After cocktails, guests entered the ballroom, which was transformed by Sutra International into a Circus "Big Top". The event's Master of Ceremonies, Tim Byrd, welcomed everyone and then introduced the event's presenting sponsor, Jason Brian of Autocricket.com. The Gala Chairmen, Geri and Frank Morrow, were then introduced by LLS Board President, Dr. Robert Burke, and thanked all in attendance for their support. This year, a special "Lifetime Achievement" award was given to Inspirational Benefactor, Suzy Minkoff, to honor her for her support since the Gala?s inception since the late 90s. Also recognized this evening were the Annual Gala's International Chair, Hermé de Wyman Miro, Honorary Chairwoman, Ari Rifkin, Honorary Chairman, Patrick Park, Chairman Emeritus, Elizabeth Fago and Host Gala Chairs, Donald and Melania Trump.
Before bringing out the balloons and bears, Junior Gala Chairman, Richard Rendina, shared his experiences as a Hodgkin's lymphoma survivor. His inspiring words encouraged guests to make additional donations to LLS. An exciting live auction followed with Sheriff Ric Bradshaw as the Celebrity Auctioneer.
Special guests recognized included the event's Honorary National Chairs: Rhoda & David Chase, Mary Virginia & Henry Fong, Lisa Leder, Erin & Sean McGould, Lois Pope, Sally & Dick Robinson and Kathryn & Leo Vecellio; Junior Gala Chairmen: Joey & Jamie Fago and Rich & Trish Rendina and the Gala Committee.
Local sponsors of the Annual Gala included Presenting Sponsor: Autocricket.com/JasonBrian.com; Grand Benefactors: Lighthouse Partners, LLC and Patrick Park; Flying Trapeze: Leder Family Foundation, Suzy Minkoff, Hermé de Wyman Miro, Lois Pope, and Kathryn & Leo Vecellio; Dancing Clowns: The Rhoda and David Chase Family Foundation, Coastal Construction, Mr. Bob Lappin, NuVista Living and Mrs. Ari Rifkin.
All proceeds from the annual gala benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the nation?s largest voluntary health organization dedicated to curing leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin?s disease and myeloma and to improving the quality of life of patients and their families. For more information, contact Darby Collins, Senior Campaign Director at (561) 775-9954.