Tropical Nights 10th Anniversary

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Jack and Natasha Lowell, Dr. Michael Alessandri Jack and Natasha Lowell, Dr. Michael Alessandri

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Almost 600 supporters attended the 10th annual Tropical Nights benefiting the University of Miami - Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (UM-NSU CARD) held at the InterContinental Miami; over $300,000 was raised to support the CARD program. The success of this event was critical to the agency’s survival. The annual signature event is the major fundraiser for the organization, and its proceeds fund free programs, services and research initiatives for nearly 6,500 individuals with autism, their families, and the professionals who serve them.

The Master of Ceremonies for Tropical Nights was Jay Rokeach the “Voice of Mark Light Field” and official scorer for the University of Miami baseball team. This year, three of UM-NSU CARD's most loyal and generous supporters were honored; Our 2012 Cruz-Whitehurst Advocacy Award honorees were Robert & Patricia Cambó, longtime community autism advocates and supporters of CARD. Dr. Diane Adreon, founding director of UM-NSU CARD, received the CARD Community Leadership Award for her 19 years of service to the South Florida autism community. Our Featured Artist was Haley Moss, a 17 year old accomplished artist and author with autism who has worked closely with Dr. Adreon for many years. Awards were presented by Dr. Michael Alessandri, Executive Director of UM-NSU CARD. Tom & Marie-Ilene Whitehurst and Ralph & Michelle Cruz, parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders chaired this year’s event.

Live music for dancing was provided by Music by Varon. Eddie Cutillas from Bacardi USA was in attendance and generously provided a full bar for the guests. Handmade treats baked locally at Lee and Marie’s Cakery were given to each attendee as appreciation gifts. The auction committee helped secure nearly 200 items for the silent and live auction including Miami Marlins and Miami Heat packages, vacation trips to Italy, and the Caribbean. A Vespa and 7 Day Royal Caribbean Cruise for two to Alaska was also raffled at the event. Kent Creative created a new UM-NSU CARD video, which was unveiled the same evening.

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