Monday, October 22, 2012

A Night With Micky Dolenz of the Monkees

I learned a new term this weekend.  It's "cancer perk".  It's used by many of the older kids who are battling cancer.  It's a perk that they get because they have cancer, such as going to baseball and football games, vacation destinations, meeting celebrities, and such.  While fun, I'm sure any child battling cancer would gladly trade in these cancer perks to be cancer free.

The cancer perks are also fun for the families.  And again, we'd be glad to never experience any of these perks if our daughter didn't have to go through what she's going through.  This weekend we experienced a wonderful cancer perk.

On Saturday we were honored guests at the Children's Cancer Foundation's annual ball at the Valley Mansion in Cockeysville, Maryland.  It was a black tie affair and I estimate about 1,000 people were in attendance.  With tickets at $250 each, this event brought in a lot of money (minus expenses).

We were treated to wonderful food, such as lamb chops and crab cakes as appetizers.  Dinner was steak and salmon, which were amazing.  Dessert?  Oh, my.  Chocolate mousse corralled with milk chocolate pieces, topped with fresh blueberries, apricots, and raspberries.  If this doesn't tame your sweet tooth, then nothing will.

After dinner, the Children's Cancer Foundation awarded grants to many hospitals and doctors.  The locally famous (world-famous?) Dr. Benjamin Carson was in attendance and was the recipient of a grant to purchase new equipment.  One of the children at our table was a benefactor of Dr. Carson, who removed a brain tumor from him when he was 6 years old.  He's now 18 years old.  He's an inspiring success story.

There was also a silent auction in the reception area.  I obviously wan't going to be able bid on anything.  One of the items up for auction was lunch with one of the executives of Safeway.  The current bid was $5,000.  Amazing.  There was some serious money floating around.

Finally there was the entertainment.  Micky Dolenz was there to sing.  Anyone older than 40 knows The Monkees.  If you're over 50, you probably remember watching The Monkees on television when it was new.  Anyone between 40 and 50 remembers The Monkees when MTV aired the reruns.  For those under 25, The Monkees were Big Time Rush of the 1960's.

Micky started with the Theme of the Monkees, then went right into I'm A Believer, while reminding the crowd that he sang this song long before Shrek made it popular again.  And did you know that Neil Diamond wrote it?  He told stories of the Monkees and eulogized his long-time friend Davy Jones who passed away this year.  His sister was there Coco was there to sing with them.

In the mix, Micky sang their first hit Last Train to Clarksville, then other songs such as She, Pleasant Valley Sunday, and I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone.  Finally in the finale they called up all of the special children who were guests of the Children's Cancer Foundation for a chorus of Daydream Believer.  None of the kids had ever heard that song, but the crowd willingly serenaded them with the chorus.  It was a really special moment.

Micky inspiring the crowd to sing with him:

After the entertainment, we got to get our picture taken with Micky, which I'm sure is more special to my wife and me than it is to my daughter.  He was pleasant.  His entertainment was fantastic and his stories were funny and interesting.  This guy may be 67, but his heart is still 22.

Micky looking right at me:

For the record, the Children's Cancer Foundation has given grants totally more that $33 million since it's inception about 28 years ago. If you're looking for a place to make a tax-deductible donation this year, this is a great choice.

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