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PHILANTHROPY
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The Diamond & Pearl Ball

The annual event for the Beckstrand Cancer Foundation raised $1.32 million.

by jenna sweeneyPublished: December 01, 2012

As a philanthropic anchor in Orange County, the Beckstrand Cancer Foundation (BCF) tirelessly provides key resources and care to patients diagnosed with cancer. With a heightened awareness of the financial strain that cancer can take on a family, BCF offers to pay rent, medical co-payments and utilities, as well as provide transportation and meals, for patients and their families.
   
To raise funds and awareness, BCF held its Ninth Annual Diamond & Pearl Ball at The Hanger, on the Orange County Fairgrounds, on Oct. 13. The event raised more than $1.32 million for the Foundation.
   
“Cancer is extremely expensive, and the Beckstrand Foundation helps alleviate that financial burden so that treatment continues without interruption and the patient can focus on recovery,” said Eva La Rue, Beckstrand’s national spokesperson. “In my own family and through close friends, I have seen the effects of cancer. I’ve witnessed its destructive path and what it does to families. I saw the relevance of what Beckstrand was doing, that they were filling a gap in the circle of care in the community. I knew I had to get involved and help spread the word.”   
   
The event’s theme was An Evening in Russia, and the enormous aviation hanger was transformed into a snowy Moscow scene, adorned with a bar sculpted out of ice, a colorful replica of St. Basil’s Cathedral and snow-clad acrobats pouring vodka from the ceiling into the glasses of enchanted guests.
   
“If we didn’t believe so strongly in the work the foundation does, we wouldn’t put so much time and energy into the gala,” said Rennetta Caya, BCF board’s VP and Gala chair. “We do it because we know that one night can fund an entire year of support for hundreds of cancer patients.”
   
The passion of the Beckstrand Cancer Foundation was further exemplified by this year’s celebration of actress Farrah Fawcett, who lost her battle with cancer in 2009. Alana Stewart, president of the Farrah Fawcett Foundation, spoke about Fawcett’s strength, tears and generosity during her fight against cancer. Fawcett’s longtime companion, actor Ryan O’Neil, accepted the honor.
   
In addition to financial provisions, Beckstrand offers art therapy classes and psychosocial pediatric programs.
   
“I’d like to see a cure so that people no longer have to suffer,” said Caya. “And I’d like to see a way to make treatment less harsh until that happens. If patients could go into treatment knowing that the other areas of their lives – the things that impact their families daily – were taken care of, they would be better equipped to focus all of their energy and effort on their own fight – and Beckstrand helps them do that. Until there is a cure, patients need to be able to turn to an organization like Beckstrand to give them their best chance at recovery.” beckstrand.org


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