From invitations to anchor key ring table favors, the theme was obvious, the frivolity contagious, the suggestion “Live Life Like You Mean It” well taken.
Intent on guaranteeing the success of the 2013 Bucket List Bash American Cancer Society fundraiser, staged at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort on March 1, 365 supporters crowded the pre-dinner reception while enjoying wine offered at several bars and passed about along with hors d’oeuvres by tray-bearing, nautically uniformed wait staff.
Andrew Stamps’ Naples Freestyle band musically energized the partygoers as they checked out nine displays of distinctive silent auction items, such as “Ahoy Mates” for a meandering journey through the mangroves via kayak; opportunities to savor the flavor of other Ritz-Carltons around the U.S.; and a classic, Italian-designed cocktail ring entitled “Spuma.” All drew eager bidders.
The gathering also was a chance to catch up with others not yet seen during the busy social season.
Linda Malone wore a baby blue, maribou-enhanced sweater from Marissa’s. Denise Cobb chose a black, mink-trimmed shawl she had found back when Nordstrom was just opening in Naples.
Event emcee and auctioneer Scott Robertson started out in a tux with yellow bow tie, vest and cummerbund, but ended the evening having auctioned off even his golden suspenders for $1,000.
“Naples is one of most philanthropic communities with which I’m associated,” he said. “I do events all over the U.S. and hereabouts, fundraising is going extremely well.”
Brandie Dixon LaFond was gala chairwoman and Liz Jessee, a four-year cancer survivor, honorary chairwoman.
“We’ve been seven months in the planning and working, but it’s been a labor of love. So many are affected by cancer and I’m so very proud to be affiliated with such a worthy cause,” Lafond said.
A performance by students of Dance Arts by Maria entertained as guests seated themselves for the three-course dinner. Through their Washington, D.C.-area based Windows Catering Company, Carol and Henry Dinardo were responsible for interior décor throughout.
During dinner, special guest speaker Gary Danielson, CBS football analyst, chose to take action against cancer and fight back by sharing a personal story.
“When cancer strikes a loved one, the sadness, fear and helplessness can become all consuming,” he said.
Kennedy Ray, graduating FGCU student, recipient of the Kathryn A. “Katie” Doerr Memorial Award and herself a cancer survivor who lost her mother this past year, spoke movingly in asking for support, “to help keep more moms alive by helping us Finish the Fight!”
Doerr, co-chairwoman of the first Bucket List Bash, ultimately lost her 18-month battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Robertson successfully auctioned off four travel experiences, a Roberto Coin necklace and items of his wearing apparel for in excess of $50,000. He also solicited direct, fund-a-need donations totaling $153,000.
Director Kim Azar-Anderson, American Cancer Society Collier Unit director of leadership, provided an estimate that net event proceeds are “north” of $475,000. The amount reflects ticket sales at $375 per person, auction income, sponsorships and miscellaneous donations.