20th annual Magnolia Ball
Ever see a more elegant mosh pit than at Moffitt Cancer Center's thrilling $3.4 million-raising Magnolia Ball featuring Grammy-winning Train? Dozens of the band's fans choo-chooed on stage in dazzling black-tie for a sing-along, starting with star struck Katie Busciglio.
The DeBartolo Family's $1 million match launched a phenomenal donor roll call at Saturday's $1,000-ticket gala, including $250,000 from Nick Valvano's V Foundation. Live auction bids included $6,500 from NASCAR board member Lesa France Kennedy for a Shih Tzu puppy and $7,250 from Bloomin' Brands' Dave Pace to be a character named in author Michael Connelly's next book.
Cheers filled A La Carte Event Pavilion for founding ball chairwoman Marty Couch ($24 million raised since 1993), for chief executive officer Alan List's list of cancer breakthroughs and for survivor Scarlett Hunt, who spoke glowingly about her Moffitt care.
Champions for Charity
Monsignor Laurence Higgins' own health issues were the reason he missed the testimonial dinner he has chaired for the Judeo-Christian Health Clinic for several years. So board president and surgeon Sylvia Campbell extended greetings on his behalf April 18 at Higgins Hall. The West Tampa clinic assisted 36,000 patient visits last year, thanks to 350 volunteer medical professionals and translators. "Without a dollar of federal funding," added the Rev. John DeBevoise, board treasurer.
Dorothy Lee Lindsey, Hepatitis C Clinic coordinator, was named the 2013 Good Samaritan. Board member and emcee Gayle Sierens introduced two "quiet, unassuming and kind" Humanitarian honorees: Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and former Tampa Bay Buc Derrick Brooks, now president of the Tampa Bay Storm. An extensive silent auction, including Haitian artwork Campbell acquired while providing medical care, helped the dinner net $100,000.
To Life, the Power of Stories
Somewhere, some troupe is performing Fiddler on the Roof right now, asserted film critic Jeffrey Lyons at To Life: the Power of Stories, the annual benefit for the Florida Holocaust Museum held at the Mahaffey Theater. Film clips prompted Lyons' questions for his cousin Sheldon Harnick, 89, lyricist of the beloved musical.
Museum director Beth Gelman and president Marty Borell welcomed 500 guests to an international buffet — corned beef and matzo ball soup to Chinese stir fry — amid an auction of original artwork April 17. Sandy Mermelstein presented the 2013 Loebenberg Humanitarian Award to Lisa Wheeler-Brown who "learned the meaning of bystander" when her son was murdered "and no one spoke up due to St. Petersburg's no snitching culture." She applies lessons of the Holocaust to the museum's Speak Up Speak Now! program, she said, which the Department of Justice noted when presenting her a National Crime Victims' Special Courage Award this week.
Harnick's iconic song, Sunrise, Sunset reverberated through the hall as the 500 guests headed home, filled with Tradition, Tradition!