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Hearts, Hopes & Smiles

July 19
20:45 2019

Hearts, Hopes And Smiles; The Magic of Disney – an annual three-hour, fun-packed entertainment show designed especially for children and themed off Disney characters is set for Saturday, August 3 at the Bliss Centre for the Performing Arts in Belize City.

Producer Michelle Rudon told the Reporter that the objective of the show is to provide the children with three hours of non-stop fun, happiness and smiles through high-quality family entertainment in a positive environment where they can celebrate being children.

“The Disney Show is our trademark and the goal is to provide three hours of fun, happiness, smiles, high quality family entertainment for the kids – a positive environment where they can celebrate being kids/ We put on five different shows within the three hours and it features different characters and also top Belizean performers. This year we’re doing Mickey and Friends, Super Mario Bros, Unicorns, My Little Ponies, JoJo Siwa and Disney Superheroes and Heroines,” she shared with us.

The show has been dubbed a success for the years that it has been held. But while it offers an evening of excitement and fun, its purpose is two-fold. Rudon explained that she produces the show not only to make the children of Belize happy but to raise much-needed funds to help other children who are living with the dreaded disease, cancer.

“We’ve been in operation for six years. We started out helping the kids with cancer, through our Foundation called 1,000 Smiles for Cleyon. The Foundation actually started, thanks to Mike, (her brother Mike Rudon) who sent a lady to me six years ago. The lady’s son, Cleyon, was battling cancer and urgently needed help. That day was when it all started, and that’s why the Foundation is named after this boy, Cleyon Marage. He was the inspiration behind it. We started with one and grew to seven, but lost three, so now we have four,” Rudon told us.

But over the years, the Foundation later discovered that while there were children with cancer who needed help, there were many more whose only “illness” was poverty and simply needed help with the basics. So, aside from the ones who have cancer, 1,000 Smiles For Cleyon is also helping four girls who lost their father to gun violence and whose mother was also badly wounded. That required that the eldest child stop high school to look after her little sisters. The Foundation assists them with tuition, school books, groceries, clothes, toiletries and so on. Its members are all mothers, sisters, aunts, friends of children with cancer. Hence, the foundation relies on Hearts, Hopes and Smiles – The Magic of Disney as its biggest fundraiser in order to carry on with its work.

The road has not been an easy one, she admitted, having to try to meet the needs of the children and then to see them struggle, or even pass on after having tried, but she feels that there is divine guidance and protection over what they do for the sake of these children. “I truly believe [that] God has His hands directly over this Foundation. [There are] many days [that] I’ve wanted to stop because it’s overwhelming seeing the kids sick and wanting to do so much, but only being able to do so much,” the philanthropist explained.

She said that the Belize Cancer Society has met with her and has also helped the children with what it can. But the treatment costs and therapy is so expensive that what is offered hardly ever enough to cover the costs.

This year, Hearts, Hopes and Smiles is offering one child a gift basket that will be presented at the show. All that is required is that parents post a picture of their ticket or their child’s picture at one of the previous shows and tag the Facebook page, 1,000 smiles for Cleyon. The raffle will be held on Thursday, August 1 and the basket will be given to the winner during the show at the Bliss Centre.

Tickets to the show are selling for $25 for reserved and $15 for upper level seating. Tickets can be purchased at Genesis Arts at #3 F Street, King’s Park, Belize City, or by calling 606 – 9163.

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