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Despite what you may hear on CNN or NPR, the news is not ALL bad. On Sunday night, the Life Rolls On Foundation, founded by quadriplegic surfer Jesse Billauer, netted over $340k for the cause with its fifth annual Night By The Ocean event.
The event, which started five years ago as an impromptu Ziggy Marley performance at a Santa Monica bar, has consistently grown in size and scale. This year, the shin dig was held at the historic Kodak Theater in Hollywood, the current site of the Oscars.
But perhaps it was this venue that helped attract the celebs as Dominic Purcell of Prison Break, Brandon Boyd of Incubus, bombshell Brooke Burns, Jenna Fischer of The Office, and Nicky Hilton of… well, the Hiltons, were all on hand to show support. And to a man, they each supported not only with their presence, but also with their pocket books.
The highlight of the evening was a riveting speech by quadriplegic Aaron Baker, who, through sheer determination and will power has rehabilitated himself to the point where he rode an adapted bicycle across the country twice in the last two years. As he described being in the hospital after his injury while motocross riding, completely paralyzed from the neck down, Aaron commented, "I came to the realization that the two most important things in life are time and love." He went on to explain how thankful he was for the time he had to share his story and inspire others, as well as the love that was being shown by the attendees through their generosity.
And although event organizers were thrown a curve-ball when MC, Sal Masakela's flight was delayed to the point where he never actually made it to the event, the impromptu assistance of Rob Machado, Jodie Nelson, Dominic Purcell, and others, managed to keep the night on track. Which, coincidentally, only served to reinforce the message and credo of the night, which was: Regardless of the obstacles we may face, Life Rolls On.
For more information on the organization and how you can support financially or with your talents, check out www.LifeRollsOn.org.