Dana’s Angels Research Trust, the Greenwich, Connecticut, based non-profit that funds research into the rare disease Niemann-Pick type C (NPC), a fatal, cholesterol storage disease affecting children, is excited to announce that ESPN host Hannah Storm and her husband Dan Hicks of NBC Sports will be the master of ceremonies for the DART Gala & Benefit Concert with Country Music superstar Hunter Hayes. The gala and concert will be held Saturday, November 11, 2017, at the Palace Theatre in Stamford. Gala tickets that include VIP concert seating are available at dartconcerts.org and concert only tickets are available at palacestamford.org.
Hannah Storm is an award-winning journalist, producer and director philanthropist. She is a pioneer in the field of sports broadcasting for women and host of ESPN SportsCenter, a published author, and an advocate for children, and most importantly, a mother of three. Dan Hicks is also a sportscaster with the NBC television network and the father of three daughters.
Hunter Hayes is a five-time Grammy nominee, a CMA Award Winer for New Artist of the Year (2012) and a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Male Country Artist (2015). The last time Hunter Hayes performed in the Fairfield County area was three years ago when he performed to a sold-out crowd at the Palace Theatre in Stamford as part of a 24-hour road race to perform the most concerts played in multiple cities in a 24 hour period.
Hunter Hayes roared onto the music scene with his double-Platinum-selling, No. 1 self-titled debut album and chart-topping sophomore album, Storyline. With three No. 1 singles already under his belt, including the multi-Platinum smash "Wanted," double-Platinum "I Want Crazy" and "Somebody's Heartbreak", Hayes was one of the first artists to delve into unprecedented territory with the innovative rollout of new music via streaming and digital platforms in 2015, culminating in the release of a special, three-disc collection dubbed The 21 Project. Beyond his Grammy nominations, CMA and People’s Choice Awards, Hunter has been nominated for a number other awards by the CMAs, Teen Choice, AMAs, CMT and many more. His next album is due out later this year and he has recently released his new single, “You Should Be Loved.”
This is DART’s fifteenth year as a non-profit focused on raising funds for Niemann-Pick type C disease research. Throughout the years, DART has been blessed to have the support of incredible performers for its cause, such as Martina McBride, Gladys Knight, Kenny Loggins, The Beach Boys, Frankie Valli, Natalie Cole, Smokey Robinson, America, Richard Dreyfuss and Rob Mathes, who have all performed at the DART Gala Benefits. Past supporters and attendees at DART’s annual fundraisers include Kathie Lee and Frank Gifford, Joy and Regis Philbin, Cheryl and Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Sonny Grosso, Phil Ramone, Richard LaGravenese, Florence Henderson, Chynna Phillips and Billy Baldwin. This year’s honorary co-chairs are again award-winning singer/song writer Kenny Loggins and Michelle Phillips of The Mamas and The Papas fame.
The DART Gala will kick off with an elegant cocktail reception, featuring a Rao’s pasta bar, with silent and live auctions. Each year, DART also awards the DART Guardian Angel Award to an individual or organization that has impacted the NPC community, either through scientific research, advocacy or partnership. This year’s DART Guardian Angel Award will be given to Cindy and Michael Parseghian with the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Fund at Notre Dame (APMRF).
Dana’s Angels Research Trust is a non-profit organization that funds research for a rare disease, Niemann-Pick type C (NPC), a fatal, cholesterol storage disease affecting children. Two of the Marella’s four children, Dana and Andrew, were/are afflicted with NPC. Most children who suffer from NPC die in their early teens, but DART has helped change that fate. As an all-volunteer organization, over 95 percent of the funds expended are channeled directly into supporting pivotal NPC research; research that may also help millions of people suffering from HIV/Aids, Ebola, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders that appear to be related to cholesterol.
Sadly, the Marella’s daughter, Dana, passed away at the age of 19 in the summer of 2013. When Dana died, she was confined to a wheelchair, no longer talked, suffered from frequent pneumonia and required constant care, but she always had a smile on her face and was an inspiration to many, both here and around the world. The Marella’s youngest child, Andrew, now 18, is battling seizures and has walking and swallowing issues. However, Andrew has benefited from two experimental medications and has participated in the latest drug trial for almost four years, first conducted by the NIH and now managed by Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; all due in large part to DART’s efforts.
To date, DART has raised almost $4.25 million toward the search for a cure for NPC. DART is particularly proud of its commitment as a founding member of a unique, collaborative drug development program called SOAR-NPC or Support Of Accelerated Research. Working with other NPC families and research institutions, SOAR’s collaborators have four clinical trials already to their credit.
DART Gala tickets include VIP seating to the Hunter Hayes concert and start at $350 and are available online at DARTConcerts.org. Concert-only tickets start at $40 and are available to the public through the Stamford Center for the Arts Box Office at PalaceStamford.org or by calling 203-325-4466.
Photo Credit: Brenton Giesey