The winning fundraising formula consists of pulling together a combination of generous corporate and private sponsors to underwrite the events so all proceeds go toward research.
Hoag spoke to the sellout crowd of over 330 guests attending the most recent gala at the Rosewood Sand Hill, thanking everyone for supporting a cause that started out as personal, but has grown over the years to fund 23 clinical trials across the globe. Hoag's father suffered from Alzheimer's, and now her mother is in the advanced stages of the memory-loss disease.
Hoag announced a new research challenge, which the gala program explained as "Part the Cloud to RESCUE (REverse, reStore, Cease and UndErstand) Brain Cell Degeneration in Alzheimer's ... to accelerate therapeutics and discovery of innovative compounds to be used in early clinical trials."
"Let's hope one day we will have a cure and remember each other," she said.
ESPN commentator Sage Steele acted as emcee for the gala. Alzheimer's is also personal for her — her grandmother had it.
Singer/songwriter Jay Allen and his band performed the song "Blank Stares," which he wrote honoring his mother, who has early onset Alzheimer's.
Tony Award-winning singer Idina Menzel headlined the event, belting out tunes she is known for, such as "Defying Gravity" from the musical "Wicked," and "Let It Go" from the movie "Frozen."
She ended her set with an impromptu duet with guest Victoria Bailey of Woodside, who proclaimed that her lifelong dream was to sing with Menzel.
Turns out Bailey used to be an opera singer, and as Steele said after all the applause quieted down, she "nailed it."
Earlier on in the evening Garth Brooks and Ronnie Lott took the stage, as did gala co-chairs Ellen Drew and Debbie Robbins. The women thanked their Steering Committee members: Melissa Badger, Dana Eckert, Sue Foley, Lulu Frye, Stephanie Harman, Lauren Koenig, Laurie Kraus Lacob, Anne Lawler, Heather Pietsch, Paula Robichaud, Sally Robinson, Mary Stevens and Hilary Valentine.
The night ended on a celebratory note with more music and dancing to David Martin's House Party.
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