Sunday, April 29, 2018

JDRF Promise Gala raises $1.7 Million for research

The Wyndham Grand Hotel, was the setting for the 26th Annual JDRF Promise Gala. The evenings 800 Guests were personally welcomed by Gala Chairs, Nancy Glynn and Kim Trinkala, who both have children affected by Type 1 Diabetes.   Leroy M. Ball,  President and CEO of Koppers, serving as the evening's corporate chair, was instrumental in  developing a donation program that benefits JDRF.

The new venue offered a spacious area to display silent auction items, while guest mingled and sipped on the evening's signature cocktail, the Mojito.

Event Planner, Shelly Tolo, of Tolo Events captured the feel of Havana with greenery and tropical flowers by Hens and Chicks. The tables featured exposed wood, with table runners, floral arrangements and candles setting the mood. "Havana" inspired music was featured by the Elite Show Band, to ad to the ambiance. 

.Highmark Heath Systems dedication to improving health care was evident by  David L. Holmberg, Chief Executive Officer of Highmark Health,  being recognized for his commitment  to JDRF. Barbara Gray, serves the community not only as the Senior Vice President of Highmark, but also as the President of the JDRF Board of Directors.

Committee member Lisa Ann Cantalamessa, described the struggles involved with Type one diabetes, which her son was diagnosed with.  From the daily ups and downs, to her genuine concern over why the disease occurs, and furthering research that will result in a cure.

Although great advancements have been made in the management and treatment of Type 1 diabetes, the ultimate goal of JDRF, is finding  a cure.   To donate and learn more, please visit:

Lisa Cantalamessa, Committee member 
Les and Barbara Gray

Nishan and Aline Khoshafian

Caroline Simms (In her 7th year of volunteering)  and Jack Clark, Volunteers at the JDRF Promise Gala

Kim Trinkala and Nancy Glynn, the evening co-chairs, greeting guests

Danielle Vettor, Gillian McTiernan, and Alexandra Glynn

Marcus Bethel with Aisha Walker

Registration Volunteers, Terri Kyles with Carolyn Graham


Sunday, April 8, 2018

Fashion at the Fairmont, Raising Awareness of Lupus

Nearly 250 guests convened at the Fairmont Hotel for the 40th annual Lupus Luncheon and Fashion Show "Fashion at the Fairmont", Saturday, April 7.  Guests were welcomed to the event by Melissa Ferraro, CEO, and treated to an array of silent auction items, a chef created luncheon, and a couture fashion show.

Introductions were made by the events emcee, Larry Richert, of  honorees, Donna Polito, Honorary Chair of the luncheon, and Rosalyn Heleniak, a strong advocate for patients rights and promoting awareness of Lupus, which she was diagnosed with at the age of 28.

Karen Pool, Board Chair, and the daughter of Barbara Vandergrift,  founder of the Lupus Foundation of Pennsylvania, spoke of the organizations goal to promote awareness, education, service and research for those affected by lupus

The couture fashion show, featured local designers incorporating the butterfly, a central motif associated with lupus. The interpretation of this concept resulted in an array of stunning creations with each designer's unique perspective.  Judged by Tom Michael of Larrimor's, Richard Parsakian of Eons Fashions, and Marcus Robinson of the Pittsburgh Bullets, Jamie Miller took home first prize at the competition, with second going to Bradford Mumpower, and Laurie Pascuzzi, third.  The winning designs will be available to view at Larrimor's, 249 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, 15222.

Artist, David Connelly, created a custom mural for the Lupus Foundation of Pennsylvania.  His work can currently be viewed at the Cyclops Cafe in Bellevue. He will also accept commissions to create custom art work.

Affecting 1.5 million Americans, Lupus is a chronic, inflammatory disease in which the body's immune system fails to protect normal functions and antibodies form which attack healthy tissue and organs.  The disease is more prevalent in Woman, with about 90% of those affected being young women. To learn more visit The Pennsylvania Lupus Foundation.

Leesa Kassler in her own design and her Lupus Fashion Creation

Eva Dixon's gown appeared to be a black and gold mermaid evening gown, until her model opened her arms to reveil translucent sequin "wings" 
Leesa Kasssler's stunning red, transparent gown, with a full circle skirt, with matching wings.

Jamie Miller's design evolved from a Cocoon to a Butterfly winged sleeve 

Bradford Mumpower's 1950's inspired dress featured 150 butterflies

Jamyce Patterson's creative design transformed into a stunning pant ensemble  modeled by Tamisha Thomas

Lauria Pascuzzi's design was reminiscent of the chaotic feeling which comes following a diagnosis of Lupus.  The disease has touched her personal, with both her Mother and her cousin diagnosed with  Lupus. 

Jamie Miller and her winning design

Bradford Mumpower with Dana Quinn

Lauria Pascuzzi 

Jayden Inge, and Lea Edmunds , mother and daughter team volunteering 

David Connelly's custom created Mural for the Lupus Foundation of Penn

Jamyce Patterson with Tamisha Thomas

Bradford Mumpower with Richard Parsakian

Lisa Korinek with Linda Pokos

Models and Designers

Eva Dixon's design

Artist, David Connelly

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