The morning of October 8 in Los Angeles was an exceptionally beautiful fall morning. As volunteers were busily working to set up the gorgeous room at the Luxe, excitement filled the air. Everyone had been working for months to bring this event to fruition, and now, here it was. As people began to arrive, they quickly found their friends, caught up on old business, and began shopping the silent auction for jewelry, clothing, special collections and unique items, restaurant gift cards, and services. The silent auction raised almost $4,000 for griefHaven. Generous local businesses and friends donated nearly all of the auction items. We are extremely grateful to those donors for helping us raise so much money!
At the luncheon, Jason Pitts graced us with his musical genius as he played his guitar while people mingled. Foster Corder generously donated his equipment and videotaped the entire event, including interviews with those in attendance. And Ritta Bardakijian beautifully brightened our surroundings with her incredible flower arrangements
There were several speakers, including our keynote guest, Roko Belic, the Academy Award Nominated director and acclaimed director of the documentary film, Happy. Happy's message is universally appealing to everyone and is spreading the globe with its important message: scientific research shows that we, and not outside factors, are primarily responsible for determining our own happiness, even after suffering tremendous loss. To read more about Happy or to purchase your own Happy DVD, please visit www.thehappymovie.com.
Roko showed a clip of his Happy film and spoke for 20 minutes. He is an engaging and passionate speaker about this topic of true happiness, and when he was finished, everyone in the room was on their feet with a well-deserved standing ovation. Roko’s talk inspired many of the attendees to purchase copies of the Happy film on DVD, with half of the proceeds of the sales benefitting griefHaven. We are so grateful to Roko for his inspirational speech and generosity.
griefHaven's founder, Susan Whitmore, gave a beautiful speech sharing her journey and how and why she decided to found griefHaven after the death of her only child, Erika, ten years ago to a rare form of sinus cancer. Representing the newly-formed Friends of griefHaven Council, Wendy Broudy explained how to join the new Friends of griefHaven, including its mission and formation. We are so thankful to the many new members who joined at the luncheon and are looking forward to working with them in the future on griefHaven's upcoming annual fundraising drive and other projects. There are so many exciting things coming!
The day included some tears, a delicious meal and scrumptious dessert, and ongoing, lively discussions about Happy. All in all, it was much more than just another fundraising event—it was a meaningful day where new friends were made, much was learned about happiness, and the desperately needed funds were raised to help griefHaven continue to provide support, education, and grief tools to everyone in need.
In the end, the Live Your Best Life Luncheon raised more than $12,000 and is a day that is indelibly etched in all of our hearts. You could say that we are all very “happy.”