Sept. 28, 2014, Calgary, AB – Before the 800 gala guests attending the 2014 David Foster Foundation Miracle Gala & Concert departed – presented by TELUS and held at the WestJet campus – David Foster thanked them for helping raise a record $8.2 M to help Canadian families with children undergoing pediatric organ transplants.
The funds raised will help families that receive assistance from the Foundation each year and will help the Foundation work toward its goal of raising $30 M by their 30th anniversary in 2017. The David Foster Foundation works with families during this difficult time to assist with their non-medical expenses while they wait – often far from home – for their child to receive a viable organ for transplant. The average cost for a family is $10,000 per year but can reach up to $100,000.
Since 1986, the David Foster Foundation has assisted more than 1,000 families, often for multiple years and, in some cases, for multiple children within the same family. For example, in late August Foster arrived in Calgary to meet with Curtis Keller, who at age five had been waiting for a heart transplant for more than two years. Curtis and his family were able to travel to Edmonton so he could receive a new heart shortly after Foster’s visit. The surgery was successful and Curtis and his family are doing well, attending the evening just two weeks after his surgery.
This year’s event coincided with the announcement by Foster of his support of the Because I Can Project (www.becauseIcanproject.com), an initiative started by David Foster Foundation Board Member Levi Sampson. The Because I Can Project is an online petition and awareness program that asks Canadians to help lobby for a change from an opt-in, to a presumed consent organ donor registry across the country.
The evening began with the star-studded arrival of guests, VIPs and celebrities along the purple carpet (the Foundation’s preferred colour) before entering the completely transformed WestJet hangar. Guests were treated to performances by Foster, Jennifer Hudson, Jackie Evancho, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Brett Kissel, and comedian Sinbad. And, legendary rock superstar Steven Tyler brought down the house as he performed a medley of hits during a surprise appearance that helped close the show.
The evening was emceed by CNN’s Michaela Pereira, who was joined by other notable guests including hockey commentator and former NHL goalie Kelly Hrudey, Mrs. Laureen Harper, cast members of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, former wrestler Bret “The Hitman” Hart, and Dragon Jim Treliving. Simon Keith, former professional soccer player, motivational speaker and author, and one of the oldest living heart transplant recipients, attended the gala for the third consecutive year.
The concert portion of the evening was kicked off by Foster playing the theme song from the 1988 Calgary Olympic Winter Games, which he described as, “the best song he has ever written,” and ended with a spectacular performance by Steven Tyler, before Foster took to the microphone to confirm that the evening had raised $8.2 M.
During the evening, the Foundation presented its National Business Leader of the Year award to Treliving, whose Boston Pizza is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014 and when accepting his honour pledged $1M to the Foundation on behalf of he and his wife Sandi. The National Humanitarian Leader of the Year award was presented to child advocate and former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy. Both recipients were chosen for their long-term commitment to philanthropic efforts across Canada.
A compilation of highlights from the Miracle Gala & Concert may be found online: https://app.box.com/s/gqd7mk6nwiblavd6o653.
About the David Foster Foundation
David Foster is a proud Canadian, Recipient of the Order of Canada, Officer of the Order of Canada, 50-time nominee and 16-time Grammy Award winner (including three for Producer of the Year), three-time Oscar nominee, Golden Globe winner, seven-time Juno Award winner, Emmy award winner and has the distinguished honour to have his star on both the Canadian and Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is the man behind the biggest hits, with more than half a billion records sold.
Foster launched the David Foster Foundation in his hometown of Victoria in 1986. Across Canada, the David Foster Foundation financially supports families for all non-medical expenses while their children are undergoing lifesaving organ transplants. Thanks to its annual fundraising efforts and the generous support of national partners like TELUS, WestJet, and Aird & Berlis LLP families receive support for expenses incurred when travelling away from their homes to be with their child during transplant. The Foundation also promotes organ donor awareness and registration in both Canada and the United States. For more information, visit www.davidfosterfoundation.com.
TELUS (TSX: T, NYSE: TU) is Canada’s fastest-growing national telecommunications company, with $11.5 billion of annual revenue and 13.3 million customer connections, including 7.8 million wireless subscribers, 3.2 million wireline network access lines, 1.4 million Internet subscribers and 842,000 TELUS TV customers. TELUS provides a wide range of communications products and services, including wireless, data, Internet protocol (IP), voice, television, entertainment and video, and is Canada’s largest healthcare IT provider.
In support of our philosophy to give where we live, TELUS, our team members and retirees have contributed more than $350 million to charitable and not-for-profit organizations and volunteered 5.4 million hours of service to local communities since 2000. TELUS was honoured to be named the most outstanding philanthropic corporation globally for 2010 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, becoming the first Canadian company to receive this prestigious international recognition.
For more information about TELUS, please visit www.telus.com.
We are proud to be Canada’s most-preferred airline, powered by an award-winning culture of care and recognized as one of the country’s top employers. We offer scheduled service to more than 85 destinations in North America, Central America, the Caribbean and Europe. Through our regional airline, WestJet Encore, and with partnerships with airlines representing every major region of the world, we offer our guests more than 120 destinations in more than 20 countries. Leveraging WestJet’s extensive network, flight schedule and remarkable guest experience, WestJet Vacations delivers affordable, flexible travel experiences with a variety of accommodation options for every guest. Members of our WestJet Rewards program earn WestJet dollars on flights, vacation packages and more. Our members use WestJet dollars towards the purchase of WestJet flights and vacations packages on any day, at any time, to any WestJet destination with no blackout periods ̶ even on seat sales. For more information about everything WestJet, please visit www.westjet.com.