The 3rd Annual Dreams of Summer Gala on March 12 by Lynette Carrington The 3rd Annual Dreams of Summer Gala takes place at 5:30 p.m., Saturday, March 12 at Phoenix Marriott Tempe at the Buttes. The gala will benefit the programs and children of Arizona Camp Sunrise & Sidekicks, a children’s cancer camp located outside of Payson, Arizona. Through its fundraising arm, Southwest Kids’ Cancer Foundation, Arizona Camp Sunrise & Sidekicks provides a week of summer camp to children battling cancer. Additionally, those children’s siblings also receive a week of camp at charge to the family. The gala welcomes in camper’s families, camp supporters and local philanthropists who keep the many programs at the camp alive and well. This year’s Dreams of Summer Gala will feature a silent auction cocktail reception, an elegant dinner, an incredibly engaging live auction, a children’s program and entertainment by Les Paul Roque. The VIP emcee for the 2016 Dreams of Summer gala is Norris Thomas. The Chandler resident is a motivational speaker and a former professional football playerThomas has been in the Valley for 15 years – the longest he says he’s ever lived in one place. “Here’s what makes me a native – I’ve already had valley fever!” Thomas says. The 2016 Dreams of Summer Gala is his second year of hosting duties at the event. Because he is a skilled speaker, he had initially reached out to one of the board members of Southwest Kids’ Cancer Foundation to find out if they could use his assistance at the gala. “That was my initial contact and we moved on from there and it turned out to be a great experience. What made it comfortable and fun was that we were there with great people.” “The cause is evident,” says Thomas of the Dreams of Summer gala. “When you’re in a situation like that and everybody is on the same page as far as the purpose and vision of the organization, saying what I had to say and doing what I needed to do that evening was easy. It was so heartfelt and you could feel the love in the room. There’s not a lot to prepare when you can feel the love in the room.” “Sitting right over my desk is my piece of artwork done by one of the campers,” explains Thomas. “I hope this year to get over and get in on the bidding of some of the great auction items!” This year’s live auction items include getaways to Rocky Point, Crown King and a few different out-of-state wineries, plus a once-in-a-lifetime behind-the-scenes experience with the Arizona Cardinals. Silent auction items include signed sports memorabilia items, art, sports tickets, gift certificates, and in-home chef experience and much more! “This is such an honor to have done this and then have the opportunity to come back and do it again,” states Thomas. “I know that each year it’s gotten bigger and to see the progress is great.” Also new this year is a special, “Stay in It to Win It” raffle prize! Valued at $500, the raffle prize is available to only one lucky gala attendee. The sole requirement for this special raffle item is that you must stay through until the tail end of the gala and you must be present to win. You will not want to miss this incredibly special raffle item! Get you gala tickets today, by clicking here. Phoenix Marriott Tempe at the Buttes is located at 2000 W. Westcourt Way, Tempe.