MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ: On Saturday, October 19th, the Ocean Place Resort and Spa in Long Branch was transformed into one big Frances Foundation celebration, over-spilling with positive energy, hundreds of hugs, great food, cocktails, endless auction baskets, live entertainment and a packed dance floor.
The 15th Annual Frances Foundation Gala, Bow Ties and Pearls, had over 1,000 energized guests, honorees and volunteers. The evening began with an open bar, butler passed hors d’oeuvres and a variety of food stations. The silent auction and 'endless gift basket' raffles opened for the crowd to browse and bid. Guests enjoyed the photo booth and were treated to a meet and greet with Superbowl Champion, NY Giant Sean Landeta. During all the introductory activity, Phil Bruschi Sings Sinatra entertained for all.
Following the cocktail hour, guests entered the dining ballroom, set to seat over 1,000 guests. The entertainment was music by The D’Amico Entertainment Singers.
The invocation was by Frances Foundation Supporter Deacon Thomas DiCanio and a warm welcome was made by founder of the Frances Foundation, Bob Heugle. The room roared with applause for Heugle as he took the stage. The Frances Foundation (FF) helps multiple pediatric families every day of every month in some way. Each month there are events to raise funds and celebrate the FF Angels and Warriors. There are too many annual FF events to list here, but a recap video of the 2018-2019 Frances Foundation highlights, played on the large screens at the event captures most of the year's activities. Watch the short video below to see a glimpse of the constant giving the FF provides to pediatric cancer families, year-round:
VIDEO: Frances Foundation 2018-2019 Highlights, including 2018 Gala. This 5 minute video includes FF warrior Emmaeley ringing the bell at the hospital on the last day of her chemo treatment. You have to see the strength of this little girl, Emmaeley; who a little more than 1 week later is at the gala with a huge smile (as seen in the photos in this article). WATCH VIDEO:
The Gala hosted an awards' ceremony that began with the presentation of the 2019 Community Service Award to the Joe Namath Foundation, and its co-founders Mike and Debbie Kogan, which included a heartfelt video message from Jets Super Bowl QB Joe Namath. Jen Scarpa and Christina Alexsandrowski, received the Volunteers of the Year Award for their work with The Frances Foundation’s Love Life event.
Frances Foundation Founder, Bob Heugle emceed the event, in the way that only someone could who knows every Frances Foundation family the way that he does. Every Warrior, every Angel is on Bob's heart, and the child, the teen, the families all feel it. He is always in the trenches, always helping, with an easy smile and a big hug. The relationships formed through the foundation are lifelong connections, beyond the physical earth. There's something palpable going on beyond words, it's The Frances Foundation doing what it does every day, bringing light to families and staying with them. These are families who have heard the unimaginable words loud and clear, "Your child has cancer." Those words are the beginning of indescribably difficult journey, and the FF is a constant support system for each family. Support is provided in a variety of ways as detailed later in this article.*
Every penny donated to FF goes directly back to creating happy memories, bringing joy and alleviating financial burdens for pediatric cancer families.
The Remembering our Angels dedication at the gala was extremely moving. One by one the Angel Families were honored, their precious child's name spoken, their picture shown on the screens. The gala took the evening's guests on a roller coaster ride of emotions, filled with love, joy and compassion. The true essence of the FF was felt by all when honoring the Angels and their families, and the emotional highlight of the night continued with the introduction of the warriors, the FF kids fighting cancer.
Sixty-two of the evening's guests were brave pediatric cancer warriors, who amazed guests with their courage and inspirational messages, as they were introduced one by one and asked to comment with; 'one word' that expressed how they feel. The audience heard words like, "Blessed, Thankful, Hope..." The FF's annual gala creates a place of comfort and love for all.
Angel Timmy's mom commented, "Thank you to Bob Heugle and The Frances Foundation for a wonderful night remembering our beautiful Angels and brave Warriors. Bob always promised me that Timmy would be remembered, and he has kept his promise....my heart is filled with love for Timmy and I felt him closer to me than ever (at the event). Such a beautiful event."
The event included pediatric cancer warrior McKenzy Hupke and warrior mom Susanne McMahon singing a beautiful rendition of “Brave” as the pediatric cancer video, “Truly Brave”, was played. The video is special to The Frances Foundation as it includes two of its angels, Steph Bader and Antonio Santos.
There were three constants in the room throughout the event; Hope, Faith and Love. Emotions ranged from laughter to tears, and the connectivity of the guests was profound. The event lasted until midnight and hundreds seemed to want the night to continue, the dance floor remained full through the last song.
Surprising the crowd with his attendance, two-time Super Bowl winner NY Giants Sean Landeta had fun interacting with the guests as many were eager to try on his two huge and sparkling Super Bowl rings. The program culminated with Kelly Terry, President of the Mya Lin Terry Foundation, recognizing The Frances Foundation, for enriching the lives of pediatric cancer patients with Peace, Love and Happiness. Bob Heugle, the president and founder of The Frances Foundation, accepted the award on behalf of the many selfless volunteers of The Frances Foundation who work tirelessly to benefit kids fighting cancer and their families.
It was a beautiful moment when the lights were turned down and everyone was asked for a moment of silence and to hold up their cell phones in flashlight mode to honor the FF Angels. The room was a sea of small white lights, the Frances Foundation love lit the room, a moving moment for all.
THE FRANCES FOUNDATION EXTENDS ITS HEARTFELT GRATITUDE TO ITS
GALA CO-CHAIRS TRACY ARMSTRONG, SUZIE HEALY, ANGELA MARRA and KEIA RUBMAN. Also special thanks to Gala Committee's families, and all gala volunteers at the 15th Annual Frances Foundation Gala.
*What are some examples of what the Frances Foundation does? In one month alone, the Frances Foundation can deliver around $15,000.00 in smiles and assistance to numerous families. FF is an all volunteer organization. Every penny goes to help pediatric families in many ways like:
★ Treating Young Warriors and Families to Trips to Disney
★ Hosting Hospital Party and Present Holiday Gifts to the Children
★ Serving Thanksgiving Dinner at Various Hospitals
★ Paying Stressful Bills, including Back Rent, Utilities, Car Repair, Gas and Uninsured Medical
★ Sending Kids and Their Families To Sporting Events
★ Bringing Smiles to Kids with VIP Limos, Dinners, Shows and Concerts
★ Mother's Day Flowers and Father's Day Treats to the Warrior's Parents
★ Hosting a Summer Picnic and Pool Party
★ Donating Money for Pediatric Cancer Research at St. Jude's Children's Hospital
★ During the Last 14 Years, donating over 2 MILLION DOLLARS to our Courageous Warriors, Heroic Angels & Their Families
★ EVERY PENNY DONATED GOES TO THE KIDS AND THEIR FAMILIES ★
★ THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT ★
If you are looking for an organization of caring, selfless volunteers who give their time and talents to work tirelessly to make a difference for Kids Fighting Cancer, then the Frances Foundation is a wonderful option:
For more information about the Frances Foundation click here.
History of the namesake of the foundation:
On July 26, 2004 a certificate of incorporation was filed with the State of New Jersey Secretary of State's office officially giving the birth to a new non-profit charitable organization known as "The Frances Foundation for Kids Fighting Cancer, Inc". The Foundation's inspirational namesake, Frances Jean Nolan Heugle, taken by cancer in March 2000, had a very special love for all children. In her own suffering, she was more concerned about the children she witnessed suffering. It is in her name that the Frances Foundation helps critically ill children and families battling pediatric cancer.
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