Diamond Ball raises nearly $4M for MCH Foundation

Pictured (l-r) are 2012 Diamond Ball International chair and Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation (MCH Foundation) board member Ravneet Chowdhury, MCH Foundation president and CEO Lucy Morillo-Agnetti, 2012 Diamond Ball chair and MCH Foundation board member Marile Lopez, and 2012 Diamond Ball Auction chairs DJ Kerr and Lauren Sturges-Fernandez.

Nearly 700 community, business and society notables were taken through a bold and elegant depiction of “A Frosted Masquerade Affair” at Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation’s 2012 Diamond Ball on Saturday, Oct. 27, at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami.

The event raised nearly $4 million, including announced gifts, to support world-class care at Miami Children’s Hospital.

Guests of the Diamond Ball had the opportunity to see the world premiere of the Bald, Brave, Beautiful I Will Survive music video (visit YouTube.com/ MiamiChildrens to view), which Grammy Award-winning artist Gloria Gaynor recorded with Miami Children’s Hospital patients and supporters to raise funds to help find a cure and provide hope to children facing cancer.

“No child should ever have to face a life-threatening disease like cancer,” said Gaynor via video salute. “I am asking you to step up and support the Bald, Brave, Beautiful patients at Miami Children’s Hospital because kids and chemo do not go together.”

Following the music video premiere, Gaynor was inducted into the Ambassador David M. Walters International Pediatric Hall of Fame.

Guests of the Diamond Ball had the opportunity to hear from 10-year-old leukemia patient Briana Vega, who appeared in the music video with Gaynor and shared her experience as a patient at Miami Children’s Hospital.

“This hospital is not a regular hospital to me,” Vega said. “It’s a carnival with some bumpy rides. I’m lucky to be getting my treatment where the nurses and doctors are kids at heart and where it’s all about the children.”

Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation board member Ravneet Chowdhury and Anand Chowdhury were so inspired by Vega’s story that they immediately pledged a $1.75 million donation in the young girl’s honor.

Named for the first chair and president of Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation (MCH Foundation), the Ambassador David M. Walters International Pediatric Hall of Fame was created in 1986 to recognize and honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the health and happiness of children everywhere. It is the highest honor bestowed by MCH Foundation.

Previous inductees include legendary children’s advocates Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Barbara and Jack Nicklaus, Dwyane Wade, Beyoncé Knowles, Walt Disney and Audrey Hepburn, among others.

“We are blessed to celebrate a woman who was selected for her work on behalf of children not just in her own backyard, but on a global level,” said Lucy Morillo-Agnetti, president and CEO of MCH Foundation.

“For years Gloria has supported a variety of leading children’s causes and other philanthropic organizations and we are proud to induct her into our most prestigious fraternity.”

Ranked among the top fundraisers in Florida, the Diamond Ball also featured Daymond John, founder and CEO of FUBU and Star of ABC’s Shark Tank, as emcee, with entertainment by the Drew T Band.

Other notable Diamond Ball attendees included Miami Heat guard Mario Chalmers, Sports Illustrated supermodel Nina Agdal, actor Juan Soler, CBS 4 anchor Shannon Hori and The Real Housewives of Miami cast members Adriana DeMoura and Alexia Echavarria, and others.

In addition to the gift from the Chowdhurys, Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation announced three challenge grants from the Batchelor Foundation totaling $800,000 over the next two years ($500,000 and $150,000 for 2013 and another $150,000 for 2014).

The Diamond Ball Committee was led by chairs Marile and Jorge Luis Lopez, iinternational chairs Ravneet and Anand Chowdhury, and auction chairs Lauren Sturges-Fernandez and DJ Kerr.

Sponsors included Premier Beverage, Sabadell United Bank, Duty Free Americas, Brown & Heller, American Airlines, Tri-City Electric, Selecta magazine, Accord Productions, Lava Studio, Maria Elena Headpieces, WOW Factor, JW Marriott Marquis Miami, Rene Ruiz, Mayda Cisneros, Laura Buccellati and Shark Branding.

To learn more about the Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation and offer support, visit www.mchf.org, become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MCHFoundation, or call 305-666-2889 (toll free: 1-800-987- 8701).

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