Thank you for the kind words, and again, for everything you have done on my behalf, Eric. You are a true friend!
(I posted the following on FaceBook, and thought it would also be appropriate to do it again here for those who are not on FaceBook, yet were also at the event, or helped in any way.)
The English language is truly inadequate when it comes to affording me the ability to accurately describe the last 24 hours. However, I would be remiss if I didn't at least attempt to. Where to begin?
I am the most fortunate man alive.
Saturday, there was an outpouring of love and caring, the likes of which I have never experienced, in any capacity. More than 1,300 people attending two unbelievable and SOLD-OUT shows in a wonderful venue, all for one cause.
Eight of the most talented and generous people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, converged on one stage to deliver a performance of a lifetime - twice! All for one cause.
A dedicated backstage and tech crew, more than capable of delivering a seamless production for an appreciative audience. They are some of the most talented people you'll never see. But we knew they were there for the cause.
An audience, I might add, that was filled with members my biological family including dozens of cousins, my aunt, two of my brothers and their wives, many of my nieces and nephews and my two newest great-nephews (who were at their very first magic show!). My Defenders Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps family was well represented and I was thrilled they could join us. The magic community (another one of my families) were certainly there, and showed their support. My Tannen's Camp clan, from counselors, to campers, performers and even the camp director filled even more seats. There was even a substantial number of supporters from my Future Stars Program family in NY. My FUN Enterprises family dropped by with their support in the lobby, along with other close friends, offering take-home trinkets and FUN for all. Former students, fellow performers and more. It should go without saying that my own extended S.Y.M. family were some of my biggest supporters of the day, performing, ushering and generally helping in any way they possibly could, all day long, all for one cause.
A production team that was responsible for organizing the shows, advertising, promoting, raffles, auctions and more. The venue that was donated for the simple purpose of helping the cause. Auction items donated from television superstars, Las Vegas entertainers, sports fans, industry collectors and others. All supporting the cause.
There were a myriad of special guests in the audience that blew me away. From some of my magic mentors of the past, to a cousin from Florida to a childhood friend I have not seen since our youth, back when we were in school plays together, I being the hare to his tortoise. To top it of, my pulmonologist, the lung doctor responsible for diagnosing my disease, stopping it in its tracks and guiding me on a treatment program that has kept me going for the last 4 years. The reason for the cause.
Those are just the stats. The facts. The description of the day.
There are few words to describe how overwhelmed I still am from the experience. I was overcome with emotion several times during the day, and brought to tears on more than one occasion. There is no way that I can not easily express how much joy, peace and caring was simply overflowing the bounds of that building yesterday. It was palpable. I, for once, was at a loss for words. I couldn't even publicly utter the words "thank you," because I was so utterly exhausted, and taken over by the tremendous love shown toward me throughout the day. I have never felt so exhausted and at peace simultaneously. Today, my sides are sore, my stomach and lungs physically hurt and it's a tough day to breathe. The reasons are different, this time. For a change, the hurt comes from laughing, smiling, applauding and sharing a wonderful day with fabulous friends and family.
This is still only the beginning for me. A long road awaits, filled with surgery, recovery and getting life back on track. But that's for another day. Today, is my day to say "thank you," to those people who gave so much of themselves, for that one cause. I never thought in a million years that I would be considered a "cause." But since I am, I could think of no finer people around me, to help and assist that cause.
So, in that respect, while I will never truly be able to thank those involved, I want to show respect by thanking those who had a major role in the success of this very special day. They each know what they did! My local pals, the unbelievably talented Lyn Dillies, Bill Hoagland, Jon Stetson, Steve Kradolfer, Bob Riordan, Mike Bent, Joe Howard and Marc A. Leblanc. My very special NY and NJ buddies, Eric DeCamps and Peter Samelson. And all the way from LA, the hilarious Chipper Lowell.
What would backstage be without Mike Miller, Frank Monaco, Ian Rich, Dayle Cook, Nick Lange, TJ Tana and the boys. Dane Grigas, Ian Flinn, Laura Logan, Terri Cook and Marc Oshry who acted as my personal support team during the day. To Mike Wartell, Steve Wronker, Martin Rich and Mike Boyce for the photography skills. Bob McLaughlin, AC & Wayde Anders, Ken Abrams, Dan Sclare, Joel Bright, John Reid, Kayla Drescher, Zoe Reiches and the rest of those assisting with lobby and auction duties. To my kids who entertained with close-up magic during intermission, Sam Korn, Odyssey Mihali, Dan Cippola and Oliver Dodd. Thank you to Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen Degeneres, Lance Burton, Nick Lewin, Jared Spool, Matt Leskanic, the Dodds, Steve Axtell, Stan Allen, Eugene Burger and the rest of those who donated magnificent items to the online and silent auctions.
To all of the rest of you who played any other part in the event, as a spectator, donator, crew, magic fan or any other capacity - from the bottom of my heart, thank you for the support and the love.
Through all the hugs, kisses, surgical masks, handshakes, hand sanitizer, oxygen hoses, tanks, compliments, well-wishes, memories, tears and laughs, I believe it was one of the most emotional days I have ever experienced.
I know it was certainly the most love I have ever experienced.
I am the most fortunate man alive.
- David Oliver