The ballroom at the Balboa Bay Club and Resort was filled with some 500 guests from all over the nation.
They had come for the inaugural Champions of Hope Gala benefiting the Global Genes/ RARE Project, a nonprofit advocating research and treatment for roughly 30 million Americans affected by rare and genetic diseases.
The Sept. 27 program in Newport Beach kept 500 people still for three hours. Not a sound came from the audience intent on capturing every word from a line-up of speakers, advocates, doctors, parents, caregivers and patients facing challenges in life brought on by afflictions most folks have never heard of, let alone had to face.
Seven thousand rare diseases are known to man and 95% of them do not have any sort of approved drug treatment, according to statistics presented at the dinner supplied by the
Not only do people suffering from any number of these rare diseases have no
The event was nothing short of inspirational. Emceed by Dawn Marie Kotsonis, organizers honored numerous individuals who have dedicated their lives to finding answers to some of the seemingly overwhelming questions related to such diseases.
Among the distinguished speakers on numerous ailments were Henri Termeer, former chief executive of
An element of Hollywood entertainment added some cheer to the mostly serious evening. Among the entertainers were Meagan Tandy ("Jane by Design"), Chris Mann and Katrina Parker ("The Voice"), Jason George, ("Grey's Anatomy") and Nestor Serrano ("Act of Valor").
To learn more, visit http://www.globalgenes.org.
Sharing the Vision
The health of children was the focal point of another recent important Southern California event.
The second annual Shared Visions Gala unfolded Sept. 20 at the
Sponsored by the Southern California College of Optometry, this signature annual event raised funds to support "the delivery of vision care to Orange County's underserved children," according to press materials associated with the event produced by the 108-year-old college.
Chairing the evening which began with a sunset cocktail reception and silent auction followed by dinner in the "East Room" of the library were honorary O.C. representatives Frances and Steve Knott. Maria Hall-Brown,
Major sponsorship came from Essilor, NVISION Laser Eye Centers, Abbott Medical Optics,
Kevin Alexander, SCCO president, shared with the audience the crucial importance of providing eye exams and appropriate treatment for O.C.'s school children.
"The majority of children are not receiving professional eye exams prior to starting school," he said, adding, "Children with untested vision problems will have trouble in school learning reading, writing and arithmetic if they can not see."