Jason, Molly and I recently walked the red carpet – Bollywood-style – at the second annual Share a Smile fundraiser.
The event, which took place last weekend at the Royal King Palace Banquet Hall in Surrey with 310 in attendance (not including children), was an unforgettable night of great entertainment, colourful attire, dancing, food and friends – a fete that raised around $15,000 for the BC Children’s Hospital.
It was also the first time I’ve ever worn a sari. Maryanne Lechleiter from Stimuli Magazine lent me a stunning turquoise and gold number made of a delicate sheer fabric that was adorned with glittery beads.
While I had heard that dressing in a sari is no easy feat, I figured I could wing it at the last minute by finding an instructional how-to video on YouTube . Epic fail.
Fortunately, I found an Indian dress shop on route and the seamstress was more than happy to help me suit up – properly. She also pointed out that I was wearing the top backwards. Oops!
Here are some photos from our great Bollywood adventure in ‘the Valley.’
In addition to the exciting live entertainment, a highlight of the night was when the star of the show hit the stage – it was also a very proud moment for her devoted dad Gary Ahuja, his wife Karm and Maya’s older brother Danny.
“Seeing Maya on the stage was great as it let people see what we see everyday… a bright, energetic girl who is full of energy and loves life,” said Gary, who came terrifying close to losing his daughter around three years ago when she underwent open-heart surgery.
“When she was sick that first year, we had no idea what to expect growing up for her. After all, we didn’t know if there would be any long-term damage from the fact her heart stopped beating for 22 minutes.”
Maya pulled through — even after flat-lining — and is today a vibrant, beautiful and often, feisty, 3.5-year-old who has gone on to become a poster child for the A World of Smiles telethon.
Wanting to give back to the BC Children’s Hospital – a place the Ahujas have gotten to know quite well over the years — Gary and Karm have pledged to raise $100,000 in their lifetime for the facility.
The Bollywood night – Share a Smile – is named after Maya’s infectious, but mischievous smile – one that didn’t let up the entire evening as she dazzled guests of all ages on the dance floor, including our little Molly.
At 4.5 years of age, Molly has been lucky to attend some pretty exciting blogging adventures; however, the Bollywood night was definitely a favourite in her books.
“Thank you so much for taking me – I’m having so much fun,” she whispered to me, while throwing her arms around my waist.
The Ahuja family would like to thank everyone for their continued support in helping to make their fundraising dream a reality.
“We have to thank all our friends, family and local businesses for helping make the event such a success.”
To date, the family has raised $33,000 for the BC Children’s Hospital – that’s in just two years!
With another successful fundraising event behind them, Gary says he’s already planning their next event.
“Our plan is to host the next party in October 2015 and tie it in with Diwali, the festival of light.”
While the fundraising events are only held once a year, anyone can still make a donation to Team Maya by visitingwww.teammiraclemaya.com.