line-up of guests to the purple carpet tonight, headlined by a performance from international megastar Stevie Wonder as he zipped through his greatest hits before a lucky, intimate audience. Together with a line-up which included the likes of Michael Bolton, Kiesza, Howard Dell, Peter Cetera, Brian Williams, Premier Kathleen Wynne, former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, an astonishing tally of $6.5 million was raised this evening. The foundation’s goal is to raise $30 million total by its 30th anniversary come 2017.
Also this evening, two Visionary Awards were handed-out. Gregg Saretsky, President & CEO of WestJet (one of this evening’s major sponsors), received the award for National Business Leader of the Year. The National Humanitarian Leader of the Year went to Simon Keith, who has the distinction of being both an organ donor advocate and the first professional athlete in the world to play a professional sport after undergoing a heart transplant.
Although being advised with confidence David Foster and Stevie Wonder would walk the purple carpet to speak to media, alas only a few outlets had the chance to speak to the duo before they were ushered off. We did however, have the pleasure of chatting with a few of the evening’s stars and this is what they had to say about the foundation.
Former Chicago frontman and acclaimed vocalist Peter Cetera: “Whenever I can help and it happens to coincide with my schedule, it’s a wonderful cause. And when you can work music into it, that’s important”, says the Idaho resident who will be on tour this fall, with a stop soon in Niagara Falls.
Actor Howard Dell, who has starred on Young and the Restless: “I came to be involved three years ago in Victoria, BC when I met David and started to learn about foundation. Luckily, David and I got to perform at the gala – the start of a singing career in hibernation for 15 years!”. “Having gone through a transplant suffering financial burdens of it, etc. when you see the foundation come in and alleviates the burdens, it’s a tremendous relief for the parents.”. Dell also is a huge fan of Steven Wonder and sang a couple lines of Overjoyed, expressing his excitement for the evening’s main attraction.
International hit-recording artist Kiesza: “I’ve always known about foundation since childhood. I’m a huge David Foster fan, so it’s surreal being involved with it. It’s helping save children’s lives and acknowledges the families, the siblings. It’s about all the people affected by the situation. It’s really a ‘miracle’ foundation like they say.”. The singer tells us her next album will be an “evolution”, building on some elements of her debut disc, Sound of a Woman.
To learn more about the David Foster Foundation and how you can contribute, click here.
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)
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