Stars from the surf and music worlds came together in Huntington Beach, Calif., on July 31, 2010, for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s “Pipeline to a Cure” event, and in the process raised more than $450,000 NET to battle the disease that robs children and young adults of their youth, their breath and ultimately their lives. To date, the three Pipeline events have netted more than $1,300,000.
The emotional yet inspirational event was held at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa, and attracted more than 650 guests, as well as surfing greats such as Dave Kalama, Rob Machado, Lisa Anderson, and P.T. Townsend, and music icons including Green Day’s Billy Jo Armstrong and Tom Curren. Dave Kalama also served as honorary co-chair with legendary waterman Laird Hamilton, while famed Los Angeles Angels’ Tim Salmon was celebrated as the night’s honoree for his ardent support of the event since its inception.
The Pipeline event also honored Emily Haager, who was the event’s CF Ambassador until her untimely death in May 2010. Haager, an avid surfer herself, was relentless in her hope that a cure would be found in her lifetime, and spent most of her young life raising awareness about the disease and helping other CF patients endure the grueling daily treatment regimens that keep them alive.
Haager also was living proof that surfing helped CF patients breathe easier. Doctors determined that inhaling saltwater mist had a powerful effect on rehydrating the lining of the lungs and allowed CF patients to more easily eliminate bacteria-contaminated mucus. This discovery led researchers to develop a hypertonic saline solution, which CF patients around the world now inhale, mimicking a “surf session,” on a daily basis. The Pipeline events were created to herald this discovery.
Haager knew a cure would not be far behind, a fact that Stacy Motenko, her friend and fellow CF patient spoke so eloquently about during the event. “We talked about meeting on the beach in Fiji the moment a cure was found, and if she is listening, I want to tell Emily that I will be there and she will be in my heart,” said Motenko.
The evening began with a special VIP reception, where Chris Cote, editor of Transworld’s SURF Magazine served as master of ceremonies and led a candid “Question & Answer” session with some of the surfing icons attending the event.
The 100 VIP guests then joined the additional 550 attendees in the silent auction area, where a kaleidoscope of donations dotted the tables that lined the entire room. Guests furiously bid on surfing items from Kelly Slater and Andy Irons-signed surf boards to products from O’Neill, Quiksilver, Volcom and other companies. Guests also could bid on luxury vacations, original art and Tiffany & Co. jewelry.
After the silent auction, the doors opened to the main ballroom, where “Emily’s Army” was playing. The teenage band, which counts Billy Jo Armstrong’s son among its crew, was a crowd favorite. The band’s name honors a young friend who has CF. Then it was time for 20-year CF supporter and GO COUNTRY morning personality Shawn Parr to take the stage, who led a spirited live auction, which featured a cadre of 14 items that brought in more than $100,000. Items ranged from $2,500 to $25,000, with Rob Machado and Olympian Jason Lesak taking their turn on stage to encourage the audience to bid.
The evening also included a heart-wrenching speech by Diane Haager, mother of Emily Haager, who thanked the guests for their love and support. She was followed by Tom Curren, three-time world surf champion and talented musician who performed a suite of soulful yet uplifting tunes.
“The third annual Pipeline to a Cure was a great night for the CF Foundation, for the people attending the event, for Emily’s family and friends, and for all those affected by cystic fibrosis,” said Paul Motenko, president, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Southern California chapter. “There was a feeling of warmth and compassion in that room unlike any event that I have ever attended. The event was about Emily, the cause, and all the other children and young adults who know that a cure is on the horizon. We are eternally grateful for everyone’s support.”
For more on the event and on the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation head to pipelinetoacure.com/2010/index.php.