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R S V P / ORANGE COUNTY : Night of the Round Tables : Camelot-Themed Gala and Auction Support Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation

November 10, 1994|KATHRYN BOLD

More than 500 lords and ladies--all supporters of the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation--gathered at round tables Saturday for "An Evening in Camelot."

Trumpeters in medieval garb heralded guests in front of the Westin South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa for the foundation's 11th annual "Bid for Kids" dinner-dance. The $150-per-person gala was expected to net $175,000 for the pediatric cancer research laboratory at Children's Hospital of Orange County in Orange.

One Brief, Shining Gala

The Westin's ballroom was transformed for the evening into a medieval castle, with imitation stone turrets, coats of armor and banners that honored the names of underwriters. All that was missing was a moat.

"We chose the 'Camelot' theme because it had a lot of hope in it," said Laurie Riggs, event co-chairwoman. "Camelot was a happy place."

Guests were greeted by foundation volunteers dressed as knights of the realm. After bidding on items at a silent auction (including an autographed 8-by-10 glossy of Robert Goulet--King Arthur himself), they gathered like knights at round tables adorned with royal purple cloths and towering gold candlesticks. There, they raised their goblets of wine and enjoyed a "King Arthur's Feast"-- medallions of beef with figs and a port wine sauce and a "Sword in the Stone" layered lemon dessert.

Fighting a Villain

"Bid for Kids" is a fund-raiser that helps combat what foundation president Jeff Dankberg described as "an intolerable villain": cancer.

Linda MacDonald, event co-chairwoman, got involved with the foundation after losing her 12-year-old son, Michael, to cancer in 1990.

"He came down with leukemia and passed away 10 months later," she said.

Said honorary chairman Russell Leatherby (MacDonald's brother-in-law): "After you've gone through something like that, it's hard not to get involved. This is a night of celebrating heroes--the kids, the families, the doctors, the nurses and the rest of the staff at CHOC."

A sobering reminder of the gala's purpose came after dinner, when a slide show featuring pictures of the research lab and young cancer patients was shown on a big screen.

"We're hoping for a fairy-tale ending--a cure for cancer," Riggs said.

Other guests were Mitchell Cairo, director of cancer research at CHOC, and his wife, Ellen; Susan Reid, executive director of the foundation, and her husband, Graham; Leonard and Susie Buchan, who attended with their 16-year-old son Kent, a cancer patient; Brian Lee, Glenn and Jane Fowler, Don and Kathi Roberson, Dave and Marilee Edgar, Corey and Judy Cramin, Bruce and Erin Wagner, Doug and Karen Murphy, Scott and Cindy Jones, Jim Weisenbach, Karen Packer, Ellen Jackson, Sharon Bergeron, Cary and Michelle Sarnoff, Ellen Thompson, John and Karen Vallely and Larry Socea.

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