A Colorful Evening for Friends of the Diabetes Research Institute at the 37th Annual Love and Hope Ball

Performers T.G. Sheppard, Kelly Lang and Barry Gibb,
Love and Hope International Chairman

Once again the elegant ladies of Love and Hope impressed more than 500 guests with stunning décor and thrilling surprises at the Love and Hope Ball held at the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa. Now in its 37th year, this extraordinary black-tie gala, combined with November’s Preview Party, raised more than $800,000 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, provided a grand finale to the event by regaling the delighted audience with an unexpected performance.

Headlining the scheduled concert was Country Music Award winner T.G. Sheppard, who has had 17 number one hits in his career. His wife and fellow singer/songwriter, the lovely and talented Kelly Lang, served as special guest performer. In accordance with the theme, A Colorful Evening, the show enveloped a rainbow’s spectrum of musical genres including soft rock, traditional pop, country, big band and more. Sheppard elicited screams from the lively audience when he made the announcement that guests of the Love and Hope Ball wish for each year. “And now we are honored to welcome our good friend to the stage,” Sheppard said. “He is one of music’s greatest treasures and biggest icons of all time. He’s Barry Gibb!”

International Chairman Linda Gibb with her grandchildren,
Lucas and Nina

Gibb began with “To Love Somebody” and then dedicated “Words” to his wife, Linda, who also serves as International Chairman of Love and Hope. After Gibb and Lang sang “Islands in the Stream,” the three entertainers bid their cheering fans a good night.

During the dinner program, Mistress of Ceremonies Lisa Petrillo gave tribute to “the two ladies who make this annual Ball one of the most special events in the city,” Life Chairman Sonja Zuckerman and Executive Chairman Sandra Levy. She also recognized the celebrities in attendance: actor Alan Thicke; former MLB pitcher and DRI board member Ron Darling; 12-time MLB All-Star Mike Piazza; MLB third baseman Danny Valencia; LPGA player and DRI Patient Ambassador Michelle McGann; and sexologist Dr. Ruth Westheimer.

Accolades continued when Petrillo introduced the other stars of the evening, the Gala honorees: Honorary Chairmen Sharon Gustafson and Barry Florescue; Love Honorees Sandy and Senator Paul Steinberg; Hope Honorees Pamula and James Schlesinger, Elizabeth Romero, and Kathie Schlesinger; the first-ever Community Leader Honorees Donna and George Zoley of The GEO Group; Preview Party Hostess Isabel May; and Gold Star Shirley Harris. National Chairman Kathy Simkins and Gala sponsor Saks Fifth Avenue Bal Harbour were also recognized.

Reflecting the affair’s vibrant theme, the Grand Ballroom was decked out in brilliant hues of teal, pink, green, purple and red. Love and Hope’s signature roses lit up the walls, and multi-colored confetti cascaded over guests following Sonja Zuckerman’s time-honored phrase, “Let’s eat, drink and have a ball!”

Executive Chairmen Sandy & Sid Levy

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 diabetes research, pioneering many of the techniques used in islet transplantation. The DRI is now building upon these achievements by bridging cell-based therapies with emerging technologies to restore insulin production. For the millions of families already affected by diabetes, the Diabetes Research Institute is the best hope for a cure. Visit DiabetesResearch.org or call 800-321-3437 for more information.