The Third Annual “An Evening with Dave Rice” event, which was held Saturday, May 17 at the MGM Grand, was a tremendous success, raising money and awareness for the Dave Rice Foundation’s fight against Autism.
Highlighting the event was special guest host, late night TV personality and Dave Rice Foundation board member, Jimmy Kimmel. Also in attendance were Jimmy’s longtime friends and his famous Aunt Chippy. Kimmel, who generously donated his time to be on hand in Las Vegas, charmed attendees with his trademark wit and humor, while also leading the charge in generosity. At one point during the live auction, Kimmel bid $10,000 to take home a self-portrait, created by performance speed painter, Tim Decker.
“Certainly for Jimmy to be here and take time out of his busy schedule to be part of this is something that’s exciting for us,” said Foundation chairman and UNLV Runnin’ Rebels head basketball coach, Dave Rice.
“What the Dave Rice Foundation is doing for families in southern Nevada affected by Autism is immeasurable,” said Kimmel. “As a Las Vegas native, and with a family member on the Autism spectrum, I am proud to assist Coach Rice in these meaningful efforts.”
In addition to the Kimmel painting, Decker delighted the 400-plus guests with speed paintings of Frank Sinatra and the Statue of Liberty.
“It’s been tremendous for Mindy and me because it’s a cause that’s not only important to us on the surface, but it’s extremely important to us personally with our son Dylan being on the Autism spectrum,” Rice told the Las Vegas Sun’s Taylor Bern.
The story of a child affected by Autism is one that’s all too familiar to the Rice family. It was just six years ago that Dave and Mindy received the news their son Dylan had been diagnosed with the condition.
Naturally, the news prompted plenty of questions … What is Autism? How do you treat it? What does this mean for our son’s future? Unfortunately, the family found it difficult to acquire answers.
“Going back, I wish our doctor could have given me a name, a phone number, a pamphlet, anything that would be a road map that would give us a starting point to what came next on the journey through Autism,” said Mindy Rice, secretary and treasurer of the Foundation.
Fast forward to 2014 and Dylan, now 11-years-old, is doing very well. So well, in fact, that he actually took the stage with friend Daniel Allen (son of board member D.J. Allen) to address the crowd and help introduce Kimmel at the event. But while Dylan’s progress has been tremendous, it didn’t cause Dave and Mindy to forget about the struggles of getting to that point. Those were the memories that led them to start the Dave Rice Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the education and support of health initiatives including developmental disorders such as Autism.
Unfortunately, Dylan’s story is not uncommon. At age two, Mindy noticed his speech was not developing properly. She would spend the next three years searching for answers from various doctors before finally receiving a diagnosis at age five. In retrospect, these were three valuable years that could have been used for treatment and/or therapy. Children diagnosed with Autism can benefit greatly from early detection and the Rice family stresses that parents seek help immediately if they believe something might be wrong.
For more information on the Dave Rice Foundation or “An Evening with Dave Rice,” visit www.DaveRiceFoundation.org.
ABOUT THE DAVE RICE FOUNDATION
The Dave Rice Foundation is a non-profit, tax exempt organization dedicated to the education and support of health initiatives including developmental disorders such as Autism, and other charitable causes. The Foundation was established in 2012 by UNLV Runnin' Rebels Head Basketball Coach Dave Rice and his wife Mindy.