23 Sep Inaugural ‘Night in Wonderland’ Gala Ball To Launch In Support Of Bella The Brave
After watching her daughter live through a terminal cancer diagnosis, Robin Bates wanted to share her daughter’s story with people in a meaningful way.
In September of 2016, when Bella was just thirteen months old, she was diagnosed with brain cancer. After a long and hard journey that included five brain surgeries and multiple rounds of high-dose chemotherapy, Bella’s family were told that she had beaten the cancer.
“We were overjoyed to receive news that Bella had beaten the cancer. But unfortunately, only a few months later and just after Bella had celebrated her second birthday, we received the devastating news that the cancer had returned. The surgery to remove the tumor was unsuccessful, and we were told to go home and make memories,” said Robin Berthelsen, Bella’s mother and founder of ‘Bella the Brave’ and organiser of the upcoming Gala.
“After this, we sought out Dr Charlie Teo. He operated on Bella in October of 2017, and was quite literally her lifesaver. We are very fortunate to have DR Teo as our keynote speaker for the ‘Night in Wonderland’ Gala, since he is a truly global neurosurgeon who is in demand across the world, and is famous for offering surgery to brain cancer patients who had been given no hope. Dr. Teo operated on Bella after her terminal diagnosis, and he is the reason that we still have Bella with us today.”
Currently, brain cancer kills more children than any other disease, and more people under the age of forty than any other cancer. The team at Bella the Brave want to raise the profile of brain cancer in the community, in terms of its prevalence as well as the signs and symptoms to be aware of. Robin said that she decided on the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ theme because it is not just fun and quirky, but has deeper undertones that resonate with Bella’s own story.
“Alice in Wonderland also symbolises the loss of innocence, life being a puzzle, like the problem of trying to find a cure for brain cancer, and the overarching menace and threat of death. But as we know, in the end Alice triumphs, and that is what I hope for Bella and ultimately all children who are affected by brain cancer.
“This is the first Gala ball I have coordinated, so it has definitely been a very steep learning curve. I have been fortunate, however, to have a team of dedicated volunteers helping me who are very experienced in event planning to ensure the night is a success. I thought a ball would be the perfect event to hold, after a long period of restrictions and uncertainty, as it would provide friends and family an opportunity to enjoy an evening together and encourage connection and conversation.”
Robin said that the response from local businesses and the general community about the ball has been incredibly positive, and they have sold nearly all of their tickets already for the event which will be held on October 1. Included in the tickets is a three-course meal and a beverage package, with guests to be entertained by The Short Fall throughout the evening. There will also be a silent auction and a raffle.
For those that aren’t able to attend the ball, Bella the Brave is a registered charity, and all donations over two dollars are tax-deductable. Donations can be made through the Bella the Brave online fundraising platform, which is available at https://bella-the-brave.grassrootz.com/fighting-childhood-brain-cancer. For any remaining tickets, follow the links at the Bella the Brave Facebook page.