JoyRx Crafts the Next Chapter at 2023 Wonderball Gala

On September 30, JoyRx hosted its annual fundraiser gala, Wonderball, at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon, where stories of heroes and Joy abound! It was a night filled with entertainment, inspiring speakers, auction packages, and, most important of all: Joy.

Once Upon a Joy Story, there was a gala called Wonderball…

JoyRx welcomed guests to a storybook-inspired getaway. This year’s theme was Once Upon a Joy Story, showcasing and championing the heroes of stories far and wide. As guests entered the foyer of the Portland Ballroom, they were greeted with a library theme, swaths of bookcases, and beloved stories transporting them to a fanciful evening.

During the cocktail hour, guests enjoyed visits with a mini unicorn, a tarot reader, and a poet writing custom poems as they perused the silent auction room, accented with famous stories such as Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz.

This year, after a break during the COVID-19 pandemic, JoyRx-served kids roamed the floor with their mentors and JoyRx staff to help sell raffle tickets to the guests.

“The kids always have a blast doing this,” said one staff member. “We’re thrilled to return to the tradition this year.”

There were many ways in which this Wonderball was a sequel to Wonderball’s past. While there were nods to tradition — the raffle tickets, the silent auction, the ever-popular program — this year’s Wonderball introduced some new twists and turns, such as elevated upgrades for tables, a combination of host and entertainment, and other surprises throughout the evening.

The Heart of the Story

The main event — the story’s peak, one might say — was the program itself. The Portland Ballroom was swept away in the spirit and whimsy of our hosts, featuring our whimsical head librarian named Joy and an enchanting collector of stories named Binder.

The first chapter of the program featured reflections, insights, and inspiration from our Presenting Sponsor, Providence Health Plan, with Scott Burton; the Board Chair of our Board of Directors Andrea Corradini; and our Chief Executive Officer Danielle York.

“Tonight, we embrace the art of storytelling,” Andrea Corradini told the crowd as she reflected on her time as Board Chair.

Danielle York’s keynote was a powerful tribute to the power of a story, the power of love, and the power of Joy.

“We are relentless in our pursuit to find within each small person with a very big story, the language of love,” she told the riveted crowd. “Love is music. Love is friendship. Love is nature. Love by any other title — is Joy.”

Meet the Authors of Joy Story

The most powerful stories, of course, came from our special guest speakers. JoyRx-served teen Kira shared a powerful chapter in her life when she was diagnosed with cancer and found Joy again through JoyRx Music and JoyRx Mentorship.

“To fight cancer, you need faith, science, and a pinch of pixie dust,” Kira shared during her speech. “Well… For me, JoyRx is that pixie dust.”

Her story brought guests to tears, and her speech detailing her journey and how JoyRx helped her find her spark again ended with a well-deserved standing ovation.

Our second guest speaker, Tyson, shared the story of his son, Oliver, and his experience with all three of JoyRx’s programs. Diagnosed with cancer at only age six, Oliver found strength through the healing power of Joy. Tyson’s speech also led to a tearful standing ovation.

Joy Wins Out the Night

Champions of Joy far and wide showed up in a big way. Together, they helped to raise over $955k to ensure the healing power of Joy reaches more kids across the country.

Because of that support, our programs will always be free of charge for families and hospital partners.

This evening wouldn’t have been possible without the unwavering, steadfast support of our sponsors:

View the photos from the photobooth here and photos from the incredible night here.

As we come close to the end of this tale, it’s important to remember: a story is never finished. We can’t wait for JoyRx’s next chapter, all the unwritten pages spiraling out before us. We hope you’re excited to come on this journey with us!

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