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The Crowd: The '20s roar again for diabetes research

April 11, 2014|By B.W. Cook
  • Honorees at the 2014 JDRF Dream Gala were Lara and Tom Giddings and Janet and Carl Nolet, Jr.
Honorees at the 2014 JDRF Dream Gala were Lara and Tom Giddings… (Ann Chatillon )

The 2014 Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF) Dream Gala was billed as "Let's Misbehave," and they certainly did.

More than 500 Orange County citizens dressed to impress in Roaring Twenties period costume and danced a wild Charleston to help raise crucial funds for diabetes research, in particular a cure for Type I diabetes. Organizers created a speakeasy theme, complete with antique claw-footed bathtubs filled with gin on ice. Disneyland's popular announcer, Bill Rogers, emceed the evening, which was dedicated to O.C. citizens Janet and Carl Nolet, Jr. and Lara and Tom Giddings.

Co-chaired by Julie Hellmers, Eric Seedman and John Stoner, with assistance from honorary chair John Giovannone, the March 29 party at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort was made possible by serious donors, including Newport's Mary and Dick Allen, Toni and Steve Berlinger, Ellen Darling and Alex Conti, Jackie and Norm Kallan, and Nancy and Larry Silverberg, to name only a few.

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Important corporate sponsors included ABP Capital, Black, Starr & Frost, Golden State Foods, Stoner Fox Law and Greenberg Traurig, again to name only a few. The fundraising effort included tremendous underwriting support combined with auction proceeds sold by auctioneer Jeff Stokes (including a Harry Winston ladies' watch valued at $40,000), plus an impressive $285,000 raised from generous guests putting their paddles in the air for the "fund a cure." On top of all that, funds raised were matched by donors Michelle Griffin, Tom Parker and others, resulting in phenomenal success for JDRF.

The St. Regis executive chef, Frederic Castan, joined celebrity guest chef Azmin Ghahreman in preparing a gourmet dinner, while the crowd enjoyed Jazz Age entertainment in keeping with the supper club theme. Spotted in the dinner crowd were Analisa and Bruce Albert, Terri and Doug Bender, Beth and Howard Bidna, Pat and David Lamb, Ronna and Bill Shipman, Liz and Steve Williams, Carol and Denis Crawford, Jacinta and Robert Loewen, Linda and Stathi Marcopulos, Marsha Besley-Connellan, and Sallie and Joe Black.

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