Steven Tyler, Jennifer Hudson and the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills were among celebrity guests at the Calgary event

The 26th annual David Foster Foundation Miracle Gala and Concert took place in Calgary on Saturday, Sept. 27 raised $8.2 million for families with children in need of organ transplants, which was double the amount raised at last year’s event held in Toronto.

The gala, which was last hosted in Calgary in 2006, entertained 800 guests at the Westjet hanger located in the city’s northeast.

Celebrity appearances included Calgary Flames commentator Kelly Hrudey, actress Melissa Peterman, Bret “The Hitman” Hart, Laureen Harper, Dragon’s Den Jim Treliving, comedian Sinbad and the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Additionally, guests were treated to performances from classical singer Jackie Evancho, country star Brett Kissel, R&B singer Kenny “babyface” Edmonds, Jennifer Hudson, surprise special guest Steven Tyler and David Foster himself.

David Foster’s wife Yolanda says that both her and David spend the whole year working up to this event.

“This means the world to me and obviously to my husband. This is his 26th year, so for us it’s a part of our everyday life. Every Monday morning he has a call with the foundation, so to finally bring this together and have an event where everyone can show their support is amazing,” says Yolanda Foster as she points to Curtis Keller who had a heart transplant two weeks prior to the event. “That’s what makes it all worth it.”Curtis Keller shy’s away from walking the red carpet with David and Yolanda Foster at the 2014 David Foster Miracle Gala and Concert. Keller received a heart transplant two weeks prior to this event and was Foster’s special guest.

Photo by Brittany Fong

Currently, non-medical expenses cost families with a child who is awaiting an organ transplant an average of $10,000 a year. The foundation’s long-term goal is raising $30 million by their 30th anniversary in 2017.

This year’s gala kicked off with a star-studded red-carpet event where stars and VIP guests spoke with media and posed for photographs. The concert began with Foster, a 16-time Grammy winner, playing the theme song he composed for the 1988 Calgary Olympic Winter Games and ended with a performance by legendary rocker Steven Tyler.

Dragon’s Den Jim Treliving was this year’s recipient of The National Business Leader of the Year award. Treliving is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Boston Pizza, which he purchased in 1968 while still with the RCMP. This year and pledged $1 million to the Foundation on behalf of him and his wife Sandy upon receiving the award Saturday night.

Additionally, child advocate and former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy received The National Humanitarian Leader of the Year award. Both recipients had been chosen for their long-term commitment to charitable efforts across Canada.

Days before the gala, Foster was busy in the city making several appearances including meeting with a family at the Alberta Children’s Hospital and auctioning off a seat and flight to space in a XCOR Lynx rocket-powered spacecraft valued at $92,000.

The David Foster Miracle Gala and Concert is an annual event helps approximately 200 Canadian families with children who are awaiting transplants each year with his foundation.

Currently, there are about 4,500 Canadians waiting for a life-saving transplant and 700 Albertans awaiting an organ transplant.

 bfong@cjournal.ca

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