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Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation Gold Ribbon Luncheon Award Winners (L-R): Wells Hughes, Humanitarian Award; Sheela Hunt, Helping Hand Award; Dennis Miller, Heart of Gold Award; Jessica Mireles, Pay It Forward Award; and Lindsey Leonard, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation Executive Director. Courtesy photo.

Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation‘s (TBCF) Third  Annual Gold Ribbon Luncheon was a heartwarming and touching event, gathering community members and supporters at the beautiful Coral Casino to honor and encourage the work of this nonprofit organization, which provides financial and emotional support to families of children with cancer living in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties.

Hosted by Shirin Rajaee—in her last event appearance before leaving KEYT airwaves for a new job in Sacramento—the luncheon honored Dennis Miller, the Mireles Family, Sheela Hunt and Wells Hughes. It also featured a special acoustic set by Rodney Browning CravensGeorge Pendergast and Justin Fox of DISHWALLA.

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(L-R) Justin Fox, George Pendergast, and Rodney Browning Cravens of DISHWALLA performed an acoustic set at Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation’s annual luncheon. Courtesy photo.

Heart of Gold Award winner Dennis Miller was recognized as an individual that has gone above and beyond in giving of their time and talent for the benefit of Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation and the families it serves. “Miller’s interaction with our families, volunteers, and staff has been genuine and compassionate, demonstrating a huge heart for the cause,” says TBCF.

Humanitarian Award honoree Wells Hughes was recognized as an individual that has been dedicated to improving the human condition of Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation families by alleviating suffering while supporting and contributing to the welfare and well-being of those in need. “Hughes has  proven himself to be a true advocate for youth with cancer and their families by going the extra mile in providing resources that enrich the lives of the families we serve in our local community,” says TBCF.

This year’s Pay-It-Forward Award recognized the Mireles Family, a TBCF family who “has given back to the organization by paying-it-forward. This family, despite the hardships they have faced in the past, have chosen to give back to TBCF by providing support to other families, sharing their personal story at events and being advocates of the cause.”

The Helping Hands Award went to Sheela Hunt, an individual that has been actively hands-on for the cause for more than a decade. “Hunt has shown outstanding volunteerism and has participated in the inner workings of TBCF by coordinating major fundraising events. Her family also regular volunteers for TBCF in a variety of capacities, including at program events for families. She has shown great support to both our staff and families and has been a valuable supporter of our organization,” says TBCF.

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Guests begin to arrive at the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation Gold Ribbon Luncheon at the Coral Casino. Courtesy photo.

In addition to a silent auction, Geoff Greene led a lively live auction and “ask” for donations which generated an additional $250,000 to help children and their familes.

Last year, TBCF supported 649 individuals and to-date has granted $1,300,000 of financial assistance. Please consider making a gift to the organization. To learn more, or to make a donation today, please call 805/962-7466 or

—Leslie Dinaberg

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