The power of dreams and the magic of granting wishes came alive at the “Shooting Stars” gala dinner held on October 6th at SeaWorld Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. This spectacular event, a collaborative effort between the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT Abu Dhabi) and the National Basketball Association (NBA), brought together a galaxy of celebrities and key public figures to support the UAE’s Make-A-Wish Foundation. In this article, we delve into the heartwarming journey of this event, the remarkable wishes granted, and the profound impact it had on children’s lives.
A Night of Stars and Dreams
A Celestial Gathering
The “Shooting Stars” gala dinner was a star-studded affair, graced by luminaries from various fields. Notable attendees included:
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: NBA legend.
- Ray Allen: Renowned NBA star.
- Ronaldo: International soccer sensation.
- Khaby Lame: Famous TikTok personality.
- Saleh El Mejri: Tunisian basketball prodigy.
- Steve Harvey: American television host and film producer.
The NBA Connection
This event was part of the NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2023, Presented by ADQ, making it even more special. The NBA’s support added a unique flavor to the evening, combining sports and philanthropy.
Fulfilling Dreams, One Wish at a Time
Saif’s Eyegaze Device
One of the highlights of the evening was the fulfilment of Saif’s wish. Saif, a visually impaired youngster from Abu Dhabi, had his world illuminated when he received an Eyegaze eye-driven assistive communication device. The smile on his face was a testament to the power of dreams coming true.
Zaijyl’s Royal Reimagined Air Jordan 1 Shoes
Zaijyl dreamed of wearing the coveted Royal Reimagined Air Jordan 1 shoes. Not only did he receive a pair on stage, but the moment was also accompanied by thunderous applause from the audience. It was a heartwarming sight as Zaijyl proudly flaunted his dream shoes.
A Night of Entertainment
Iqbal’s Piano Performance
A previous beneficiary of Make-A-Wish, Iqbal took to the piano, enchanting the audience with his musical talents. His performance was a reminder that dreams can lead to incredible achievements.
Oud Session by Yamen
Yamen, a local music institute Bait Al Oud musician, mesmerized the crowd with an Oud session. Music can heal and uplift, and Yamen’s performance did just that.
A Grateful Thank You from Taqwa
Taqwa, a child whose wish had been granted by the UAE Make-A-Wish Foundation, delivered a heartfelt thank you speech in Arabic. Her words resonated with everyone present, emphasizing the importance of supporting this noble cause.
Beyond Dreams: Auctions and Experiences
Bidding for Dreams
The gala also featured an exciting auction, where attendees could bid for rare NBA items and experiences. Some of the items included:
- Signed Mavericks and Timberwolves basketballs.
- A VIP experience for an NBA game, including an on-court photo opportunity.
- Game memorabilia and meet-and-greet sessions.
- A shopping spree at the NBA Store in Yas Mall.
- A youth basketball clinic for 15 children, led by an NBA trainer, complete with uniforms, merchandise, and a special greeting from an NBA star.
The “Shooting Stars” gala dinner was not just a glamorous event but a testament to the human spirit’s capacity for kindness and generosity. It showcased how dreams, no matter how big or small, have the power to transform lives. As we celebrate the stars who graced the event, let us also celebrate the children whose wishes were granted, and the countless dreams that continue to inspire us all. The UAE’s Make-A-Wish Foundation, with the support of its dedicated partners and donors, is making the world a brighter place, one wish at a time.