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Seen The Rainbow Gala

Monday, April 14, 2003

By Marylynn Uricchio, Post-Gazette SEEN Editor

From the feather boas that were draped around the necks of some 700 guests to the banners that fluttered from the ceiling and the lights that bathed the walls, the 2003 Rainbow Gala in support of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation was one colorful affair.

Now in its 11th year, the benefit has raised more than $3.5 million to fund a cure for a disease that can be devastating. Saturday night, the few quiet spots outside of the Pittsburgh Hilton ballroom were filled with parents on cell phones, calling home to check their child's blood sugar level. That vigilance is matched by the determination to make a diabetic child's life as normal as possible, and the hope that a cure is somewhere just over the rainbow.

Ron Violi, president and CEO of Children's Hospital, was this year's honoree. He was presented with his award by Pitt chancellor Mark Nordenberg and PNC Bank president Sy Holzer, who served as corporate co-chairs. JDRF board president Dick Tito welcomed the guests, and WTAE's Sally Wiggin emceed the evening (she's also a member of the JDRF board). A large silent auction that maxed out early made way for a live auction after dinner, an adventurous and delicious offering of vegetable timbale with couscous, grilled shrimp and filet mignon and brie cheesecake with a side of chocolate mousse cake. Dancing to Encore followed, and so did the fun orchestrated by another board member, Bonnie Walker Chirigos of Creative Affairs.

Gala co-chairs Heidi Brandon (with Daryl), Tara Lewis (with John) and Diane Parker (with John) of the JDRF staff led by executive director Claralyn Phillips (with charming Gordon) worked hard to pull off the glittering evening. A warm night brought out many bright spring gowns in a crowd that included longtime previous chairs Kitty Gleason (with Dr. Jim) and Sue Zitelli (with Dr. John), Pat Violi and Nikki Nordenberg, Dr. Stan and Ellen Marks, major underwriter Dennis White (with Judy) from GlaxoSmithKline, international board members Maureen Barunas and Robert German, Susie and Bill Johnson, Judge Ralph Cappy, Walter and Laurie Sapp, Dr. David and Amanda Wilson, Larry and Ina Gumberg, Don and Jan Rea, Brian and Sandi Tedeschi, Gary and Carol Cozen, Marvin and Phyllis Jacobson, Pat and Alan Siger, Hoddy and Mary Anne Hanna, Kathy and David Sharick, David and Linda McKamish, Greg and Judge Joan Orie Melvin, Bill and Carol O'Rourke, Lane and Mary Jo Dively, Rebecca Hassouna, Michael and Beth Kuhn, Eleanor and Bud Roth, Cheryl Gerson, Lisa and Brian Sullivan, Sam Zacharias, Margaret and Tom Whitford, Bill Caroselli and Dusty Kirk, Neil and Jan Harrison and many more.

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