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Imagine Gala

Sam Nazarian and his father Qualcomm co-founder Younes Nazarian(Photo: The Hollywood Times)
Sam Nazarian and his father Qualcomm co-founder Younes Nazarian(Photo: The Hollywood Times)


By Lia Langworthy

Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, Los Angeles, Ca (The Hollywood Times) 5/3/14 – Lights dim and the ballroom darkens. Three large megatrons illuminate with text as a woman’s voice announces, “Without your help, a world without type one diabetes is only a dream.”  The opening video is powerful and straight-to-the-point mirroring JDRF’s mission — to find a cure for TI diabetes.

OPENING VIDEO:(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wj41KVxZNHQ)

Moments after the video ends, special guests Le Ombre, one of the world’s premiere silhouette dance groups, take the stage with a visually stunning acrobatic ballet where dancers bodies spell out the word CURE, then WELCOME. It’s a festive beginning to the Imagine Gala, an evening of celebration, entertainment and hope.

LE OMBRE: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_AB1ga4Ulk)

Hollywood came out in full force to honor Sam Nazarian, SBE Entertainment Group Founder, Chairman and CEO, for his work on behalf of JDRF. Celebrity guests included  Beau Bonness (“The Park Bench”), Carl Anthony Payne (“The Cosby Show”), Nick Simmons (“Gene Simmons: Family Jewels”), Avi Lerner (Expendables 2), KTLA’s Frank Buckley, and Executive Producer Brian Grazer (24: Die Another Day). However, no celebrity in the audience could compete with the adorable Maltipoo puppy which raised $6,500 during the hilarious live auction hosted by Jeff Stokes. As Jeff raced through the nine live auction items (ranging from Calistoga and yatch vacations to one-of-a-kind experience at the SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino opening Labor Day Weekend), artist Zoey Stevens dazzled the audience painting an original painting on stage. By closing of the live auction, Zoey had completed his rendition of the SLS hotel, owned by honoree of the evening Sam Nazarian (who bought the painting for $5,000.)

A delicious surf & turf dinner was served as singer/songwriter LP took the stage.

LP (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUs8BRiFQYI)

The evening culminated with a special presentation by Mayor Eric Garcetti bestowing the 2014 JDRF Honoree award to Sam Nazarian and his company sbe. “sbe and Sam have been generous supporters of JDRF LA since 2012 both at our annual gala and the Walk to Cure Diabetes,” says Gary Weiss, Gala Co-Chair and Co-Founding Principal, LA Realty Partners.  “We are incredibly grateful for all that he and his employees have done to help fundraise and spread awareness of this life-altering disease and are happy to honor him at our annual event.”

“The collaboration between JDRF and the SBE Foundation is one that I’m personally very honored to be a part of,” says Nazarian.  “So many members of the sbe family have been affected by type 1 diabetes and having an opportunity to mobilize our company to help make a difference represents one of the most meaningful endeavors we have ever undertaken.”

Kevin Wehrenberg, President of JDRF Los Angeles chapter, closed the evening thanking everyone on behalf of those affected with T1 diabetes and reminding the audience their generous donations would fund research to help find a cure for “our loved ones” for Wehrenberg too waits for a cure so his nine year old son Charlie might one day live untouched by the disease.