Jewel: ‘I’m here tonight because a doctor literally saved my life’

It was literally a heart-stopping moment nobody wishes to see at a gala dinner, but if you have a medical emergency, it sure helps to have doctors and specialists right there at the ready.

Singer Jewel and auctioneer Christian Kolberg found themselves in the middle of such an emergency when three cardiologists rushed to assist a dinner guest. The auction of Jewel’s two autographed guitars came to a halt as EMS paramedics were called in for additional assistance.

Octavius Ballroom at Caesars Palace fell silent as cardiologists worked on their patient at the 60th St. Rose Hospital celebration. It was a 45-minute delay before the female patient was able to be wheeled from the dinner and taken to a hospital.

Jewel was the first to speak and told the incredible story of how doctors come to the rescue under the most unusual of circumstances. “I’m here tonight because a doctor literally saved my life,” she said.

Jewel had become homeless in San Diego after the boss at a computer electronics warehouse propositioned her, then fired her without paying her final week’s salary when she turned him down.

“I’d been caring for my mother in her apartment, and that check was the next month’s rent. The landlord evicted us because I didn’t have the rent money. We lived out of my car for four to five months, and my health got progressively worse, so bad that I wound up at a hospital, but they wouldn’t treat me because I didn’t have insurance.

“I was so ill that I vomited all over myself when I got back to the car. One doctor took pity on me, followed me out to the car park and gave me some free medicine. That saved my life.” It enabled her to recover and eventually seek stardom as a guitarist, songwriter, actress and author with four Grammy nominations and sales of nearly 50 million albums.

Her acoustic guitars had hit $8,000 each when the medical emergency stopped the fundraiser. Jewel’s story brought the room back to the cause, and she sang “Over the Rainbow” a cappella to a standing ovation. Christian got the bidding back in line and sold the guitars for $10,000 each, with Jewel drawing a black-ink Sharpie sketch of an angel nurse.

Celebrity chefs Susan Feniger, Saipin Chutima and Megan Romano joined Barry Dakake and Kim Canteenwalla at the request of Rick Moonen to present dinner for the Dignity Health St. Rose Dominican Siena Campus supporters.

But an even more emotional moment was to come. A teen patient of the hospital, Taven, told of his school-year-long battle with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and cancer. During his long stay there, nurses, doctors and staff tried to surprise him with Wolfgang Puck’s cookware, as he is a budding chef, and a visit from his favorite band, hometown heroes Imagine Dragons.

Taven told the audience that his wish was to watch his hero, MMA fighter Randy Couture, win in The Octagon. At that moment, dinner host Saville Kellner pulled back the curtain to reveal Randy. Taven and Randy hugged and then walked to every table in the ballroom to congratulate winning bidders as Christian and Jewel continued the auction.

Other items included a Celine Dion meet-and-greet, George Strait tickets at T-Mobile Arena and Bill Foley’s invitation to watch a Golden Knights game in his suite there. Cast members of “Absinthe” at Caesars provided entertainment for the benefit along with Jewel and The Plain White T’s. It was a remarkable and emotional night!

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