On Friday March 30, I participated in JDRF Bay Area’s annual fundraiser “Spring Fling” at The Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay. The 16-hour event begins with Golf in the morning, a Ladies Luncheon and Shopping Boutique in the afternoon and is finished-off with a glamorous evening bash which raised over $700,000 for Juvenile Diabetes Research on this night alone. Presented by US Bank, Allgress, The Chisholm, Colella and Lucas Families and The Praisner Family Foundation/Mia and Richard Moser; the evening was the quintessential California mix of cultures and casual elegance. In this spirit, three-time Emmy Award winning Raj Mathai was the Master of Ceremonies. The charismatic NBC Bay Area news anchor is a veteran key partner of the JDRF Spring Fling.
My party allies were none other than the ubiquitous PR darling, Hope Patricia Daly and the peninsula’s own Cristina Floriani Nangle. The evening was off to a merry start with free-flowing Mumm Champagne, Grey Goose Vodka cocktails and white and red wine selections from Napa Valley’s Wind Gap Wines. Executive Chef, Xavier Salomon and his culinary team put together a seriously delicious three-course dinner comprised of a sesame crusted Ahi Tuna and lightly smoked Salmon Sashimi salad, which was followed by a scrumptious balsamic-glazed filet of beef and finished-off with a sweet and tasty white chocolate passion banana dome. Unfortunately, photos of the actual menu items are unavailable at this time because I was busy socializing and snapping shots of all the well-dressed attendees, so when I finally made my way back to our table, the servers where collecting plates and I had to discreetly pester one to bring me my salad (the 1st course) which I did not want to skip. Much to my delight, I found an agreeable server and she immediately brought me the salad. It was gorgeous and worth the pestering.
As dinner was coming to an end, Spring Fling’s founding family, The Lucas‘ proceeded to describe their daughter Mary’s ongoing battle with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). Mary’s story is awe-inducing and filled with optimism and grace which has surely made her family into role models for other families and organizations battling similar long-term medical conditions. Mary’s speech was followed by yet another invigorating story, that of Shelby Payne‘s. Payne was diagnosed with T1D at age eleven yet in spite of having to deal with this complex disease, she is a pre-med student at Stanford University and is a member of Stanford Women’s Soccer Team, the National Champions of 2011. To call these young women inspiring is an understatement and such touching narratives yield the best reasons to get involved with these charitable events.
Last but not least was the much anticipated Live Auction. The auction had a range of fabulous items such as a Palm Springs getaway at The Parker, a Labradoodle Puppy, a Fisker Automotive and Napa Valley Film Festival Weekend and several other fantastic experiences. It also included a three-day styling/shopping consultation with yours truly, a small detail that made me extremely nervous as it was my first time at auction. Happily, I can report that a few very chic ladies decided to give me a warm welcome and my package went for $11,000. I was beat by the puppy who went for over $15,000 but then again, they get him for life. -Victor Vargas