The Star Event Centre was transformed into a magical event for The Sunlight Ball. The event was a star-studded affair, hosted by TV personality and Home & Away actress Erika Heynatz. Highlights included performances from Timomatic (former So You Think You Can Dance contestant), The Voice’s very talented Lara Nakhle, as well as a fashion show from Alin Le Kal and Constantina and Louise.
Jean Nassif (Owner of Toplace Construction) shared his personal story with the audience at The Sunlight Ball, speaking about how he came from humble beginnings and fled civil war in Lebanon to move to Australia. A classic example of the ‘have a go’ Australian attitude, Jean worked to build Toplace Construction and, in partnership with his wife Nissy, The Wiping Tears Charitable Foundation.
The more serious undertone of the charity’s incredible work was most poignantly highlighted by the story of Matt Saraza; one that brought the room to tears.
13-year-old Matt was born with Cerebral Palsy to parents Monette and Ronaldo Saraza. Matt will be bound to a wheelchair for the rest of his life and can’t talk. His condition means that his parents have been left with hospital bills in excess of $55,000. Day-to-day life is a costly struggle for this family with additional expenses such as a wheelchair, nappies and the fact that Monette needs to be his full time caretaker.
Wiping Tears has since paid off Matt’s hospital bills, paid the remainder of the family’s car payments, provided a custom-designed wheelchair for Matt and given them $1,000 in Coles vouchers to assist with daily expenses.
Nissy Nassif (CEO & Director of Wiping Tears) commented on the work the organisation has done: “I’ve been fortunate enough to be running this incredible foundation for the last 5 years. Wiping Tears provides a wonderful opportunity for both myself and my husband to give something back to the Australian community.”
“It’s families like the Sarazas that is the reason we started Wiping Tears in the first place. Our goals are to continue the work we do here in Australia and expand to more international work in countries such as The Philippines and Lebanon”, she continued.
To begin this international expansion, Wiping Tears has this year donated $5,000 AUD through the Pageant of the World, to projects in The Philippines. The Sydney based charity will continue to work with families in Broome and other impoverished regional areas of Australia.
Closing the show DJ Paris had the crowd on their feet dancing the night away. Whilst the event was a glamourous evening, the goal was to bring people together for a great cause, The Wiping Tears Charitable Foundation, which raises much needed funds for families in crisis.