The Unforgettables Foundation
Teddy Bear Tea at The Four Seasons
As heartbreaking the situation, the reality is great. An unimaginable platform created for an unimaginable need. Purple, the most healing of colors on the spectrum. Teddy bears, universally & agelessly symbolize a child’s innocence. A heart represents endless love and memory. Meet The Unforgettables Foundation, whose mission since 1999 is to nurture, guide & "assist at risk and grieving families with finances to help them afford a timely and dignified funeral for their child."
“The Unforgettables Foundation has been in Nevada for three years and we’ve had the unfortunate privilege of serving nearly 50 families that have lost a child. Las Vegas was really lacking a Holiday Tea...I wanted to make it a fun event because it’s a sad reality when children pass before their parents," Alida Roberts, Co-Chair of The Unforgettables Southern Nevada Chapter states on their Teddy Bear Tea 2017 video.
Co-Chair Mary Kathleen Keeler tells VEGASMAMAS that she decided to get involved with The Unforgettables Foundation when she heard the organization financially assisted families who have lost children as young as 32 weeks in utero. It hit close to home for her as two of her daughters weren't expected to survive; her middle daughter, Lauren, and youngest daughter, Scarlett, had major complications of pregnancy and she found herself in labor with child at 23 weeks and 18 weeks, respectively. With her daughter Scarlett, Mary Kathleen underwent an emergency cerclage procedure, but two weeks later, the baby broke through the stitch. "I was devastated...I began to prepare myself for the worst, detach from the pregnancy and expect that one day my child would literally fall out of me. Obviously this was my defense mechanism, one can never prepare for such a tragedy." Mary Kathleen began contracting and it was at that point both she and her husband began to accept they were about to lose their daughter. Miraculously, Mary Kathleen stayed pregnant from 20 weeks through 38 weeks, Scarlett is true miracle! Being that she came so close with losing her precious child, Mary Kathleen has been inspired to give back to those not as fortunate as herself.
Dr. Sean Keeler, High Risk Perinatologist with Desert Perinatal Associates (yes, Belly Bliss!), Board Member on The Unforgettables Foundation and husband to Mary Kathleen said, “I experience the joys of pregnancy with my patients and oftentimes the sorrows of the complications of pregnancy...their ability to provide financial support and take that additional stress away from a family that is grieving an unbelievable loss is one small way we can help the families and the members of our community."
now MAMAS, here comes the fun...
VEGASMAMAS attended The Unforgettables' Second Annual Teddy Bear Tea at The Four Seasons Hotel on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2017. We walked in and were greeted by Mrs. Claus and the five foot tall purple teddy bear straight-outta-your-plushy-dreams, found our table, settled in then explored; so much to explore! The Co-Chairs are right, it's a terribly heartbreaking cause yet their annual event is incredibly joyous and fun. The kids immediately gravitated to the Build Your Own Gingerbread Cookie Workshop with endless squeezee colored icings, Willy Wonka inspired candy collection with sprinkles abound. They then went onto the Make Your Own Holiday Snowflake table with foam cut-outs, pens and stickers (you know, kids love their stickers). Imagine, your child is decorating their gingerbread man and carolers walk up behind them, singing holiday songs with glee. Thereafter, acrobatic Nutcrackers dressed in blue, red & white walk by...on their hands! The ambiance was exciting and captivating, children were elated.
Santa & Mrs. Claus and Mensch on the Bench with his sister Hannah awaited meet, greets & photo-ops with children (fully automated cameras + printers were in impressive hi-tech use...check our photos on Instagram). VEGASMAMAS ooooed & awed over the raffle prize baskets and feasted on warm scones and tasty tea sandwiches; our favorites were the cucumber watercress with mint feta cream cheese and the smoked salmon, avocado egg salad sammies (children couldn't get enough of their personalized menu...hello nutella & cinnamon, pb&j fluff or strawberry cream sandwiches!), we imbibed on Veuve Clicquot and Tea Forte's soothing hot teas, dove into tiered stacks of delicious mini-pastries then chicken/cheese fingers were served to round-out the children's enticed tummies.
We were astounded to watch a Smith Center worthy dance performance mere feet from our table! Ballerina Mary LaCroix-Lohr with her husband, Ballerino Barrington Lohr, owners of The Las Vegas Dance Academy, performed The Grand Pas de Deux from The Nutcracker; it was absolutely mesmerizing...I kid you not when I tell you each child was at a stand-still watching this superb moment unfold before their eyes. Unforgettables' Director Glenn Ambercrombie gave a warm welcome, MC's Jason Feinberg, our favorite FOX 5 News Anchor and Debonair Extraordinaire & news-anchor-turned-MAMA Roshie Rossie kept the party engaged & effortlessly moving along, aforementioned Co-Chairs Alida & Mary Kathleen chose the prize winners from silver bowls full of raffle tickets. "Lego Basket! Barbie Basket! Bentley, Four Seasons Spa Day, Tiffany's, Neiman Marcus Lunch + Make-Up Day...Night at Hakkasan!" were the prizes and squeals from winners ensued. Thirteen-year old DJ B-Rad from Henderson pumped up the volume as the kids ended the Tea with a spin on the dance floor.
One of the most touchingly poignant moments of the afternoon was The Unforgettable's video spotlighting The Jack Family who lost their newborn son, Joseph Anthony Jack, in January of this year. In the video, Joseph's father talks of that moment, “they had (Joseph) on life support…how helpless we are in this situation, nothing I could do as a father to help my son...The Unforgettables stepped in right away, they saw a need…all parents want in that moment is for somebody to be with them, (The Unforgettables) filled a need in a moment of time that was very crucial for us.”
Fun raises money and money helps those in need. The attending adults knew how powerful this opportunity was, the kids had a blast and priceless help was raised. VEGASMAMAS was honored to feature this year's Teddy Bear Tea. If you're interested in donating to The Unforgettables, check out their website and please enjoy images below!
Teddy Bear Tea Co-Chairs: Alida Roberts & Mary Kathleen Keeler; Committee Members: Jen Bloch, Kari Ehrlich, Tina Teigen, Alese Morrow Jenkins, Heather Kefalas-Priamos, Roshie Raissi, Andrea Silberstein & Kelly Stewart. Sponsors: Allegiant Air, Incorp, Frank Stiles Foundation, Tea Forte, Palm Mortuaries, Sunshine Valley Pediatrics, American Printing LV, The Roberts Family, Orthopedic Motion, The Bloch Family, Nathan Adelson Hospice, Kelly Stewart Events, The Ehrlich Family & The Keeler Family Officers: Robert J. Walsh, Board Chair, Seth Ahlborn, Treasurer, Secretary, Open Position, Glenn A. Abercrombie, Past Chair; Board of Directors: Robert J. Walsh – Board Chair, Seth Ahlborn – Treasurer, Glenn A. Abercrombie – Past Chair, Howard Russell, Alida Roberts, Dr. David Smith, Dr. Sean Keeler, Mary Kathleen Keeler, Karen Rubel, Kelly Stewart, Nathan Stiffler, Palm Starr, Tim Ehrlich, Heather Kefalas
a special shout-out to SONstudios Las Vegas for capturing photos of my husband on the dance floor and an actual family photo of the four of us together!