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November 18, 1986|JODY BECKER

Orange County Volunteers in Multiple Sclerosis celebrated a glitzy "Nuit au Casino" Saturday, gathering for a good time and an occasion to honor one of their own.

Though the invitations said black tie optional, VIMS supporters were in tux and glittering gowns without exception. Even the guest of honor, Claire McNair, unwittingly chose a beautiful red beaded dress that matched the gala theme color perfectly.

Nearly 320 guests gathered first in the atrium of the Newport Beach Marriott for cocktails, then ascended to the ballroom, which was festooned with balloons trailing glittery tinsel tails above the red satin table tops.

Before the buffet lines began forming, VIMS supporters Bob Guggenheim and Jack Kelly stood to say a few words about McNair, who was instrumental in the founding of VIMS and has since been diagnosed as having MS.

"She's one dedicated and courageous lady," Bob Guggenheim told the crowd, before explaining that 10% of the evening's proceeds would go to MS research being conducted by Orange County physician Stanley van der Noort.

"I've slowed down, but I'm not going to stop," said McNair, as she thanked the guests for their support--only to receive a standing ovation as she returned to her seat. Then the lavish buffet lines and silent auction got rolling, croupiers took their places, and "La Nuit au Casino" was under way.

Seen enjoying the evening were Carol and Bob Webster, Beverly and Bill Testa, Claire and Dr. Joel McNair and Margie and David Dorsey.

VIMS president and event chairwoman Sue Hodgson estimated that the evening would net the organization close to $50,000, which will be donated to patient services in Orange County.

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