Cavaliers and Flashes of Hope Host Another Successful “Big Shots & Little Stars” Fundraiser

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Earl Clark
John Saraya

A night of 007 glitz and glamour was the setting for Medical Mutual’s “Big Shots & Little Stars” fundraiser presented by KeyBank, Penske Cleveland and Richard Horvitz & Erica Hartman-Horvitz to benefit Flashes of Hope and the Children’s Tumor Foundation. With more than 1,400 guests in attendance at Quicken Loans Arena on Tuesday night, the James Bond-themed evening raised more than $950,000.

Dressed to the nines in bow ties and ball gowns, the crowd was on its feet as the “Big Shots and Little Stars” strutted their stuff on the runway in a unforgettable fashion show. Cavaliers majority owner and Chairman Dan Gilbert, Cavs and Lake Erie Monsters players and prominent Cleveland CEOs escorted the real stars of the night— children who have been affected by cancer.

“Big Shots & Little Stars gets bigger and better every year,” said Flashes of Hope founder Allison Clarke. “We are so grateful for the support from the Cavaliers organization and each of the generous donors who make this event a success. Each of our Little Stars had an incredible time with their Big Shot, giving their families a night full of memories that they’ll cherish forever.”

Along with Dan Gilbert, “Big Shots” for the evening included Cavaliers Vice Chairmen Jeff Cohen and Nate Forbes, the entire Cleveland Cavaliers team and Monsters players Bryan Lerg, Calvin Pickard, Paul Carey, Sami Aittokallio and Guillaume Desbiens.

“Allison Clarke continues to inspire all of us with her passion and energy for helping these deserving children and families,” said Dan Gilbert, Chairman and majority owner of the Cavaliers and Monsters. “The event gets bigger and bigger each year, but the Little Stars are always what the night is about. They are some of the bravest and most positive kids you will ever meet, even though they have faced adversity, pain and challenges in their young lives already. We can all learn something from their resilience. Being a partner in this effort and seeing the impact we can have, is something that means a great deal to our entire organization.”

Ahmaad and Nicole, most commonly known as the in-arena hosts at Quicken Loans Arena for Cavalier games, emceed the evening’s event, which featured cocktails, fabulous food, a silent auction and preshow entertainment by the Scream Team, Cavalier Girls and special musical guest Alyce Marie. The “Big Shots & Little Stars” silent auction items included autographed sports memorabilia and unique experience packages offered by the Cavaliers, Monsters, Cleveland Indians, Santo Salon and Spa, Re/Max, Exclusive Resorts, John Roberts Spa and many more. John Roberts also provided hair and makeup services to all Big Shots and Little Stars for the evening.

Flashes of Hope (FOH) is a national nonprofit that changes the way children with cancer see themselves through the gift of photography and raises money for pediatric cancer research. Every month volunteers transform the outpatient clinics and hospital floors into professional photography studios. Families receive a generous portrait portfolio and a CD of all the images taken. All service are provided free of charge. With chapters in 55 cities, Flashes of Hope photographs more than 50% of the children annually diagnosed in the United States. Since its founding in 2001, FOH have photographed 31,925 children at hospitals and camps across the United States. For too many families, the portrait is the last one they have of their child. Thousands of children are waiting for a cure while doctors are forced to use outdated and toxic treatments. Cancer is the leading disease killer of children, yet childhood cancer receives only 4% of federal funding for research. In 2009, FOH began funding research and have already raised millions of dollars through their Kick-program and other initiatives. They honor the courage of children with cancer; capture a moment in time and fund research so they will have the chance to create a lifetime of memories.

The Children's Tumor Foundation (CTF) is a non-profit medical foundation, dedicated to improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by the neurofibromatoses (NF). The mission of CTF is to encourage and support research and the development of treatments and cures for neurofibromatosis types 1 and 2, schwannomatosis and related disorders. CTF support persons with NF, their families and caregivers by providing thorough, accurate, current and readily accessible information. CTF assists in the development of clinical centers, best practices and other patient support mechanisms to create better access to quality healthcare for affected individuals. As well as, expand public awareness of NF to promote earlier and accurate diagnoses by the medical community, increase the non-affected population's understanding of the challenges facing persons with NF, and encourage financial and other forms of support from public and private sources.