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The Crowd: The Carousel Ball spins for a cause

April 04, 2013|By B.W. Cook
  • Christina Ferguson and Brian Jenkins support Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation at "Lighting The Way To A Cure" held at The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel.
Christina Ferguson and Brian Jenkins support Juvenile…

Some 30 years ago, my wife and I traveled to Denver for an annual gala hosted by Barbara and Marvin Davis, which they called "The Carousel Ball." Fast forward three decades and the Carousel Ball still unfolds annually, now in Beverly Hills with Barbara and committee at the helm.

Marvin, Denver oil man and former owner and chairman of 20th Century Fox Studios, passed away a number of years ago. The ball, which originated in their hometown of Denver, raised millions of dollars at a time when a charity event was considered a success raising $50,000. These were the Reagan Years, and the Davises' connections then and now brought in a formidable roster of Hollywood and Washington celebrities mixing in with many of the biggest names in corporate America.

That's the back story. The Carousel Ball was created to raise money to fund research and find a cure for type 1 juvenile diabetes. As with many causes backed by prominent Americans, there was a very personal motivation. The Davises' youngest child, a daughter, suffered from the disease. For a number of years back in the 1980s, Marvin would address his guests and tell them that the substantial money they had donated was going to find a cure within the next five years. That was more than 30 years ago, and there is still no cure.

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Last week in Orange County, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation held its annual fundraising gala at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel attracting 350 donors and netting an impressive $450,000 for type 1 diabetes research. The Davises were instrumental in creating national awareness for an insidious health issue that, today, has become something of a national epidemic. Groups such as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and its counterparts throughout the country, work tirelessly year-round raising much-needed funds that go to a variety of experimental scientific projects at such places as the National Institutes of Health as well as prominent clinics, drug companies and medical schools.

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