NBA superstar and Chicago native Dwyane Wade hosted Live to Dream, a 10th anniversary gala benefiting his Wade's World Foundation on Sept. 6 at the Peninsula Chicago. As more than 300 attendees entered the hotel, red-jacketed students from Urban Prep Academies directed them to the grand ballroom for this event celebrating both the anniversary of the foundation and Wade's 10th year with the Miami Heat.
Wade's sister and mother, Tragil and Jolinda Wade, welcomed guests and gave a heartwarming toast to Dwyane, who then addressed the gala. "If I ever got successful, I planned to come back and give back. I'll give back with my voice, with my pocket. ... I can't just let basketball define who I am and what I'm supposed to become. Like my mother always tells me, my life is bigger than basketball."
Hosted by CNN's T.J. Holmes, the program featured live performances by violinist Lee England; Grammy Award-winning gospel artist VaShawn Mitchell; singers Kristen Lowe and Mae Ya Carter Ryan; and comedian Damon Williams. Wade's high school basketball coach, Jack Fitzgerald, toasted Wade's NBA career, and children from the foundation recited the "Live to Dream" pledge and sang an original selection, also called "Live to Dream."
Marjorie and Steve Harvey and Laura Ricketts were honored with the 2013 Excellence in Philanthropy Awards.
Wade's World Weekend also included a Live to Dream festival Sept. 7 in Douglas Park that offered free dental and health screenings, entertainment and employment opportunities for young adults. The foundation raises funds for resources and outreach programs for children in at-risk situations in underserved communities in Chicago and South Florida.
Freelance writer Candace Jordan is involved with many local organizations, including some whose events she covers.
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