Two La Jolla women are co-chairing the 12th annual Miracle Babies gala, which raises funds to unite families with critically ill newborns in neonatal intensive care.
Sandra Alavi and Selma Alameri Daniels are organizing this year’s gala, “La Fete Magnifique,” which will be an evening of gourmet cuisine and cocktails, as well as the opportunity to bid on live auction items.
Attendees are to include Dr. Edith Eger, a Holocaust survivor and bestselling author of “The Choice” and “The Gift,” who is receiving legacy recognition; and pediatric cardiovascular surgeon Dr. John Lamberti, whose work has saved a lot of lives and is being recognized as a healthcare hero.
Marjan and her husband, Dr. Sean Daneshmand, officially founded Miracle Babies in 2009. Daneshmand specializes in high-risk pregnancies, and Marjan noted he would come home telling her stories of how a wonderful patient that he saw could not afford gas to drive to the hospital to see her premature baby who was in the NICU. The organization they started together has provided financial assistance to more than 8,000 families per year who have had premature babies in the NICU.
The initial Miracle Babies fundraiser was a 5K in Mission Bay with a turnout of 600 that raised $30,000 and has expanded in size and scope ever since.
Gala co-chairs Alavi and Alameri Daniel are both full-time businesswomen and moms who are proud to support the nonprofit’s progressive mission to unite parents and their hospitalized babies.
A mother of three including “miracle baby” twins Austin and Jamie, Alavi opened her first hair salon right after college. Her business has since grown to multiple locations employing over 100 people. She has personal experience with the nonprofit’s mission, which has made her a passionate supporter.
“Miracle Babies is something very close to my heart as I had two babies prematurely born at seven months who were both three pounds,” Alavi said. “I’ve seen other families struggle to go and see their babies in critical care. It’s a very stressful time for parents.”
Alavi said the Miracle Babies gala is all about education.
“We need to give awareness to people about what’s going on with this issue, along with raising funds and inviting people for the evening,” she said. “We need to let them know that we can help transport people to see their babies. It’s important for mothers to spend time with their babies touching them, holding them until they can bring them home.”
Born in Iraq, Alameri Daniels is now a real estate agent, developer, and investor as well as a mom to her daughter Aliyah. She employs more than 250 people in the restaurant, apartment building, hair salon, and construction project industries throughout San Diego and Los Angeles counties.
“It’s a good cause,” said Alameri Daniels about why she was drawn to Miracle Babies adding, “It hit close to home when I had my baby. I remember how hard it was for me. I just kept crying and thinking about mothers who’ve had to deal with more issues than just not sleeping and having just had surgery, having to deal with the stress of work and financial issues. That’s when I decided to become more involved.”
Added Alameri Daniels: “It takes a whole community coming together to help out in doing something like this, and everyone involved plays a certain part. I play a very small part in getting the word out and asking people to donate.”
Miracle Babies supports NICU families in three ways: By providing shuttles to transport families to the hospital to be with their newborns; through Miracle Hours bringing NICU parents together to share common concerns, and by distributing MB Cares Bags containing essential items and resource materials to aid and comfort families during their baby’s NICU stay.
“Miracle Babies has gotten bigger as more and more people hear about it,” noted event co-founder Daneshmand, who added the increased notoriety has led to the recruitment of more corporate sponsors and donors.
“This year we’re limiting attendance to 280 because of COVID,” she said. “It’s going to be a beautiful night of dinner, auctions, dancing, and raising funds.”
LA FETE MAGNIFIQUE
This year’s gala will take place Saturday, Oct. 23 starting at 5:30 p.m. at Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa, 5921 Valencia Circle, in Rancho Santa Fe. For more information or buy tickets, visit miraclebabies.org.