This past weekend we were invited to the THREE TO BE‘s 3rd Annual Stems of Hope Gala at the Koolhaus. I’ve heard of this foundation and was thrilled to be part of the evening. If you haven’t heard of THREE TO BE, it is a foundation founded 2 years ago by Dana and Jared Florence after the birth of their triplets – Taylor, Cole and Brody – each diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, a class of brain injury from birth that has no cure. Overwhelmed by the diagnosis but motivated by the love of their children, Jared and Dana founded the THREE TO BE Foundation, Canada’s only charity dedicated to raising funds to support and advance the development of innovative research, education and therapies for children with neurological disorders.
The event was spectacular. Everyone was on form, happy, dressed to the nines with chequebook in hand. Hosted by Anne Mroczkowski and Leslie Roberts of Global TV, we happen to walk in as they were introducing the founders of THREE TO BE, Dana and Jared Florence. Listening to their speech literally stopped me in my tracks and flooded my eyes with tears. The strength of two people who are blessed with triplets but also desolated by all three of them having Cerebral Palsy is very overwhelming. To hear how they turned their sad situation into the success of THREE TO BE was magical. When Dana – an absolutely gorgeous woman with a vibrant spirit – spoke about Brody, one of her triplets who has Cerebral Palsy like his siblings but cannot speak, the room went silent. Brody can think, he can feel, he has opinions, but he cannot express these verbally – such a terrible thing for anyone but also quite perturbing for a parent to watch and be unable to help. What is quite heroic is that both Dana and Jared seem to have taken this tragedy and turned it into a positive by creating the first charity that raises funds for research to find cures for the various levels of neurological disorders. In the last two years, they were able to raise 1.5 million dollars. This year the goal was 2 million.
After the speeches came the live auction and WOW. While the items being auctioned off were fantastic, so were the guests and their chequebooks. A golf trip with the boys including a private jet went for over 35K and a couple of tickets to the Victoria Secret Fashion Show and After Party went for 27K. The whole thing was actually quite exhilarating to watch as we wondered which bidder would go higher. The live auction raised 135K in 20 minutes – well done, I’d say.
The event was not dry nor did people go hungry. Food stations surrounded the event with everything from South Street burgers to NYC fries, to Toben Food by Design serving some fantastic pulled beef sliders, duck gnocchi and a lovely tuna tartare. They also had stations for dessert lovers including The Waffle Bar serving various waffle concoctions and Coldstone Cream handing out ice cream. Amidst the food stations were some gorgeous models dressed up as super heroes as well as acrobats hanging from the ceiling.
Last but certainly not least, came my favourite part of the evening: The Heroes of Hip Hop. Now anyone under the age of 30 probably cannot get as excited as I was when I found out we were going to be privy to performances by Naughty By Nature, Rob Base, Young MC and Rappers Delight featuring Master G and Wonder Mike from the original Sugarhill Gang. Um – these were the boys I listened to religiously through my teens and early twenties. These guys are the essence of true Hip Hop – they are legends to many of us old school Hip Hop lovers. Let’s just say the crowd went nuts given that the average age at the event was 40. We happened to run into the girls from Iris Blu Event Staffing who supplied the event with the model “heroes” and danced the night away.
We didn’t capture the event on film though I did pull out my Iphone to get some live action of the Hip Hop show in all its glory… check it out: