The Crowd: An emotional event for cerebral palsy

April 06, 2011|By B.W. Cook
  • SUPER STARS: Caitlin Cohn and Marna Rough sing their hearts out for the dinner crowd at United Cerebral Palsy event.
SUPER STARS: Caitlin Cohn and Marna Rough sing their hearts… (Photo courtesy…)

Julia Argyros last week took the microphone in the grand ballroom of the Balboa Bay Club & Resort.

"My first job following graduation from college was working as a speech therapist helping children with disabilities," she told the crowd, as she stood on stage next to her husband, George Argyros, the former U.S. ambassador to Spain.

"I learned very quickly the struggles faced by those children and their parents," she added. "What I also experienced was progress when the children got the help they needed and in turn I saw a glimmer of hope in the parents. Hope for a better future, a healthier, happier future for their children."

The evening at the Balboa Bay Club, fittingly named "A Glimmer of Hope," was held on behalf of United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County. George and Julia Argyros were honored with the organization's IMPACT award for a "Life Without Limits."

The Argyros family takes philanthropy seriously. They have been at the front of a multiple of major campaigns for decades. Some support comes in the form of name recognition and financial contribution only, while other causes come with plenty of heart and soul.


This was one emotional night. George Argyros had the black-tie dinner crowd silent as he shared a message.

"We are so blessed," he said. "So many people need help. Giving back to the community is both an honor and a duty. Julia and I are grateful that we can do what we do."

This was not a typical charity event meant to expand business connections. The Argyros family included their children and grandchildren, and others in attendance followed suit.

Most significantly, there were many young people and their parents at the dinner facing the struggle with cerebral palsy. Best of all, heartfelt stories of overcoming all odds were shared, both live and on giant video screens. And then, a remarkable live performance by two young ladies fighting CP — Marna Rough and Caitlin Cohn sang selections from the Broadway musical "Wicked."

A standing ovation filled the room with electricity. Caitlin Cohn is the daughter of Richard Cohn, who served as chairman of the event gala committee. He is a partner in the Santa Ana law firm of Aitken, Aitken & Cohn. It was another example of families uniting for the cause, making the event more personal and more emotional.

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