The Sunshine Foundation’s annual fundraiser, Bright Night, Big Dreams, is held in an airplane hangar that’s decked out beautifully for the evening.
A small plane sits in the corner while a flight simulator allows you the experience of flying it. A trio plays light rock favourites and the catered dinner was, I’m told, delicious. (I didn’t get a chance to find out!)
I was tickled to be the evening’s emcee. They opened the hangar door, moved some of the tall tables outside and the weather was just perfect. It felt like we were in California. Event organizer Sheila Harrison and I tried out the photo booth before the guests arrived. Prizes included a $5,000 diamond ring. That was a lot of fun to give away to a winner named Lisa who was celebrating her wedding anniversary with her husband on Saturday night.
The special guest of the evening was Abby, a 15-year-old girl with health challenges whose Sunshine dream was to meet Cmdr. Chris Hadfield. She and her family spent an hour with the elusive astronaut, and while they played guitar and sang together Abby learned the ins and outs of space flight from the Canadian who knows it best. Abby and her Mom Alison spoke eloquently about the experience and it was a true pleasure to spend time with them. Honestly, I wish I could spent MORE time with them. The photo quality is terrible because the lights were low, but Abby approved this selfie for publication! (She looks so much taller because she’s sitting and I’m crouching beside her!)
It was a gorgeous night for a tremendous cause. London’s Deputy Mayor, Maureen Cassidy, surprised everyone when during her welcome speech she told the story of her brother’s Sunshine dream of many years ago and what it meant to him and their family. MP Ed Holder sat beside me at dinner and it was nice to finally meet the man I’ve interviewed a bunch of times by phone. Same with CTV London news anchor Tara Overholt whom I hadn’t met face to face but have been social media acquaintances with for years.
It’s always good for the soul to spend time among people who are happy to do great things for those who deserve it. Note to self: do this more often.