Love and Hope Gala Brings Mardi Gras to South Florida for a Diabetes Cure

Love and Hope Executive Chairmen Sandy and Sid Levy
Hundreds experienced the fun of Bourbon Street right here in South Florida at the Love and Hope Magical Mardi Gras gala at the Diplomat Beach Resort, February 18, 2017. Spearhead by local philanthropist and Love and Hope Executive Chairman Sandra Levy, the festive evening and preview party helped raise more than $400,000 for the cure-focused work of the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine.

After a red-carpet entrance, pictures and a cocktail reception, a jazz band playing “When the Saints Come Marching In” led guests into the ballroom – where they were greeted by Mardi Gras jugglers, dancers, a man on stilts, a room decorated with all the charms of New Orleans throughout, and a silent auction – which included an exclusive all-inclusive getaway to experience the Big Easy in person, and one-of-a-kind items signed by several celebrities and athletes.

The program, led by Mistress of Ceremonies CBS 4 Miami Anchor Rudabeh Shahbazi, started with a video message from Love and Hope International Chairman Barry Gibb, who for the first time in years wasn’t able to attend the ball due to several tributes being held out of town in his and the Bee Gees’ honor. He thanked all guests, on his and his family’s behalf, for helping raise important funds for the DRI. Shortly after, DRI Foundation President and CEO Joshua Rednik addressed the crowd, and then introduced University of Miami President Dr. Julio Frenk, who said a few words on stage about the event’s contribution to progress at the DRI. During the program, Shahbazi then recognized the following honorees for their commitment to helping the DRI find a cure for diabetes: Honorary Chairman Barbara Shapiro, Love Honorees Dr. Camillo and Patrizia Ricordi, and Hope Honorees Dr. Marc and Valerie Fishman.

Marcia Shapiro and Honorary Chairman Barbara Shapiro

The event also included a 5-course meal, Perfect Vodka shots luge made of ice, lots of fun Mardi Gras masks, hats and beads, and a Warren Henry Auto selfie station where you could pose with a new convertible Jaguar. The night came to a close with guests dancing the night away to the sounds of The Chase Band, and parting gifts generously sponsored by Saks Fifth Avenue Bal Harbour.

Special thanks are extended to other sponsors: Electra America, Mr. Barry Smith, Rick and Margarita Tonkinson, Greenberg Traurig, Haute Living, Neiman Marcus Bal Harbour, Marky’s, Holland & Knight, The Diplomat Beach Resort, and Xquisite Events

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