Night to Shine Puts Spotlight on Special Kids
Watch the Night to Shine highlight reel to see a celebration of your impact. Your generous support of CURE makes these awesome dance moves and big smiles possible!
It’s not often that children with disabilities feel seen, let alone celebrated. That’s why, in addition to providing life-changing surgeries to children with treatable conditions, part of CURE’s work is to reflect Christ’s love to His children who’ve been kept at the margins.
Sometimes, that means throwing them an epic dance party.
Party with a purpose
After several surgeries to straighten her legs at Tebow CURE Hospital in the Philippines, Ara Jane (pictured left, before surgery) was all smiles walking the red carpet with Tim Tebow at Night to Shine 2023.
In partnership with the Tim Tebow Foundation, Tebow CURE Hospital (CURE Philippines) hosted Night to Shine, a one-night event designed to roll out the red carpet (literally!) and help children with special needs and their families feel like kings and queens at the prom. It’s truly a worldwide movement, as the Tim Tebow Foundation sponsors Night to Shine events in 46 countries—with events at CURE hospitals in Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Malawi too.
The event brought together 100 children with special needs—including 73 former patients at CURE and children from the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines and prosthetics and orthotics patients from the Davao Jubilee Foundation. Some traveled more than 500 miles with their families. Dresses for the girls and button-down shirts for the boys were donated, corsages and boutonnieres were pinned, hair and makeup artists were brought in, and the Davao Convention Center was transformed into a dance hall—all to help children with special needs catch a glimpse of what it means to be loved and valued in God’s eyes.
More than 500 people—including 100 children with disabilities—lit up the Davao Convention Center at Night to Shine.
They enjoyed a musical performance and worship by Nor Rayray, a prominent Christian musician and finalist on Pilipinas Got Talent, who shared his testimony of how God turned his own disability into an ability. Guests received goodie bags, a catered dinner, and the chance to set aside the stigma of a disability for one night.
Nicole was among them. She first came to CURE Philippines as a 17-year-old, about the age when most of her peers were thinking of prom and parties and hangouts with friends. But a growth disorder which caused Nicole’s legs to bow out prevented her from many of those activities and made her a target for bullies. She was referred to CURE Philippines in 2021 and received surgery—at no cost to her family thanks to donors like you—to begin straightening her legs.
After months of physical therapy and lots of loving care, she was able to enjoy Night to Shine. She said, “I have never attended any prom in school, so this is a first time for me. . . I really felt God’s love for me through this event and that I am special and valued.”
Nicole’s Night to Shine experience included laughing and dancing—something she never thought she’d be able to do before surgery from CURE Philippines restored her mobility.
Commitment to serve children in need
For Tim Tebow and his wife, Demi, Night to Shine is more than just an event. For Tim, it’s about a commitment to love and lift up the least of these, one that stretches back to when, as a 15-year-old, he met a boy in the jungles of the Philippines who, because of his clubfoot, was viewed by his community as cursed. Tim says, “But I fell in love with that boy; he wasn’t a throwaway to me, and I knew he wasn’t a throwaway to God. Now, the mission of Tebow CURE is to bring faith, hope, and love to children in their darkest hours.”
Before the Night to Shine festivities, Tim and members of the Tim Tebow Foundation visited CURE Philippines, praying with and sharing the light of Jesus with patients and their families.
It’s part of what moved him to partner with CURE International to build a charitable children’s hospital in the Philippines to provide free surgeries, and share the love of Jesus, to children with treatable disabilities.
For Demi, Night to Shine offered a chance to reunite with many of the patients and families she met with last year when she visited CURE Philippines.
“It’s so good to be back,” she said, addressing the hospital’s medical and ministry teams who care for these kids each day. “It’s so beautiful to see that these kids, they’re not just physically touched and healed, but that you pour so much into their lives.”
Connecting families with local churches
The disability community is one of the largest unreached groups in the world. Night to Shine is a strategic way to help connect children and their families to local churches and pastors who’ve been trained by CURE to minister inclusively.
“Night to Shine is a great opportunity for us to reach our patients and other children with special needs and connect them to our ministry partners and local churches near them,” John Ligero, Spiritual Director at CURE Philippines, said. “It is our desire that the seed of God’s Word that was initially planted in the hearts of our patients at Tebow CURE will continue to be cultivated as they get connected to a local church.”
Pastor Felino Ramos, who leads God is the Answer Church in Talomo, has gone through CURE’s Theology of Disability training and connected with families at Night to Shine.
“I have attended the trainings, and I see CURE doesn’t just meet physical needs, but also the emotional and spiritual needs of the patients and their families,” he said. “Events such as Night to Shine are a beautiful demonstration of the gospel in action where the patients get to feel God’s healing power, provision, and love in practical ways. The gospel and God’s love becomes a reality for them.”
We’re grateful for our church partners who are committed to being a place where children with disabilities can hear the gospel message, experience a loving community, and grow in Christ.
Celebrating life change
It took 300 volunteers, including local churches, pastors, ministry partners, and CURE hospital staff, the better part of a year to make Night to Shine a success. It is worth the effort to witness lives changing like Chynna’s. She’s finishing her treatment for broken bones at CURE Philippines and was thrilled to attend Night to Shine with her mom and a church-going friend. It was a life-changing experience for her because her friend had the opportunity to share the gospel message, and Chynna put her faith in Jesus that night!
Chynna, pictured with Tim and Demi Tebow, put her faith in Christ at Night to Shine.
“I am thrilled that Demi and I were able to travel to the Philippines to kick off Night to Shine 2023—a country where our mission to serve the most vulnerable people truly began,” Tim said.
Thanks to the generosity of the Tim Tebow Foundation and thousands of others, CURE International hosted Night to Shine events at our hospitals in Kenya, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. (Check out some of the pics below!)
“Our partners make it possible to bring medical care, spiritual nurture, and even prom parties to vulnerable children around the world,” said Peter Cowles, Executive Director of Tebow CURE Hospital. “We are so grateful for the generosity of CURE supporters who care for children with disabilities.”
Night to Shine is Global with CURE
Night to Shine goes global at CURE! It’s hard not to smile when you’re rolling down the red carpet or dancing with a crown on. Parents are blessed as much as the kids. One mom at CURE Children’s Hospital of Kenya told us, “It was so beautiful to see that we are remembered and loved like anyone else! Thank you so much to CURE and everyone who made it possible for us to celebrate!”