Welcome to Starlight Five Chefs Dinners 2019!
What a night of inspiring stories, stunning food and incredible generosity to mark the start of the 2019 Starlight Five Chefs series at the Melbourne Exhibition and Conference Centre.
When a child faces the unimaginable pain and sadness of illness, treatment and hospital, Starlight is there with a healthy dose of fun. We know what happens in childhood lasts a lifetime and happiness matters, especially when it comes to improving health outcomes for seriously ill children.
That's why Starlight is serious about the fun and happiness we deliver to children like Jarrah.
Tragically, when Jarrah was just 10 years old he was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma, an aggressive form of cancer. The family had to relocate from their beloved home in Cooktown to Brisbane for Jarrah’s long and gruelling treatment.
At the event, guests heard from Jarrah's mum Rebecca as she shared their heartbreaking story.
Jarrah's treatment left him nauseous, exhausted and prone to infection. He lost one-third of his body weight and had to learn to walk again.
Rebecca said she can't imagine how they would have coped without Starlight.
After 10 long months in hospital far away from home, Jarrah received the exciting news that he’d been granted his Starlight Wish.
All Jarrah wished for was to see his friends again. Jarrah's friends were flown to visit him for an unforgettable weekend of fun, go-karting and a surprise ride in a stretch Hummer!
Rebecca said Jarrah's Starlight Wish created lasting good memories which help the bad ones to fade.
"When the world is crashing down around you and the future is unknown, it is essential to be able to find happiness. Starlight is that shining light in the face of trauma. A huge heartfelt thanks to all the donors and supporters. You change peoples' lives for the better and we just can’t thank you enough."
That's the lasting difference Starlight supporters make and as the need for Starlight programs continues to grow, events like Starlight Five Chefs Dinners are essential to ensure we raise the funds needed to meet demand.
What sets these dinners apart is the support from so many, which means the majority of funds raised go directly to delivering fun to seriously ill children like Jarrah.
Our warmest thanks to our team of headlining chefs in Victoria: Nicky Riemer, Benjamin Cooper, Phil Wood, Guy Grossi, Alessandro Bartesaghi and Ian Burch. Also, to Peter Haycroft from the MCEC for his generous support.
The chefs' culinary expertise made for an unforgettable dining experience and was matched with fine wines from Domaine Chandon, Crittenden, De Bortoli, Mac Forbes, Pizzini and Pt. Leo Estate.
A special mention to Stuart Gregor who, has kindly donated his time as our auctioneer, and to our amazing MC for the night Jo Stanley.
The evening's entertainment was generously provided by legendary Australian singer-songwriter Nathan Cavaleri who shared not only his remarkable music talents but his own inspiring Starlight story.
At the age of six, Nathan was diagnosed with leukaemia. He talked openly about the impact his illness had on his childhood.
Thankfully amid all his pain and sadness there was one bright light when Nathan was granted his Starlight Wish.
His wish was to meet his music idol Mark Knopfler from Dire Straits.
Nathan's wish was an unforgettable experience he treasures to this day. Reflecting on his wish he said it helped give him the motivation to get through his darkest times.
Nathan has said Starlight helped him to keep the fire alight and fight on. "Wishes are about more than fun and joy, they're an important part of the whole healing process."
We are so thankful to Nathan for kindly sharing his story which reminded guests of the long-term impact of their support.
Our thanks to our Presenting Partner - Virgin Australia, National Partner - Vittoria and State Sponsor - Pentridge Cellars for their incredible support.
Thanks also to photographer Matt Bowman and to all the wonderful suppliers, the event committee and volunteers who made the first 2019 Starlight Five Chefs Dinner a spectacular night to remember.
It's only with your support that Starlight can continue to bring the gift of fun to Australia's seriously ill children.
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