There With Care (therewithcare.org) held their signature fund raising event, “Red Carpet Adventure,” this past Saturday, October 13 to benefit their mission to help families dealing with critical illness. Paula Dupre Pesmen, executive director and founder along with the help of her Hollywood friends, volunteers, family and donors brought to life a night of big hearts mingling with Hollywood glamour.
Pesmen, an Oscar-winning producer (The Cove), began the foundation seven years ago this coming December while she was a producer on the Harry Potter films and had experienced her own family’s crisis with cancer. As I chatted with her and various volunteers at different communication points for the organization the week prior, I was taken back by the humble and generous demeanor they all shared. All were very quick to give the credit to the multitude of loving volunteers surrounding them. Pesmen shared,
“I feel so lucky everyday because I get to go to work with the most positive, amazing and caring people.”
This same caring vibe could not help but be translated across in the glamorous gala itself. Held at Cable Hall on the DU campus and lavishly decorated top to bottom, the event included photo ops and red carpet interviews. As guests trickled in dressed in their best and with their most fashionable, red-carpet-feet forward, there was a moving and emotional pulse to the evening that was in every smile and every gesture.
It was inspiring to see this massive and intricate web of generosity taking place to produce the entire event and that clearly replicates the same positivity and generosity that the group operates on at its most base level.
It was obvious and moving to see how deeply the giving had gone beyond just Colorado. Item after item, including the facility itself had been gifted or sponsored for the night, to help There With Care’s cause.The Hollywood community clearly reached out to help Pesmen’s mission with appearances by Jesse L. Martin (Law and Order, 2000) and a performance by Grammy winning jazz singer, Dianne Reeves. The support was continuously echoed in the lavish donations for the silent and live auctions that featured items such as tickets for a show taping to “Dancing with the Stars”, a rare autographed copy of out-of-print book, “The Outlaw Trail” by Robert Redford, an autographed “Harry Potter” annual and sparring gear autographed by boxing great, Muhammad Ali were among the most drooled over and sought after items.
After a gourmet dinner, guests were treated to a viewing of the “There With Care” film, featuring AnnaSophia Robb, best-known for her roles in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory(2005), Bridge to Terabithia (2007), and Soul Surfer(2011) . The documentary explored a day with Robb volunteering and visiting with one of the organization’s families that they work to help. It was upon this journey in the film, that guests were able to begin to fathom, how much help and giving goes in to just one single family alone, let alone the other 1000 families that There With Care has helped.
A sneak peek into “Keep On, Keepin’ On”, a documentary on jazz great, Clark Terry was also presented. The film explored the deep friendship, love and mentorship that exists between Terry and award winning, blind jazz pianist, Justin Kauflin through Terry’s ailing health and Kauflin’s sight limitations. At the end of the short film, Kauflin made a personal appearance and performed for excited and teary-eyed guests.
As Pesmen pointed out,
“So many times, when someone is sick or having trouble, people want to help. They just don’t know how and that’s what There With Care is, it connects people with these families to make a real difference.”
There With Care is truly there, from beginning to end no matter if it’s a happy or sad ending. There to be with the family, hold a hand or deliver groceries, the organization seems more like a very large family of loving people instead of a typical non-profit. If you would like to learn more about There With Care or to learn how you can volunteer, visit www.ThereWithCare.org.