Gold Ribbon Luncheon

By Lynda Millner   |   October 10, 2019
Teddy Bear co-chairs Eileen Dill and Brigitte Welty on either side of executive director Lindsey Leonard

The paddles never stopped going up during “the ask” for dollars for the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation (TBCF). In all the 25 years I’ve covered non-profit events, it was amazing. All the proceeds go to help children with cancer and their families in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties. TBCF was founded in 2002. As executive director Lindsey Leonard explained, when a child has cancer, many times one of the parents has to quit their job to care for the child. TBCF gives financial, educational, and emotional support when needed. They might pay for tutoring the child who is missing school, or other needs that may arise. They have helped 190 kids this year and raised $2.32 million since their founding.

Teddy Bear honorees Kathy and Mike McCarthy
Honorees mom Lee Marchiano, dad Dennis, and daughter Lee

The board chair Rick Schuette had exciting news when a law firm had found a way to defer extra money left over from a case and the judge agreed it could be used for charity – $285,000 went to TBCF. A staggering amount.

Every day 43 children are diagnosed with cancer and there are 16 major types. Childhood cancer survivors remain at risk for late effect, complications, and premature death as they age. Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among children in the United States.

There is also a youth philanthropy program at work. In the program was a list of 15 kids who had done everything from lemonade stands to a musical showcase to raise money. So far this year they made $16,000.

Honorees Vanessa Bechtel and husband, Jim

Guests of the 7th Gold Ribbon Luncheon were gathered at the Four Seasons Resort Monte Vista Lawn for a happy hour with a silent auction to peruse, wine to taste and sparkling water gifts. Emcee Sean Kelly was also the auctioneer for the live auction.

There were not a few dry eyes as we listened to the stories of the three honorees during lunch. They were Michael and Kathy McCarthy for the Heart of Gold Award; Jim and Vanessa Bechtel for the Humanitarian Award; and the Marchiano family for the Pay It Forward Award. I could fill a whole column with their good deeds and successes.

TBCF’s motto is “Together we can.” It should be “Together we did!” For ways to give, phone Lindsey at 805.563.4740.


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