Tampa Bay's Dancing With the Stars
Global rhythms — from Bollywood to Zorba the Greek — challenged 13 charity-minded dancers at Tampa Bay's Dancing with the Stars whirling for six nonprofits: Hands Across the Bay, Wheelchairs4Kids, Wheels of Success, Suncoast Animal League, Pepin Academies and Saddle Up Riding Club. Designs to Shine loaned the sexy dancewear; Fred Astaire dance studios provided hours and hours of instruction.
The 500 guests donated $10 per vote, said Julie Weintraub and Melissa Johnson, who staged the $250-ticket gala dinner and competition at TPepin's Hospitality Centre on Oct. 13, netting $175,000.
Congratulations to 2012 Grand Champion Patrick Brophy; Best Male Bill Gieseking; Best Female Jaimi Hovan; People's Choice George Mantzaris; and Most Online Votes John Sullivan who made their professional dance partners proud.
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation sixth annual Dream Gala
Emcee/former Miss America Nicole Johnson was 19; Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Sam Fuld was 10, as was Plant High freshman Melanie Ekizian when they were diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Tennis coach Gen King was 16; Corey Cole was 7. Noah Holsinger found out at age 3; then five years later, his twin, Harrison, became diabetic. On Saturday, they all inspired 300-plus Dream Gala guests "to cure, treat and prevent Type 1 diabetes," netting $243,000 at A La Carte Event Pavilion.
John Farley, chairman of the Tampa Bay chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, father of two kids with the disease, honored GrillSmith restaurants for feeding 6.000 participants at three Spring 2012 walk-a-thons. Before launching the Fund A Cure appeal that topped $100,000, Alysia Ekizian spoke of her fears four years ago when her daughter's diabetes "rocked our world."
A live auction highlight: lunch with Sam Fuld and 16 luxury box tickets to a Rays game sold for $5,000 while board member Todd Loomis bid $2,500 just for lunch.
Key to the Cure
Eight cancer survivors, each escorted by a Moffitt Cancer Center physician and accessorized with a healthy glow, modeled at Saks Fifth Avenue on Oct. 17: Yanna Galante, Angela Hazzard, Kelly Anne Heyer, Debbie Kavouklis, Wendy Pepe, Julia Rogers, Felicia Sable and Debbie Trujillo,
Two percent of sales that night and the next three days, are expected to reach $100,000 for Moffitt researchers, according to co-chairwomen Julie Lux and Kathy Lewis who frequently volunteer as a pair.
Between purchases, 400 guests sampled hors d'oeuvres from Besa Grill, Flamestone and Roy's, and sweets from Pinkberry and A La Carte Event Pavilion.
New Life Village luau
Sister Claire LeBoeuf shared her vision of New Life Village at the intergenerational community's first fundraiser, a Hawaiian luau. Guests enjoyed roast pig as Polynesian Performers emcees Nina and Andre Glaude narrated a dozen traditional island dances demonstrated in the West Shore Boulevard back yard of financier Bob Gries on Oct. 13.
Former Mayor Pam Iorio, interim CEO of the Hillsborough Children's Board, spoke highly of the village concept where parents, adopted foster children and surrogate grandparents will soon move into 36 townhouses in a gated 12-acre community with clubhouse and pool near Palm River. Rent will be discounted on 24 units for families who have adopted children and 12 units for seniors who mentor them, said board chairman Eddie Adams Jr., who was also celebrating his birthday during the luau festivities.