|This year's "Dream Night" was held in honor of Dawson Ivanowski (left), who passed away last fall after a battle with neuroblastoma. |
For 17-year-old Ashley Marshall, “Dream Night” couldn’t have been a more appropriate name for the Blues’ charity event on Sunday.
Just one week prior to her 18th birthday, Marshall celebrated by spending the evening at Side Pockets in St. Charles, the site of the 12th annual “Dream Night with the Blues.” The event is designed to raise money for the St. Louis chapter of the Dream Factory, a nonprofit organization that aims to make the dreams of critically-ill children come true, be it a trip to Disney World or a hospital visit from their favorite athlete.
Once in the door, fans could mingle with Blues players and challenge them to video games, darts, bubble hockey, pool and more for a small donation. Photos and autographs were also available.
“It was amazing. I loved it,” said Marshall, a Blues season ticket holder. “I couldn’t have had a better night or asked for more.”
This year’s event was held in honor of Dawson Ivanowski, a child who passed away last fall after a 2 ½ year battle with neuroblastoma. During the course of his fight, Dawson was befriended by the Blues family, especially defenseman Barret Jackman
The Dream Factory aims to make dreams a reality for kids just like Dawson, so it’s no surprise that the Blues are quick to jump on board if it means they can support a cause like this one.
“It’s incredible to see the looks on the kids’ faces when they know what the money being raised is going to do,” said Blues forward Ryan Johnson, whose jersey alone raised $2,000 for the Dream Factory in an auction at the end of the night.
“Seeing the kids, the families, the parents…(they) are the true heroes because of what they go through on a daily basis and the sacrifices they make.”
Through ticket sales, donations and auctions, the event raised more than $45,000 for the Dream Factory. More than 92 cents of every dollar raised went directly towards granting dreams for children in the St. Louis metropolitan area.
|David Perron plays air hockey at Dream Night with the Blues (Photo by Mark Buckner). |
“I think it’s awesome,” said Jack Tracy Jr, who took his son, Jack Tracy III, to “Dream Night” as a gift for his 16th birthday. “I attend other functions and this is so neat that the players are doing this (while) we’re contributing to a great organization. They’re probably one of the easiest people to go up and talk to.”
“It’s a lot of fun getting to meet the players and everything,” added Jack Tracy III. “You can’t get any better than this.”
But the fans, the kids and the Dream Factory are not the only ones to benefit; the players take something away from Dream Night, too.
“It makes us feel good to be able to help these kids,” Johnson said. “To be able to give to have one of their dreams fulfilled and do something that really changes their life and approach on things… it’s something special for us.”