Last night we watched a dream come true for 7-year-old cancer survivor Lauren Alexandria Lewis. Diagnosed with cancer before the age of two, Lauren became a medical miracle and poster child for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. Thanks to God, this was her first dream come true.
Another Dream Come True?
Lauren’s mother, Benita Lewis, encourages her two daughters’ creativity. She acknowledges that “birthdays are a big deal to us” and stages elaborate, imaginative themes in their celebrations.
This year, Lauren was asked how she wanted to celebrate her seventh birthday, and she announced her desire for a “fashion party.” By dinnertime, she arrived with 10 original designs she sketched of color-coordinated, accessorized outfits, one for herself and nine intended guests!
Benita knew she needed help again. A friend suggested she contact Memphis-based fashion designer Marva Ballard, who was touched by Lauren’s story, matched by her own, similar dream come true, beginning with designs at the age of five. Marva had to help make Lauren’s dream come true, too!
“We Can Make Lauren’s Dream Come True!”
Marva bought into the dream, the birthday party theme, which had now morphed into a brand new fund raising concept for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where a skilled team had save Lauren’s life.
Lucky for Lauren, Marva knew how to assemble a Dream Team. She contacted one of her prayer partners, who knew Ned Canty, director of Opera Memphis. He said yes, “I want to help,” and became the third member of the Dream Team committed to making Lauren’s dream come true.
Artistic Collaboration Makes Dream Come True
Marva also recruited eight talented, generous seamstresses, who donated their time and cost of materials for all 10 outfits. Quickly, others said yes to making Lauren’s dream come true:
- Katie Smythe, founder and artistic director of New Ballet Ensemble and School, agreed to stage an original fantasy ballet with her young students, designer Lauren and sister Kennedy.
- Fashion show director Babbie Lovett delivered commentary, and 10 outfits danced to life November 17 as an enthralleded audience watched Lauren’s dream come true.
- L’ecole Culinaire provided food and labor for 200 diners.
- Event Manager Sally Baker-Brenner managed a silent auction of 100 donated items.
- Live auctioneer Terri Walker, cajoling attendees to open their hearts and checkbooks for St Jude by purchasing major music, fashion and food items.
“Fashionoperallet” Dream Come True
Clark Opera Memphis Center hosted at its gorgeous facility in East Memphis. Ballerinas dances, modeling the finished fashions of our newest little fashion designer, under the watchful eyes of experienced mentors.
Money was raised for St. Jude to continues its live-saving mission. How could anyone resist the pull of making a precious little girl’s dream come true, while raising money for the hospital that serves to many, just like Lauren.
Dozens fell in love with this charming, grateful little girl, happy to be alive and see her ambitious dream come true.
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