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BENEFITS O.C.

Fighting Cancer, Island-Style

July 27, 1999|ANN CONWAY

The event: Luau for Life, a benefit for Hoag Cancer Center of Newport Beach. About 450 guests gathered at the Hyatt Newporter on Friday for the family-style event.

TGIF: Dressed in easygoing island fashion, guests cruised a Hawaiian buffet featuring items such as roast pork, fried rice, fresh fruit and pineapple tarts. For thirst-quenchers there was Hawaiian Punch--served up with colorful paper parasols--for the kids and tropical coolers for grown-ups. Guests dined poolside at tables spread with hibiscus-red cloths and crowned with sprays of white orchids. Flaming tiki torches dotted the lush grounds. After dinner, guests watched a performance by Tahitian dancers.

Longtime center supporter Arden Flamson was grateful for the opportunity to raise funds for cancer research at a family-style party. "I brought six of my grandchildren," she said.

Paddle for the cure: Newport Beach resident Mike Rogers was honored at the benefit, which was expected to raise about $25,000.

Since 1995, Rogers has used his participation in the annual Catalina Classic--a 32-mile paddleboard race from the isthmus to Manhattan Beach--to gain pledges of about $140,000 for the Hoag Cancer Center.

"I've raised about $25,000 this year already," said Rogers, who has lost friends and family members to cancer. "I'm a surfer, and surfers get a bad rap. I wanted to do something--give something back." Rogers, who attended the luau with his wife, Becky, will race Aug. 29.

Quote: "We offer patients innovative therapies such as cancer-specific vaccines through our research lab," said Laura Morrelli, director of operations for the center. "We can take a small amount of tumor from a patient, develop a vaccine specific to that person's cancer, and give it back to them to help them fight their cancers."

Luau committee: Sandy Weiner, chairwoman; Jayne Lally, co-chairwoman; Tammy Cluck; Jamie Klippert; Jill Weise; and Lauren Johnson.

What's next: Concert benefit for the Hoag Cancer Center by David Benoit on Aug. 1 at the Hyatt Newporter's Outdoor Amphitheater. General seating is $35. VIP seating, which includes a light-supper reception, is $75. (949) 574-7208.

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