04/19/17 Human Interest
Around the World with St. Jude
Two patient testimonials took Around the World gala guests from tears to cheers for the medical care provided by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Adorable Ayden, 7, who survived 17 surgeries before age 1, sang out his gratitude, helping co-chairs Mike and Gennie Swenson and her parents, honorary co-chairs Tom and Holly Malouf, raise $300,000 for the Memphis hospital where no family receives a bill for treatment and where the pediatric cancer survival rate is up to 80 percent. Anchors Wendy Ryan and Denis Phillips of WFTS-Ch. 28 emceed, while DeLeon Entertainment kept the 500 guests dancing at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina on April 8....
04/19/17 Human Interest
On the four-year anniversary of the auto accident that took the life of her daughter Amanda, Laurie Pierce went to Lakeland to dance.
The grief was no less profound, but unlike in previous years, Pierce had a reason to get out of bed.
Garrett Leopold was nervous but happy to join her that March afternoon. Twirling through their choreographed lesson, the young man leaned closer so his dance partner could hear the beat of his heart....
04/12/17 Human Interest
Cheers for Charity
Lutz, not Napa, set the scene for Cheers for Charity, a lavish wine dinner in support of Ron and Tami Broadrick's family foundation, served in the Italian Cypress-lined driveway of the mansion they designed to showcase their vast art collection. The 100 guests toured the galleries and living spaces of Villa dei miei Sogni, oohing and aahing at every turn before sitting down to poached lobster and pork belly appetizers; mushroom ravioli; shredded duck confit and waygu veal cheeks prepared by Grassroots Catering. Saturday's temperature couldn't have been better for dining al fresca, but there was a fleece blanket on every female guest's seat, should they feel a chill....
04/05/17 Human Interest
A Night at the Tropicana
Luana and Alex Paloma hosted A Night at the Tropicana to further pediatric oncologist Dr. Cameron Tebbi's development of a childhood leukemia vaccine. "Prevention, not cure... we're very close," he said at the Latin nightclub-themed benefit in memory of his patient, Luana's little brother, Lawrence A. Martucci. Since 2012, the foundation named for him has donated more than $100,000 to pediatric cancer research through the 1Voice Foundation. After nearly 50 years of patient care, Dr. Tebbi will work in the lab full-time starting June 1....
03/30/17 Human Interest
DeBartolo Family Foundation All Star Charity Gala
If there's ever a Gala Hall of Fame, the DeBartolo Family Foundation's All Star Charity Gala is a shoo-in. Saturday's score: elegant Tony Bennett entertaining 800 fired-up guests, including 70 athletes, actors, musicians and random "stars," — too many to name here — dining on osso bucco at candlelit tables topped with exotic florals at the Marriott Waterside. The lovely Strings Unlimited opened dinner; DJ Michelle Pesce spun down the after-party....
03/23/17 Human Interest
TAMPA —- The first woman to be on a box of Wheaties, tiny Mary Lou Retton, overcame tremendous odds to win America's first Olympic Gold Medal in gymnastics in 1984.
Cheering a highlight reel as if it were a live performance, 800 guests rose to the familiar Olympic Fanfare theme song at the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida's annual Women of Distinction luncheon Tuesday.
"I like watching it, too," said the 4-foot-9 gymnast who took home gold in the individual all-around. "I look so big when it's projected on a big screen."...
03/21/17 Human Interest
Stop, Drop and Roll the Dice
Retired Tampa Fire captain and president of the Tampa Firefighters Museum Bill Wade welcomed department newbies, retirees and other supporters to Stop, Drop and Roll the Dice where they placed their bets to better the 106-year-old station in downtown Tampa. Blackjack, roulette and poker tables fit between exhibits and a buffet of Cubans and empanadas, fruit and sweets from Catering by the Family. Guests turned their play money winnings into tickets to win all sorts of things, including an AR-15 pistol donated by Blue Collar Guns. Money raised at the March 10 benefit goes to museum maintenance, except the hot-selling Women of Fire Rescue 2018 calendar, sold by a few of the models themselves that night, to help out Camp Hopetake and other charities....
03/20/17 Human Interest
Suncoast Credit Union Gasparilla International Film Festival
Actors, writers, producers, directors and the audiences they seek converged at the 11th annual Gasparilla International Film Festival, opening March 2 at Tampa Theatre and continuing throughout the week at AMC Classic Centro Ybor with nearly 150 features, shorts and documentaries, panel discussions and parties. Among the highlights: Actor Patrick Wilson picked up a Career Achievement Award for Hollywood and Broadway roles ranging from Phantom to Fargo. "I feel like it's more of a halfway award," he said. "With thirtysome films, I'm just getting going." Wilson's proud St. Pete entourage included parents Mary K and retired WTVT-Ch. 13 anchor John Wilson, brothers Paul and Mark, their wives and kids. "I call them the Von Trapps of Tampa Bay," board member and longtime friend Frank Robertson said of the talented family during the Q &A he led. ...
03/08/17 Human Interest
Dream Keepers Ball
Liz Kennedy and a junior league committee dreamed up the Child Abuse Council in 1976, beginning with parenting education in a trailer parked behind Tampa General Hospital. In three months Paul D'agostino was executive director, expanding programs to keep children safe and thriving. Re-named Champions for Children and led by Brian McEwen since 2012, the agency celebrated "40 Years of Keeping the Dream" at the second Dream Keepers Ball on Saturday. Dining at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, 200 guests viewed videos of kids and parents helped through the decades, tuned to the music of each era. They bid on auction offerings to continue the dream for 40,000 people a year. Lucky Michael Shimberg won the drawing for a week's stay at Ron and Sherry Sacino's villa in San Sano, Italy. ...
03/08/17 Human Interest
TAMPA - All year long, the Chiselers, Tampa's preeminent historic preservationists, dig, sift and sort through thousands of "oldies but goodies" to sell at Saturday's fundraiser, the 54th annual Chiselers' Market.
Now they're loaded and ready, filling the main floor of the University of Tampa's historic Plant Hall with estate sale-quality donations — dishes, glassware, silver, jewelry, art, books and furniture — at garage sale prices....
03/05/17 Human Interest
Perfect springtime temps and a tempting array of artwork kept crowds circulating at downtown Tampa's Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park throughout the weekend during the 47th annual Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts.
Thousands converged on the waterfront Saturday and Sunday , roving between rows of 235 artists’ displays in a dozen mediums: painting, photography, sculpture, glass, ceramics, jewelry, fiber, wood and mixed media....
03/02/17 Human Interest
12th annual WEDU Be More Awards
Discovering all sorts of non-profits is a highlight of the WEDU Be More Awards luncheon, like learning about Be More Involved/Outspoken Volunteer Melanie Salava of the Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation and Be More Entrepreneurial/Engaged Philanthropist Kelly Kowall of My Warrior's Place.
The PBS station named 14 categories of honorees Feb. 23, such as Be More Informed, Entertaining, Relevant, Inspired. Be More Unstoppable, the highest honor and a $2,500 grant, went to the Tampa Hillsborough Action Plan. "I'm speechless," said Jeanette Bradley, CEO of the minority-based catalyst for economic, education, housing, police and community relations initiatives....
03/02/17 Human Interest
TAMPA — Gasparilla Festival of the Arts president Adam Raschke checks off a list of the outdoor exhibition's offerings this weekend.
• More than 100,000 people eyeing and buying artwork.
• Wide range of media displayed.
• Outstanding caliber of exhibitors, 235 out of 700 applicants.
• Cash prizes exceeding $75,000, including $15,000 Raymond James Financial Best of Show award....
02/24/17 Human Interest
HYDE PARK — Pull back the curtains on some of south Tampa's most distinguished architecture at the 15th annual Historic Hyde Park Neighborhood Association Home Tour. Visitors will be welcomed Saturday (March 4) at seven homes and two outdoor backyard spaces between Richardson Place and South Fremont Avenue.
The roster of residences showcases Bungalow, Mediterranean and Spanish Revival styles, some built more than 100 years ago, some modernized for today's lifestyles....
02/22/17 Human Interest
20th annual Cattle Baron's Ball
American Cancer Society supporters ponied up to ride a mechanical bull, win a diamond necklace and dedicate a quilt square on the Wall of Hope, all adding to the $500,000 raised at the 20th annual Cattle Baron's Ball led by co-chairs Lisa Simington and Paul Scharf in Water Works Park on Saturday. Logistics chairman John Mistretta saved the rainy day with bales of hay and a giant tent where the boots-and-blue jeans crowd drank tequila and ate Ulele's grilled oysters, paella from the Columbia and burgers from Goody Goody's. Southern Train kept them on their feet and auctioneer Jason Alpert kept their hands in the air, collecting $120,000 exclusively for pediatric cancer research. Survivor and spokesman Cole Eicher, 15, personified the reason to keep those funds coming....