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7th Annual Heart & Star dinner a success

The Wellness Community (TWC) held its 7th Annual Heart & Star Dinner on February 26th, at the Four Season. The affair brought in $240,000 to provide psychological and emotional support programs, completely free of charge, to adults with cancer and their loved ones. TWC-Greater Miami is part of an international organization that has been providing services for cancer patients and their loved ones for over 5 years locally and 25 years nationally. TWC’s new Executive Director, Lynn Mitchell, credited the success of the event to an incredible board of directors, sponsors and an amazing network of volunteers.

Mark Schumacher served as Master of Ceremonies for the program during dinner that featured Pamela Zakheim, President and Founder of The Wellness Community – Greater Miami with a presentation to Mehmet Bayraktar, as Champion of the Community. Also honored were Deborah Jay Curtin as Champion of the Human Spirit and Dr. Robert DerHagopian, as Champion of the Healing Spirit.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alina Romanowski (left) meets with Miami Council for International Visitors President Gavin Macphail, at the U.S. Department of State.

Gevy Thomas, Regional Manager – Southern States and Executive Vice President of Nordstrom, Inc. wrapped up the evening with an offer to match up to $20,000 for any pledges that came from the floor that evening. This terrific offer brought in two or three times that amount. It was especially touching as each person pledging was handed a mike and gave their personal reason for the pledge. All in all, it was a truly “feel good” evening with incredible food and a crowd of wonderfully committed people who care for others.

The evening was generously sponsored by Baptist Hospital , BNY Mellon Wealth Management, Luminaire, Mandarin Oriental Dellis Cay, America’s Media Group, Austin & Stanovich Risk Managers LLC, Bank of America, Lisa Behnke, M.D. & Manuel Suarez, M.D., The Buchwald Family, Carnival Corporation & plc, Ricardo Estape, M.D. & Nicholas Lambrou, M.D., Greenberg Traurig P.A. , Kallos & Carretero M.D., P.A., Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis LLP, KPMG LLP, Rudy Kranys, Morrison Brown Argiz & Farra, LLP, The Nunberg Family, OMEGA Risk Management LLC, Packman Neuwahl & Rosenberg, Margarita Pons, CPA, MBA, The Ramo Family, Shutts & Bowen LLP, SOL Sotheby’s International Realty, The Strochak Family & Autotag Management Group, Debra & Jeff Schottenstein , UM Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Grace Wang, MD & Steven Pabalan, MD PhD, Pamela and Richard Zakheim.

The Rotary Club of Coral Gables celebrated Leap Day (February 29) with a Sadie Hawkins party at Shake-A-Leg in Coconut Grove. This Rotary Fifth Friday party was organized by club member Sally Baumgartner and attracted more that 63 guests many of whom added to the fun by showing up in Lil Abner cartoon strip costumes. Spotted on the scene were Daisy Mae (Ana Fournaris) and Bullmouse (Ross Johnston). Aside from the social aspect of the evening, it also served as a way for Rotarians to learn more about the history and wonderful programs for disabled sailors provided by Shake-A-Leg. Among the many enjoying the event were Rotarians Arne Themmen, Ed Morris, Hadley Williams and Greg Martinez with their respective wives, as well as Josh Barnard, Wiley Hicks, Patricia Pardinas, Terry Long, Randy Groh and Susan Guttmann to mention a few. Wine and food lovers are in for a treat later this month with the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida Coral Gables Wine and Food Festival scheduled for March 27, 2008. Last year the wine and food extravaganza completely sold; so, you should buy your tickets early. The 100 Block of Giralda Avenue, between Ponce de Leon Boulevard and Galiano Street will be opened to foot traffic only for a special evening of philanthropy. Proceeds benefit The American Lung Association of Florida-South Area’s lung research, education and patient assistance programs and The International Bronchitis Center at The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

The exclusive VIP Reception Lounge (a sell out every year) will be held from 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. and the street festival will follow from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. There will be live music plus you’ll enjoy signature culinary samples from more than 30 of the finest area restaurants accompanied by fabulous “Wines from Around the World” courtesy of Republic National Distributing Company. Restaurants that will be participating are Bangkok Bangkok, Ben & Jerry’s, Cacao Restaurant, Christy’s, Chuao Chocolatier, Empeeke-Cheke –

Miccosukee Resort & Gaming, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Giardino Gourmet Salads, Hoja Nueva, located in the Westin Colonnade Coral Gables, Ideas Restaurant, Iguana Ranas Mexican Grill, Jimmy Johns, La Confradia Restaurant, La Dorada Restaurant, La Gastronomia Ristorante, Las Vegas Cuban Cuisine, Nexxt Café, Puchetta Restaurant, Quiznos-Coral Gables, Randazzo’s Little Italy, The Bar, The Grape at Village of Merrick Park, The Melting Pot Restaurant of Miami, The Palm, Two Sisters’ Restaurant at Hyatt Regency Coral Gables, Whole Foods Market, Yuga Restaurant and many more. In addition, they are adding a new feature, a Casino Gaming Lounge that will entertain and offer people the opportunity to win exciting prizes. Honorary Chairman, Marc Buoniconti, is the Development Advisor for the International Bronchitis Center and President for the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. Proceeds from this event will benefit the American Lung Association of Florida-South Area’s (ALAFSA) lung research, education, and patient assistance programs and the International Bronchitis Center at The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. For tickets go to www.coralgableswineandfood. com or call 954-524- 4657.

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Pictured at The Wellness Community 7th Annual Heart & Star Dinner are the Champion of the Healing Spirit, Dr. Robert DerHagopian, and TWC participant and cancer survivor Sylvia Reiser.

Annette Alvarez, Executive Director of the Miami Council for International Visitors (MCIV) informs us that this past February 14th, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alina Romanowski met with MCIV’s President Gavin Macphail at the U.S. Department of State. Macphail was attending a meeting of community-based organizations from across the country that arrange local professional meetings, cultural activities and home hospitality for current and potential foreign leaders visiting the United States under the auspices of the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.

Prominent alumni of the program include British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Finally, the Junior Orange Bowl Committee (JOBC) will be installing a new slate of officers at the organization’s annual Installation Dinner. This year’s affair will be held at Miami Springs Country Club on March 25. Former JOBC President, Coral Gables Mayor Don Slesnick will officiate over the swearing in ceremony. Now officers being installed are Jim Borgmann, President; Marti Bueso, President-Elect; Rich Naue, Vice President; Brian Seits, Vice President; Don Slesnick III, Treasurer; Enid Miguez, Secretary; and Corinne Steinbauer, Immediate Past President.

Until next week, keep making each day count.

Keeping up with what’s happening in our community is quite a challenge and I am certain there are many activities I miss. If you would like to submit information for this column, please your news via e-mail to galburns@ aol.com.

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