On the heels of the most romantic day of the year came the most romantic night for more than 500 guests of the Love and Hope Ball. Themed An Evening of Dance and Romance, the 34th annual black-tie gala was held at the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa on February 16. In combination with the Love and Hope Preview Party in November, this fabulous affair raised more than $1 million for the cure-focused work of the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
Musical legend Barry Gibb, who serves as the fundraising group’s International Chairman along with his wife of 27 years, Linda, quoted a National Geographic from 1930, which stated, “There are a million diabetics in the U.S. today… We can either put up a courageous fight or surrender.” Continuing in his own words, Gibb said, “Today, 78 years later, we are dealing with more than 21 million Americans with diabetes. It takes a committee like this one, and it takes people like those at the DRI, to fight this battle.”
Mimicking the long-time dedication of their parents, the Gibb children, Stephen and Gloria, Ashley and Therese, Travis and Stacey, Michael, and Ali Gibb, showed their heartfelt support of the cause as they debuted as the first Young Society Honorees.
Mr. Miami Beach Michael Aller, the evening’s emcee, recognized all of the event’s honorees, including Humanitarian Honoree Sherman Simon, Honorary Chairmen Serena and Leon Simkins, Love Honoree Shirley Harris, Hope Honorees Carmen Alexander Printup and Michael Alexander, Cocktail Reception Hosts Sandy and Senator Paul Steinberg, Silver Star Florence Frank, and Preview Party Underwriter Isabel May. Golden Beach Police Chief Jim Skinner then presented the key to the town of Golden Beach to Executive Chairmen Sandra and Sid Levy, as he proclaimed that the next day would bear their names in Golden Beach. The festivities continued as Life Chairman Sonja Zuckerman announced her time-honored phrase, “Let’s eat, drink and have a ball!”
Prior to the awards ceremony, guests passed through deep magenta-colored curtains adorned with fanciful, white orchids and classic red roses to enter an elegant, yet lively cocktail reception. Decked out party-goers nibbled on exquisite hors d’oeuvres, sipping champagne and martinis, and mingling until they were whisked into the magnificent Grand Ballroom where they were enveloped by an even more dramatic setting. Chic black table settings contrasted towering, contemporary, white rose ball centerpieces. Dueling orchestras, Debbie Taylor and Standing Ovation and the Marlow Rosado Orchestra, entertained from both sides of the room, and couples danced around a garden, complete with fountain. Beautifully arranged on pedestals, an exclusive silent auction tempted guests to bid on unique designer handbags, jewelry and artwork. Models displayed a collection of dazzling jewelry from Neiman Marcus Bal Harbour, and La Mystique Dancers kept the dance floor alive during dinner. Beginning with caviar chilled in heart-shaped ice and ending with dark chocolate sculptures of guitars and saxophones, even the decadent meal reflected the evening’s sentimental and musically-inspired theme.
The Diabetes Research Institute, a center of excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is a recognized world leader in cure-focused research. Since its inception in the early 1970s, the DRI has made significant contributions to the field of type 1 diabetes research, pioneering many of the techniques used in islet transplantation. From innovations in islet isolation and transplant procedures to advances in cell biology and immunology, the DRI is now harnessing the power of emerging technologies to develop new cell-based therapies to restore insulin production. For the millions of families already affected by diabetes who are looking to the world of science for answers, the Diabetes Research Institute is the best hope for a cure.
For more information, contact the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation at 954.964.4040, 1-800-321-3437 or visit www.diabetesresearch.org.