Sharing thoughts about Taylor Hicks and concert travels and other musical musings!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

30th Anniversary Dawn of a Dream Gala

It’s the story of “a child shall lead”. Before her death at age 13, in 1979, leukemia patient, Katie Hageboeck asked her parents to donate the money she had saved for a new bike to a group struggling to raise funds to fund cancer research. That donation would be the impetus for her parents to found the Children’s Cancer Research Fund in her memory.

Katie’s gift of $500 has grown to provide nearly $80 million dollars to provide funding for doctors and researchers at the University of Minnesota for their work in pediatric cancer research.

Their first fundraising effort in 1980 netted $50,000. This year’s event raised over $900 thousand dollars, actually going over their goal by $100 grand! The 30th Anniversary Dawn of a Dream Gala, held at The Depot in downtown Minneapolis was a “sold out” event where a thousand guests gathered to celebrate the work of the Research Fund and help raise funds for another year of its remarkable work.

Silent and live auctions were part of the pre- and post- dinner activities. The live auction raised an amazing amount of money. A couple of vacations netted $13,000 or more. A three-month Maserati lease fetched a tidy sum for the charity.

The most amazing part of the evening was observing the raising of $250 thousand dollars for a high-power microscope to be used in the research performed at the University of Minnesota. By the time the auctioneer was finished, the funds were raised, and possibly even exceeded. I couldn’t keep the addition going in my head that fast! One pledge of $20k lead to four pledges of $15k which lead to perhaps six pledges of $10k. There were even more $5k pledges and $1,000 pledges that seemed to take five minutes to be recognized. And some of these donations came from winning bidders in the live auction who had already paid substantial amounts for the live auction items.

The host for the evening, and her name escapes me, provided a couple of songs over the course of the evening, one of which was “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. She had a beautiful voice to go with her beautiful heart.

In a surprising moment during the program, Taylor Hicks, along with Jeff Lopez and Brian Less, took the stage to sing “What’s Right is Right”. Sitting on a stool, Taylor sang the most beautiful version of the song I’ve ever heard. I’ve always thought the song was about love for one’s partner, but as I listened to the words for the thousandth time, I realized it could just as easily be about a parent’s love for a child, especially one that has a dreaded disease. While Taylor sang, pictures of Taylor with the children at the University of Minnesota were displayed. The kids loved the opportunity to meet an American Idol, and Taylor seemed to be taken by the spirit of these children.
The family that used their daughter’s death and meager savings to seed the Research Fund, Diana and Norm Hageboeck, were introduced and spoke of the work done by the University of Minnesota. Their goal is simple: eradicate childhood cancer and spare other parents from losing a child to such a devastating disease.

Our feelings were not spared. We heard of successes and losses. We were introduced to the doctors and researchers. We heard from the heads of the organization and the committee putting together the gala. In the end, hearts and wallets were opened and goals were met for the event.

To close out the anniversary gala, entertainment was provided by Taylor Hicks. Tables emptied and guests rushed towards the dance floor where guests filled the area. Some danced, others watched, but all enjoyed the music. Taylor performed such concert favorites as “Love the One You’re With”, “Back to Louisiana”, “Living for the City”, “Seven Mile Breakdown”, “Takin’ It to the Streets”, and my favorite, “Bulletproof”. All the music was perfect for dancing and working off the excitement of the evening.

The evening had been a success! The goal of the gala had been surpassed. And a powerful microscope would be purchased. It was a fun event, and I was glad to be part of a wonderful event.

To make a donation to the Children's Research Cancer Fund, please visit their site at:

I'll be back later in the week with a recap from Maplewood, and another story of paying forward, "Nineteen" style so keep checking back.

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Anonymous said...

What a fabulous experience and recap, Mandy! It sounds like it was quite a moving evening. Thank you so much for sharing it with us!


hickifino said...

Thank you! What an emotional and amazing evening! Pictures are excellent. Looking forward to more.

rajrae said...

What a wonderful recap, which brought tears to my eyes. Taylor sang What's Right Is Right at the Komen Race for the Cure in CA in early 2009, and I said at that time "what a perfect song for such an event." I love this organization and am so thrilled at the success of their fund raising. Nothing is more heartbreaking than the thought of a suffering child. NOTHING.

Louise4Tay said...

Just wonderful, Mandy. Thank you so much for this beautiful recap. Minneapolis was a great stop for Taylor and his fans and the UM Research Center. I'm so glad so many of Taylor's fans got to see him at this event.
Thanks again.

jerseyirish said...

Mandy, Wonderful heartwrenching recap. I read through my tears, these kids are true hero's going through all they have to endure, an experience no parent ever wants to go through. Taylor is a true humanitarian, seeing the pics of him with the kids at the hospital tugged my emotions, he truley cares and shows. Thanks again.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your wonderful and heartfelt recap.

Anonymous said...

These Gala Affairs always require hard work and dedication from many volunteers and sponsors. It is wonderful to read that Taylor could contribute a small part to making this event a HUGE SUCCESS.

Thanks for sharing your evening , Rags. It is both heartwarming and heart wrenching seeing these children who have been stricken with such an insidious disease.


Gr8fulheart said...

Cancer is such a devastating disease; but when it involves a child, the impact seems to leave a much bigger hole in the heart.
I am grateful to see that people are willing to step forward; to take a part in helping to fund research & hopefully some day, find the cure for this disease.
I am also grateful that people such as Taylor are willing to share their time with the little ones, in bringing some joy into their lives.
Thanx Mandy, for the recap of the evening♥

Diane said...

Mandy, thank you for sharing this evening with us in such a beautiful way. Your words moved me to tears and then gratitude for everyone who made this evening such a success.

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