Barry Gibb Rocks Crowd at Sold Out 40th Annual Love and Hope Ball
Benefiting the Diabetes Research Institute
Hot off the heels of his “Saturday Night Live” cameo and U.S. media tour, music legend Barry Gibb performed an exclusive concert for a sold-out crowd of nearly 800 people at the 40th Anniversary Love and Hope Ball, which benefited the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI), at the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, on February 15. The event was held in honor of Life Chairman Sonja Zuckerman for her four decades of extraordinary dedication to Love and Hope. Executive Chairman Sandra Levy and DRI Director Dr. Camillo Ricordi were also honored for their efforts to help find a cure for type 1 diabetes. Gibb’s performance at the black-tie gala – combined with November’s Preview Party – helped raise nearly $1 million this year.
Gibb treated guests to a spectacular, full-length concert, during which he took time to recognize the important work of the Love and Hope Committee and the DRI, reminding guests of their critical role in helping to find a cure for type 1 diabetes.
“They work very, very hard. So, let’s not forget that’s why we’re all here, and that is to raise money for diabetes research,” said Gibb. “And hopefully one day there will be a cure, but it won’t happen without all of your help.”
Gibb then continued to rock the crowd with a little help from his own family – paying tribute to his late brothers Andy, Maurice and Robin – which included an emotional duet of “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” with Maurice’s daughter, Samantha Gibb, and a powerhouse solo performance by Gibb’s son, Stephen, of “On Time,” a song written by Maurice. Other members of the Gibb family watched from the front row, including Gibb’s wife, Linda, who has served with him as International Chairman of Love and Hope and to whom he dedicated a special performance of the song “Words.”
The 90-minute concert – which had guests dancing nonstop from beginning to end – featured hits like “More than a Woman,” “Jive Talkin’,” “To Love Somebody,” and “You Should Be Dancing,” and ended with Gibb giving a poignant rendition of “Immortality,” which he said was the best song he and his brothers felt they had ever written. After the stage dimmed, Gibb came back for an encore performance of the song “Tragedy,” before thanking the crowd and taking time to greet guests and pose for pictures.
Prior to the concert, guests were treated to a cocktail reception featuring contemporary décor, which included lavish centerpieces with bright red and pink fresh roses, and tables adorned with elegant silver-sequined cloths that made the room sparkle, plus Love and Hope’s traditional rose and heart ice sculptures. After greeting old friends among hors d’ oeuvres and martini bars, attendees were ushered into the Grand Ballroom. The candle-lit tables set a romantic tone throughout the ballroom, which featured lush centerpieces adorned with fuchsia, red and yellow flowers, all while the band Soul Survivor warmed up guests and got the party started performing live renditions of timeless and top 40 hits.
Mistress of Ceremonies Belkys Nerey, Emmy Award-winning journalist and anchor of WSVN News, greeted guests and acknowledged Zuckerman, Levy and Dr. Ricordi during the dinner program. She also recognized the following honorees for their commitment to helping the DRI find a cure for diabetes: Honorary Chairman Shirley Harris, Anniversary Honorees Janie and Ronald Kupferman, Love Honorees Barbara and Norman Shapiro, Hope Honorees Mercedes and David Carlson, Ruby Star Honorees Sandy and Senator Paul Steinberg and Gold Star Honoree Sheila Wohl, as well as National
Chairman Kathy Simkins. Nerey also thanked event sponsors: The GEO Group, Global Trend Alert, Landmark Trust, Neiman Marcus, Perfect Vodka, Margarita and Rick Tonkinson, and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Zuckerman concluded the program by uttering her time-honored phrase, “Let’s eat, drink and have a ball.”
The dinner and show were followed by a lively after party that featured a popular DJ and a decadent Viennese table filled with endless amounts of desserts – including several ice cream flavors, bananas foster, panna cotta with raspberry drizzle, macaroons, Starbucks coffee and more. The fun-filled evening came to a close with guests dancing until the wee hours of the night.
The Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine leads the world in cure-focused research. As the largest and most comprehensive research center dedicated to curing diabetes, the DRI is aggressively working to develop a biological cure by restoring natural insulin production and normalizing blood sugar levels without imposing other risks. Researchers have already shown that diabetes can be reversed through islet transplantation, with some study patients living without the need for insulin injections for more than a decade. The Institute is now building upon these promising outcomes by developing the DRI BioHub, an integrated “mini organ” that mimics the native pancreas, containing thousands of insulin- producing cells that sense blood sugar levels and produce the precise amount of insulin needed in real time. The Diabetes Research Institute and Foundation were created for one reason – to cure diabetes – which is and will continue to be its singular focus until that goal is reached. For the millions of children and adults affected by diabetes, the Diabetes Research Institute is the best hope for a cure. For more information, please visit DiabetesResearch.org or call 800-321-3437.