INside SD Report: Although breast cancer is a difficult subject, it is an important topic that has become the impetus for many wonderful charitable organizations and fundraising efforts to help fight the insidious disease. One such organization of note here in San Diego is Forman's Foundation - a non-profit established to not only help fund research to find a cure for breast cancer, but also help current breast cancer victims find a way to have badly needed early detection tests done to identify metastasizing breast cancer before spreading to other parts of the body - as happened with the founder's wife Tracy who sadly lost her 5-year battle in 2008.
Mark Forman's experience watching his wife fight cancer, along with others at the City of Hope hospital, inspired him to "do his part" and establish a foundation that could assist in spreading information about the disease while also raising money to find a cure through continued research. One such method the Forman's Foundation uses to raise funds is through celebrity-supported events like one I recently had the privilege of attending.
The Event: 2nd Annual Forman's Foundation Celebrity Gala and Fund Raising Dinner
The Scoop: Nearly 400 came out for this star-studded gala, dinner, and auction held on a Saturday evening at the Rancho Bernardo Inn's Aragon lawn and ballroom areas. The event commenced at 4:00 pm with an indoor/outdoor cocktail reception that not only featured Jane Seymour's amazing artwork, but also the beloved actress herself. Jane was more than gracious during her "meet and greet" book signing with guests, while her husband James Keach also duly mixed and mingled on-site.
The cocktail reception also featured a no host bar by Napa Valley wineries, live entertainment by musician Steve Langdon, a selection of $300 Maui Jim sunglasses on sale for $150, and a awe-inspiring display of brand new and classic cars from Mercedes Benz USA - the title sponsor of the event. Throughout the cocktail hour guests had the opportunity to bid on silent auction items that included an impressive array of wine, dining and movie and sports memorabilia. While many were quite notable, my favorites were the Lance Armstrong jersey, one of John Wayne's rifles, an electric guitar signed by U2's Bono, and a copy of Joe Dimagio and Marilyn Monroe's actual marriage certificate.
Following the cocktail reception was a plated dinner in the ballroom, which kicked off with opening remarks given by Lynda Martin of San Diego 6 News who also served as master of ceremonies for the event. The celebrities in attendance or otherwise supporting the foundation were then introduced, with a long and diverse list that included Kevin Sorbo, actor from Hercules; the Bella Twins from the WWE; Tony Gwynn, baseball Hall of Fame; Debbie Meyer, U.S. gold medalist; Tony "The Tiger" Lopez, world champion boxer; and an impressive list of others.
While dining on salad first course and a chicken and fish piccata-style entrée with a choice of red or white wine, a poignant keynote address about Tracy and the foundation at large was delivered by Beth Morgante, Vice President, CFRE...Grossmont Hospital Foundation, followed by an incredibly moving video about Tracy, her fight and the foundation's mission produced by former ABC News Correspondent Phoebe Chongchua.
This presentation was followed up by a AMAZING live "Rhythm & Hue" performance by artist David Garibaldi who created no less than 4 large pop-art masterpieces in mere minutes to the shock and awe of everyone in attendance (which, I'm happy to say, were auctioned off that evening for around $10,000 each). Following Garibaldi's stunning performance, a decidedly entertaining live auction ensued with Russ T. Nailz of The Big Biz Show, who did an outstanding job of garnering top-dollar for the items on the block.
As a fruit tart dessert course was being enjoyed, the crowd was treated to huge laughs thanks to a live performance from Craig "The Love Master" Shoemaker - during which it was abundantly clear why he was named the American Comedy Awards "Comedian of the Year." When his set ended, as if all of this were not enough, the crowd was then treated to a live performance by country music's The Nick Nicholson Band, which jammed the night away. The action-packed event wrapped at 11 p.m.
But, the fundraising fun continued the following Sunday with the 2nd Annual Forman's Foundation Celebrity Golf Classic at San Diego County's top-rated Maderas Golf Club, with each golfer receiving a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses.. Nick Lowery, Hall of Fame kicker for the Kansas City Chiefs, was the featured speaker at the golf awards reception. Professional golfers, Debbie Dahmer and Vince Howell, were also on the golf course to help and challenge the participants.
The Bottom Line: To directly benefit those in the fight against breast cancer, proceeds from the Forman's Foundation's Celebrity Gala and Fund Raising Dinner event go to the Sharp Grossmont Hospital's David & Donna Long Center for Cancer Treatment and to the City of Hope - a fully functioning hospital as well as a cancer research, drug development, and clinical trial facility.
The 411: Tickets to the dinner gala cost $150 per person, or full tables for 12 are available for $1,800, or $2,500 with seating and advertising perks. With the opportunity to wine and dine with a host of celebrities and enjoy such fine entertainment, this annual event is well worth the price of admission...and more.
More information about this annual Forman's Foundation event, and a link to make online donations to the organization, may be found at www.FormansFoundation.org.
Merilee Kern is JustLuxé.com's "The Luxe List" Executive Review Editor. She scours the luxury marketplace for new and captivating product, service and travel "musts." Submissions are accepted via e-mail at Merilee@JustLuxe.com. View all of Merilee's Luxe List articles from here (scroll to page bottom) and follower her on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/LuxeListEditor.