On Friday, September 4, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) advocate and Center Without Walls founder, Nancy Davis welcomed guests to the Rose Bowl for a very special reimagined live drive-in Race to Erase MS Gala.
For the first time ever, in light of the current pandemic, guests were invited to “Drive-In” for an evening of socially distanced music, celebration, and raising funds and awareness for this life-altering disease. The event raised over $1.4 Million to benefit the Race to Erase MS and its Center Without Walls program, a collaboration of top MS research centers working together as a team on ground-breaking research with the goal of treating and, ultimately, finding a cure for MS. The event honored Davis’s son Jason, who passed away earlier this year, with a very special posthumous “Medal of Hope.”
The event opened with an exclusive virtual look at the Fall 2020 Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive Collection – a line of clothing with innovative design twists that makes dressing easier for people with disabilities. Anne Heche gave a heartfelt introduction to Nancy Davis, who welcomed everyone before delivering a touching tribute to her son, Jason Davis, who passed away several months ago. The mother-son team founded the non-profit Cure Addiction Now (CAN) before Jason’s passing, in the hopes of revolutionizing the way that substance use disorders are viewed and treated. Nancy recognized her son with the “Medal of Hope,” which was accepted by his sisters Mariella and Isabella, who spoke about Jason’s incredible heart, zest for life, and tireless support for everyone around him. In honor of Jason and the Davis family’s ongoing commitment to this work, Red Songbird Foundation announced that it will present the first-ever Jason Davis Scholarship to a deserving individual who is struggling with MS, in conjunction with substance use disorder or extreme depression. The scholarship will award an individual with a full treatment program that addresses their mental health and addicition needs. Jason’s longtime friend Matthew performed a song that they created together, rounding out a beautiful tribute to his legacy.
Letitia Frye hosted the energetic live auction which featured a wide variety of one-of-a-kind items including a jam session with the iconic Nile Rodgers on Zoom, a reading from Hollywood medium Tyler Henry, a mini Australian labradoodle, a private dinner for 20 at LA landmark Mr. Chow’s, and many more! Siedah Garrett, who herself manages an MS diagnosis, delivered a beautiful musical performance, starting with a powerful new original piece she wrote for the current times entitled “The New Frontier: Say Their Names.” She also treated the crowd, who responded with cheers and honking from their cars, to a performance of what is perhaps her best-known song, “Man in the Mirror,” which she co-wrote. Eric Benét brought his effortless cool to the stage and performed “Georgy Porgy” for the crowd. Derek Hough welcomed his friend Andy Grammer to the stage. Grammer had the audience dancing along in their cars with a set list that included some of his biggest, and most uplifting, hits including “Good To Be Alive,” "Honey, I’m Good, “Keep Your Head Up,” “Back Home,” “Fresh Eyes,” and “Don’t Give Up On Me.”
As has become Race to Erase MS tradition, the evening concluded with a group performance of “Lean on Me,” led by Garrett, Benét, and Grammer.
Guests at the drive-in included founder Nancy Davis, Performers Andy Grammer, Eric Benét, and Siedah Garrett, Presenters Jordan Bell, Anne Heche, Marg Helgenberger, and Derek Hough, and Additional Special Guests including Brandee Evans, Brenda Banda, Caroline D’Amore, Cassie Scerbo, Christine Devine, Dave Winfield, Diana-Maria Riva, Elle Lorraine, Francesca Capaldi, Gerald Isaac Waters, Hilary Roberts, Jason Wahler, Jovan Adepo, Katelyn Ohashi, Katie Welch, Keltie Knight, Logan Shroyer, Loni Love, Lucy Hale, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Maureen McCormick, Maximilian Acevedo , Olivia Sanabia, Pia Toscano, Victoria Justice, Xochitl Gomez, and more!
The Race to Erase MS was honored by the gracious design contribution of Shepard Fairey and Studio Number One to their original invite concept, which is also an exclusive limited-run graphic t-shirt. Inspired by his wife Amanda, who suffers from MS, Shepard Fairey’s exclusive design is meant to give hope that soon there will be a cure! Dedicated to innovative and cutting-edge MS research, Race to Erase MS is honored to offer this uniquely designed t-shirt as a means to strategically fund the world’s leading MS scientists through its Center Without Walls program. The reimagined design for Drive-In to Erase MS was created by Au Ambrosi Creative and integrated Shepard Fairey / Studio Number One’s design. To purchase the t-shirt and support Race To Erase MS, please visit: https://shop.erasems.org
Products for the special snack pack were graciously donated by Snack Pop (Candy Pop and Cookie Pop) popcorn, Adrenaline Shoc Smart Energy Drinks, Pathwater, and Penne Straws by Pasta Snacks.