TBCF Little Heroes Breakfast

By Richard Mineards   |   March 5, 2020
Kirsten Stuart with Allie Ferris holding baby Ford, SBC Supervisor Das Williams, and Kimberley Green (photo by Priscilla)

It was an early start when the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation hosted its 6th annual Little Heroes breakfast for 400 guests at the Hilton, which raised more than $60,000 for the popular charity.

The boffo bash, co-chaired by Heather Ayer, Matt Fish, and Brittany Dobson, featured the eccentric Patch Adams, better known as a medical doctor and clown, whose story became a 1998 Robin Williams semi-autobiographical comedy with Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Adams, with his dangling earring and dyed blue and white hair, encouraged guests to join him on the floor reciting a mantra, laughing heartily with cacophonous cackling, as he talked about his career visiting 82 countries, including five war zones, giving 250 concerts.

2020 Little Hero honoree Jolie Ebadi with co-chairs Brittany Dobson, keynote speaker Patch Williams, Heather Ayer, Matthew Fish, and Mechanics Bank’s Ricardo Calderon (photo by Priscilla)
Jesse Ebadi, Cindy Ebadi, Kathy Nawroth, Pari Ebadi, Melissa Honig, Michele Herrera, Paul Tozzi, TBCF honoree Jolie Ebadi, Steven Watson, J. Paul Gignac, and John Ebadi (photo by Priscilla)

Reciting Emily Dickinson’s 1861 poem “Hope,” Adams, who was in a mental hospital at 17 given his plans to commit suicide, declared: “Friendship is the best medicine,” and outlined his work at the Gesundheit Institute, founded in 1971 on a 300-acre site in West Virginia where employees practice holistic medical care. “The mission is to reframe and reclaim the concept of ‘hospital,'” he explained.

Joanne Tudor, 14, a Marymount School student, performed her song “Stronger Than You Know,” while the annual Little Hero Award went to Jolie Ebadi, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma as a San Marcos High teenager in 2017 and is now a student at City College. “I want to use my voice to speak for others,” she proclaimed.

TBCF supporters, directors, and ambassadors are Michael Hurley, Martin Gore, Donna Barranco Fisher, J Paul Cignac, Nora Hurley, David Edelman, and Rich Schuette (photo by Priscilla)

One of the most tear-jerking moments was when Jeff Zamora, whose son died of cancer at just one year old 12 years ago, recounted the traumatic experience, as he invited supporters to “invest” in the 18-year-old organization.

Among the supporters downing the yogurt, oatmeal and berries, and bacon and eggs, were Martin Gore, Janet Garufis, David Edelman, Ricardo Calderon, Das Williams, Stephen Watson, and Eryn Shugart.

As a memento of the breakfast all guests received a red foam nose, the iconic symbol of Comic Relief Day, which Adams, 74, uses when playing a clown on his hospital visits.


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