It is one of the most passionate charity events on the Orange Coast. The Muscular Dystrophy Assn.'s annual Gift of Hope Gala raised more than $430,000 at its 16th annual celebration earlier this summer.
Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens was honored as the MDA's Woman of the Year.
More than 250 dedicated donors, led by event Chairman Frank DiBella and National Goodwill Ambassador and performer Abbey Umali, converged upon the Island Hotel in Newport Beach to raise funds needed to sponsor MDA programs, most notably its Summer Camp programs. Umali wowed the crowd by singing a Rascal Flatts' song, which helped raise the temperature in the ballroom that translated into donations topping $130,000 for youth camping programs.
Super O.C. donor S. Paul Musco and his classy wife, Marybelle, added another $20,000 to the summer camp tally. The Muscos have been closely involved with MDA for years, supporting the efforts of friend DiBella, as well as the lifelong campaign of another friend, entertainer Jerry Lewis.