SAN DIEGO–San Diego nonprofit Fresh Start Surgical Gifts hosted its 27th annual Butterfly Ball “Casino Royale” on November 3 at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine.
Former MLB player David Justice and his wife Rebecca served as the event’s honorary chairs along with film producer and wife of the late Dr. Seuss, Audrey Geisel.
At the gala, Fresh Start surpassed its fundraising goal of $175,000 and raised over $200,000 through donations from sponsors and over 200 attendees of which 100 percent of contributions will go directly toward the organization’s medical program. The Fresh Start Medical Program provides the gift of reconstructive surgery and other healthcare services to children with physical deformities caused by birth defects, accidents, abuse or disease.
“Through Fresh Start, we are able to transform the lives of 400 children with physical deformities each year,” said Fresh Start CEO Shari Brasher. “Every dollar raised at the Butterfly Ball will go toward helping more families, regardless of whether they’re uninsured or underinsured, receive the medical care they deserve.”
Long-time Fresh Start patient Melissa Tellez, who was born with multiple genetic abnormalities including crossed eyes and severe craniofacial deformities, served as the event’s featured speaker. Melissa shared her story of hope and gratitude for Fresh Start, as well as the dedicated doctors who provided her with medical care for over 8 years.
“Many people did not believe in me, and I was not accepted in society,” said Tellez. “But look at me now; I am in college and working towards an accounting career.”
Guests enjoyed a three-course dinner, casino games, dancing and cocktails while bidding on more than 40 silent and 8 live auction items. Notable guests included David and Rebecca Justice, former Miss Mexico Universe 1994 Fabiola Sanchez, Olympic Volleyball Player Rob Heidger, local civic leaders and Fresh Start volunteers.
For more information, visit www.FreshStart.org.