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January roared in with a bang that could only mean Gasparilla party time. Februaryís Cattle Baronsí Ball barnstormed for the American Cancer Society. March unpacked the vast Chiselersí Market at the University of Tampa. April and May packed in formal galas for hospitals and medical research. Summer was less hectic until Hurricane Irma scared us but spared us. September fundraisers were gratefully rescheduled among the fall annuals.

Suddenly my keyboard is stuck on the letter E as I extoll eight examples of 2017ís exceptional events. .

Emotional: Transplant recipient Garrett Leopoldís heart raced dancing with Laurie Pierce at the American Heart Associationís Tampa Bay Heart Ball on April 29. Itís her daughter Amandaís heart that keeps him alive.

Entertaining: Legendary 17-time Grammy winner Tony Bennett charmed the DeBartolo Family Foundationís cozy, celebrity and jock-studded crowd March 25 at the 14th All Star Charity Gala.

Edgy: CITY: Fashion + Art + Culture pushed the envelope and sealed it with a big New York kiss from nightclub icon Susanne Bartsch at the Tampa Museum of Art on Oct. 6.

Erudite: Tampa Bay History Center gala guests were first to explore the third-floor expansion and new exhibit, Treasure Seekers: Conquistadors, Pirates & Shipwrecks.

Embracing: Tuxes and Tailsí Rio de Carnaval gala exceeded expectations of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay and 1,000 pet-loving supporters with the adoption of 31 dogs and cats Oct. 14.

Energized: Accolades, salsa dancers and mojitos flowed freely when the Straz Center timed Conga!, the Broadway Ball, to the Gloria and Emilio Estefan musical On Your Feet! and to CEO Judy Lisiís 25th year at the performing arts center.

Ebullient: USF president Judy Genshaft could not stop smiling at the Unstoppable Gala on Nov. 11, attaining not only the $1 billion endowment goal, but immediately adding $15 million more from Pam and Les Muma.

Exuberant: On a steamy July 22, Martinis for Moffitt attracted 1,000 hot and happy partiers to put Bay Area Advisors over $1 million donated to prostate cancer research since 2005.

Happy New Year and may your endless enthusiasm elevate and empower even more charitable events in the seasons to come.

   
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