The event: The 14th annual gala sponsored by the Cystic Fibrosis Guild on Saturday at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel and Tennis Club. The black-tie dinner-dance proved a moving tribute to 12-year-old Sarah Kanofsky, who in April lost her battle against cystic fibrosis.
Mother's story: Carol Kanofsky braved the lectern to talk about her daughter, Sarah. "I want Sarah's memory to live on, and one way I can do it is to raise awareness about cystic fibrosis," she said. "Sarah was a really exceptional child. When people met her, they didn't forget her."
Sarah's sister Megan, 10, and her friend, Michelle Ross, 15, talked to the crowd and told about Shooting Stars, a CF support group they recently founded. The group, tailored for children 10 to 19, will hold events to raise funds for CF research.
Family affair: Barry and Jan Grumman of Newport Beach received the guild's Breath of Life award for their longtime support of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. "We have four children who are healthy, and this is a disease that attacks children," Barry Grumman said. "We thought, 'What if that child were mine?' " Joining in the applause for the couple were their children: Sean, 18; Samantha, 14; Amanda, 13; and Sasha, 9.
Common cause: Organizers proved you don't need a catchy theme or big-name entertainment (Kenny G and Michael Bolton have performed at past galas) for a successful benefit. More than 350 guests, many of whom have friends or family members with CF, enjoyed the evening's simple elegance.
They sat at mirrored tables adorned with towering Grecian columns topped with pale pink and white flowers. The menu: herb-roasted salmon and smoked tenderloin. "It's just nice to be in an elegant setting," said Sue Hook, gala chairwoman, who attended with her husband, Dave.
Bottom line: The $175-per-person gala netted about $240,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Proceeds will be used for research and treatment of the genetic disease, which causes the body to produce an abnormally thick mucus that clogs the lungs and can lead to fatal infections.
Quote: "The progress made toward finding a cure [for cystic fibrosis] in the past 10 years has been amazing," said Paul Motenko, who presented the Breath of Life award. Motenko prays that the cure comes soon: His 10-year-old daughter, Stacy, has the disease. "They've found the gene that causes CF. Now there's hope," he said.
Faces in the crowd: Dean Gerrie, last year's Breath of Life recipient; Myron Kanofsky, Sarah's father; Kevin and Sophia Woodbridge, presenting sponsors; Shawn Parr, emcee; Ralph and Eva Mann; Rene and Ann Vega; Bob and Charlene Goetz; Dr. Heidi Goetz; Karen Hall; Herb and Sylvia Kanofsky; Michael and Gail Isen; Joe and Ginney Gonzalez; Paul Gale; Marc and Vicki Franz; Bob and Nancy Myers; and Barry and Myra Ross.
What's ahead: The Legends of Sports and Entertainment Golf Tournament to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at the Yorba Linda Country Club, on June 30. (714) 938-1393.