Portland, OR. It was high-fives all around as Children’s Cancer Association (CCA) raised $1.4 million at its 17th annual Wonderball gala on October 7th. Leaders Rosemary Colliver, founder Regina Ellis and Andy Lytle celebrated the donations which will fuel CCA’s mission of prescribing joy to seriously ill children and their families. Organizers welcomed nearly 850 supporters to the Oregon Convention Center for an “Age of Aquarius” themed night they say was inspired by the abundant love and optimism of the Woodstock era.
Guests enjoyed silent and live auctions, a seated dinner, inspiring family speakers and live, Woodstock era music throughout the night. Portland jam band frontman Lewi Longmire’s LT Red and the Hazy Visions kicked off the live performances, which included a rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s “Star-Spangled Banner” performed by Chris Funk of The Decemberists. Other performers included Brandon Nicolai and New York-based cabaret singer Amber Martin.
Décor included Indian tapestries, marigold garlands, and buttons and prayer flags with the reimagined protest slogan “Cancer is not Healthy for Children and Other Living Things”. A Moroccan menu and Summer of Love themed drinks were served to complete the aesthetic. Late night revelers also enjoyed an after-party with DJ Anjali at Spirit of 77.
A record-breaking paddle raise was led by auctioneer Kelly Russell of Artisan Auctions following Regina Ellis’ keynote speech and PSU pre-med student, Sarah Florig’s, inspiring story. CCA-served family, Ruth and Andy Soria Zuniga, also shared the many ways CCA has supported their family during their 2-year-old daughter’s treatment.
“At CCA, we are JOY seekers. For the last 22 years, we have asked ourselves repeatedly: what can JOY do?” said Regina Ellis, Founder and Chief Joy Officer of Children’s Cancer Association in her address. “We are the only organization working to position JOY as best practice in pediatric hospitals across the nation by delivering innovative programs that transform a moment with music, friendship and nature. Because of the generosity in this room, last year we served 31 percent more children and teens, how, when and where they preferred, and delivered over 92,000 service interactions across the United States.”
This event was made possible by the presenting sponsor, Regence BlueCross Blue Shield of Oregon. Additional sponsors included PDX Property Group and Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel.
About Children’s Cancer Association (CCA)
The Children’s Cancer Association knows that for seriously ill children and their families every moment is precious. That’s why our programs leverage music, friendship, play, and resources to create transformative moments of joy for 20,000 children, teens, and their family members each year. We believe kids deserve long, wonderful lives. Or at the very least, short wonderful lives. Unlike many organizations dedicated to the worthy goal of someday finding a cure for cancer, CCA is all about creating joy today. See our programs in action at JoyRx.org.