Diabetes Research Institute Hits the Jackpot

at the Love & Hope High Rollers Night

Alice Rodd O’Rourke, Alitza Weiss, Caroline Weiss,
Dr. Camillo Ricordi and Sandra Levy

It was a night of prizes, surprises, and fun at the Love & Hope High Rollers Night, which benefited the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) and its mission of finding a cure. Held at the iconic Nobu Hotel Eden Roc Miami Beach on Saturday, March 9, the casino-themed event raised nearly $400,000!

Approximately 300 of South Florida’s crème de la crème walked the red carpet into a lavish cocktail reception, where they mingled with celebs like Sir Barry Gibb and his lovely wife, Lady Linda Gibb, who serve as Love & Hope’s International Chairmen, and baseball great Ron Darling, who serves on the DRI Foundation’s national board. Las Vegas-style showgirls decked in red feathers and sparkling beads then beckoned the crowd to the ballroom for dinner and dancing.

Executive Chairman Sandra Levy welcomed guests, then turned it over to WPLG Local 10 morning news anchor Jacey Birch, mistress of ceremonies, who thanked the evening’s top sponsors: the Caroline and Alitza Weiss Family Foundation, National Chairman Kathy Simkins and the Simkins Family Foundation, and Barbara Shapiro. But it was Alitza Weiss who delivered the evening’s biggest surprise when she announced that they would be doubling their donation to the DRI to a total of $1 million!

A spot-on Marilyn Monroe impersonator, accompanied by “Elvis Presley,” took the stage to perform “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.” It was the perfect lead-in to the evening’s auction, which boasted a signed Roberto Coin ladies’ white gold and diamond bracelet valued at $35,000, among other fabulous items. Feeling lucky (and generous!), attendees moved into the casino to play blackjack, craps, roulette, and slots—all for chances to win designer-named prizes and one-of-a-kind treasures.

Other sponsors who made this evening possible: Sandra Levy, The Tonkinson Foundation, Sharon Gustafson Florescue and the Florescue Family Foundation, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Joseph Lubeck and American Landmark, Barry Smith, Maurice Greenberg and The Starr Foundation, Roberta & Harvey Chaplin, Betty Madigan Brandt, Kathryn Chesler, Marilyn Fellman, Eleanor Kosow, Helene & Mark Kovens, Lenore Toby Simmons, Jill Viner, Dennis Cunningham and Perfect Vodka, J.P. Morgan Securities, Town of Golden Beach and Saks Fifth Avenue.

For more information, contact the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation at 954-964-4040 or visit DiabetesResearch.org.