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Amy Scherzer’s Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

By Amy Scherzer
AMY SCHERZER | Times Founding board members Gwynne Yung, left, Mary Figg and Joanne Harvey reminisce at the Champions for Children's 40th anniversary lunch Oct. 25 at Higgins Hall.

JDRF, Night of Hope Gala

Back by popular demand, Nicole Johnson, JDRF Tampa Bay director of mission, again emceed the annual Night of Hope Gala, this year with a swinging 1920s theme, Roaring Towards a Cure, to fund Type 1 diabetes research. The Wanek family honorees Ron and Joyce, son Todd, daughter-in-law Karen and grandson Cameron who has Type 1 diabetes, will be roaring now, on the custom rebuilt 1996 Harley- Davidson motorcycle that Ron bought in the live auction. The model fit the Prohibition-era decor, a Dyna Speakeasy, of course.

Sisters Bailey and Kathleen Sullivan and their cousin Alexandra Watson, all living with Type 1 diabetes, represented the Watson Family Foundation to donate $75,000, boosting net proceeds to $615,000. That gave co-chairs Dan Howat and Elise Batsel and 300 guests much to celebrate at the Marriott Waterside on Oct. 21.

Champions for Children

Looking back upon a great many successes while continuously adapting to future concerns, Champions for Childrenís supporters marked 40 years since the agency began as the Community Council on Child Abuse and Neglect, later renamed the Child Abuse Council. Three moms getting help raising "safe, thriving children" joined the 40th anniversary luncheon on behalf of the 17,000 babies born every year in Hillsborough County. Board member emeritus Cornelia Corbett presented the annual advocate award named for her to Elizabeth and Troy Fowler of the Triad Foundation. For the Fowlers and any others who couldnít be at Higgins Hall for the Oct. 25 benefit, check out Champions for Childrenís Facebook page for 40 reasons to celebrate.

Red Cross Angels Silver Coffee

You can always depend on the Red Cross, especially the Angels auxiliary and all their guests chatting over sweets and savories at the annual Silver Coffee at the art-filled home of Lyda and Carl Lindell on Oct. 26. Special guest Col. Troy Pananon accepted an appreciation plaque from former Gov. Bob Martinez, but the 5th Air Mobility vice wing commander deflected the appreciation back to his hosts. "I canít thank your organization enough," said Pananon, who arrived at MacDill Air Force Base around the time Hurricane Irma approached. "We depend on the American Red Cross in time of crisis. Itís a vital point of connection between the homefront and deployment."

Planned Parenthood CEO retires

Friends, staff and board members thanked retiring Planned Parenthood of Central and Southwest Florida CEO Barbara A. Zdravecky for 24 years of leadership by endowing the BAZ Fund for the Future to continue to fight challenges to womenís reproductive health care. A national search is underway for a successor to oversee the Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota region, now newly-merged with Naples and Orlando affiliates to serve more than 45,000 patients in 22 counties.

Sheís an "undaunted advocate".... who "stood up to find common ground," said U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor of the non-profit leader at an Oct. 30 cocktail retirement party at the home of Sara and David Scher.

And whatís next for Zdravecky? "Iím taking a year for travel, yoga and to sit on my hands," she said. "You canít open a door until you close one."