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First Annual Masquerade Ball Honors Heroes and Angels

Nov 06, 2015 08:41AM ● Published by Rachel Hall

By Rachel Hall

Draper - There was barely a dry eye in the room as guests listened to stories about how the Mascot Miracles Foundation forever changed the lives of heroes, angels and their families at the foundation’s first annual masquerade ball held at the Living Planet Aquarium in Draper on Saturday, Oct. 24.

“We can’t change the outcome of any of these children’s lives, but we have learned we can help them forget for a moment of time what they are going through [and] actually be a kid again,” Felix, the Utah Falconz women’s tackle football mascot, said.

The event, which included a dinner, silent auction, live auction, special presentation and entertainment by One Voice Children’s Choir and Eclipse6, was held as a fundraiser to help support future programs sponsored by the foundation with a mission to provide activities and events for children with special needs, severe or terminal illnesses and their families.

“Anytime I can be around those little heroes is magical for me. Those are moments you continue doing what you do because it makes you feel like you are actually making a difference in the world,” Felix said. “Listening to the heroes rant and rave about what the zoo animals have done for them and the mothers who shared their stories about their angels – it was straight from the heart.”

A couple of members of One Voice Children’s Choir also felt a connection with the heroes and angels who they considered to be battling, or battled, trials far worse than they had at such a young age. Heroes in the organization are children currently facing special needs and severe or terminal illness, while the angels are the children who have passed on – but are not forgotten.

“I think it’s an amazing organization. Our choir has performed with a ton of organizations. Definitely, this one is my favorite. I think it’s the best one that we’ve performed for,” 13-year-old choir member Mitch Bandley said. “When I think about these children at such a young age to have to go through such a terrible trial and some even lose their life – [the mascots] really mean a lot to them.”

Mitch was not the only member of the choir that felt performing at the masquerade ball was making a difference.

“It kinda makes me sad but also kinda happy that they get to feel better,” 7-year-old choir member Sophie Bandley said about how she felt to be part of an event helping other kids.

“Seeing those little kids as the mascots were coming on stage, I wanted to start crying. I was so glad we could help them,” 13-year-old choir member Trinsica Tolman said.

Members of Eclipse6 also felt the magic of the night and saw the connection the children have with the mascots as they participated throughout the evening.

“I would say that everybody who spoke about the organization – you can tell how personal and what a difference they made. Every person that spoke was extremely sincere about the difference the mascots made in their lives and in their kids’ lives,” Eclipse6 band member Jake Despain said. “This is a way, way amazing organization. Anybody will leave here tonight not thinking of themselves and being grateful for the children that they do have and the health that they have.”

Mascot Miracles Foundation began a few years ago when Felix met a little girl with cancer. He saw how his presence brought a little bit of happiness to the girl and the smile on her face. That’s when he gathered other mascot friends and the mascot zoo and foundation was established. All of the mascots have other full time jobs and step into their role as a member of the zoo on a volunteer basis in their off time; there are no paid employees.

“Money is not the reason I do this. It’s the kids – listening to testimonies that have gone on – listening to speakers about the differences they can make and listening to the heroes,” Felix said about the successful fundraiser which raised close to $27,000.

Volunteers and guests were asked to wear masks during the masquerade so that they could identify with what it is like to be a mascot and see the children from behind a mask.

“The sky is the limit on this,” Felix said about the future of the Mascot Miracles Foundation and all they intend to do for their heroes and angels.

The theme of the night was nothing short of love and taking time to bring happiness in another person’s life, especially for a child.

“Just don’t take life for granted. Make sure you hug your kids. Just love your kids because you never know. Love your kids no matter what happens. There’s no time and no promises for how long they’ll be here,” Felix said.

For more information about how to be involved with the Mascot Miracles Foundation, visit their website at www.mascotmiraclesfoundation.org or “Like” their page on Facebook.

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