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Amy Scherzer's Diary

Amy Scherzer's Diary: Lights, Fashion & Hope

Lights, Fashion & Hope

LAMPLighters reincarnated their popular Saks Fifth Avenue fashion show as a private shopping party when more than 300 guests had the store all to themselves April 21, and a 15 percent discount card to boot. LAMP stands for Ladies Assisting Metropolitan People, and they did just that, turning over proceeds to Metropolitan Ministries and Joshua House.

James Crumbly and Patel Conservatory played jazz to shop by; 11 restaurants including Chez Bryce, Bella's, Circles, Grape, Toasted Pheasant, Six Tables and Edibles by Ethel fed shoppers to keep up their strength.

"We really needed their in-kind donations to make more money,'' said co-chair Helen Raterman, who asked Jeanne Dowdle to be her co-chair.

Lights, Fashion & Hope patrons and underwriters were invited to a thank-you lunch at Teresa Armas' home on Harbour Island and entered in a drawing for a $5,000 gift certificate. (Congratulations to Elizabeth Earhart.)

Among the best-dressed shoppers: honorary chairwoman Frankie Harrell, president Valarie Cappello, incoming president Sally Mabry and 2010 president-elect Edda Gibson.

Children's Home Recognition Luncheon

Children's Home board member Jake Fisher cried remembering his life in an orphanage, "like it was just yesterday." Volunteer of the Year Susan Cohen welled up talking about being a surrogate parent at more than 100 school conferences on behalf of Children's Home residents. Bobby Newman choked up thinking how different his life might have been if his wife, board member Meridith, hadn't been adopted as an infant.

But these were joyful tears at the 20th annual Recognition Luncheon on April 23, honoring brothers Eric and Bobby Newman of J.C. Newman Cigar Co. with the Helen Ayala Davis Award. As Rabbi Richard Birnholz said in his invocation, "Bobby and Eric represent every right in a world gone wrong.''

Emcee Jack Harris began with American Idol finalist Cesar de la Rosa singing the national anthem and ended drawing Dan Damron's name to win a weekend at the Tradewinds Island Resort. In between, CEO Gerard Veneman outlined four new moneymaking ventures: a partnership with Sweetwater Organic Farm, a high-tech Imagination Center, converting a cottage for kids aging out of the foster system and Charlie's Treasure's thrift store.

Magnolia Ball

Cancer doesn't know recession, said Ed Droste, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute board chairman, at the 16th annual Magnolia Ball headlined by the Beach Boys.

But charity balls do — as Saturday's gala took in $2.4 million, 25 percent less than last year. Still, there was plenty to be grateful for. Just ask optimist John Freeman, a pancreatic cancer patient who shared his experience with 630 guests during the steak and lobster course.

Big-ticket auction items included a super-deluxe trip to Spain with ball chairmen Richard and Melanie Gonzmart, bought by honorary chair David "Lags" Lageschulte for $30,000. Another $30,000 came from author Helen Rosburg's bid for Neiman Marcus' "accessories for a year" (imagine Prada bag, Chanel earrings, every month).

Moffitt CEO Bill Dalton needs $371 million to build on 30 donated acres. Six donors stepped up with $100,000 each, including the Drostes and Gonzmarts. Then Don and Erika Wallace, Ted and Marty Couch and Dick Jacobson raised their paddles to pledge $100,000 each, followed by scores of others, down to $500. Retired ABC newsman Sam Donaldson, chair of the Moffitt board of advisers, popped up to present cancer survivor/singer Olivia Newton-John; and $500,000 from Nick Valvano's V Foundation.

Business done; time for Fun, Fun, Fun. Original Beach Boy Mike Love, 68, and new bandmates teased about an intermission and nap, then "surfed" nearly two hours of Good Vibrations.


Friday: Silverspoons & Sandcastles XVIII benefits Mayor's Beautification Program; 7-11 p.m.; Tampa Port Authority Cruise Terminal 3; $85; (813) 221-8733.

May 6: Go Red For Women luncheon benefits the American Heart Association; 11 a.m.; A La Carte Pavilion; $125; (727) 563-8110.

May 9: Garden of Eden, An Evening of Temptation; 12th annual Moments in Time Gala; 7:30 p.m.; Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay; $250 and up; (813) 844-7272.

Amy Scherzer's Diary: Lights, Fashion & Hope 04/30/09 [Last modified: Saturday, May 2, 2009 3:02pm]
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