A sea of blue washed over Balboa Bay Resort as the Global Genes | Rare Project hosted its second annual Tribute to Champions of Hope gala Sept. 21. The nonprofit, which works to build and unify a global rare and genetic disease community, raised $370,000 at the event. An estimated 500 attendees enjoyed a lively cocktail reception and dinner, which kicked off with a welcome from organization president Nicole Boice. Several awards were presented to individuals including Stephen Groft, director of the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Rare Diseases Research, and Josh Sommer, executive director of the Chordoma Foundation. A highlight of the evening was a heartfelt performance by former Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin frontman Andrew McMahon. An OC local and leukemia survivor, the musician paid tribute to the families battling rare diseases. —A.H.