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It's Clear Sailing for Pediatric Cancer Event

Nautical-themed dinner, dance and auction in Newport Beach raises $200,000 for medical research.

November 16, 2000|PAMELA DIAMOND

The event: The 17th annual Bid for the Kids dinner, dance and auction benefiting the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation. The "Voyage Under the Sea"-themed gala was held Saturday at the Sutton Place Hotel in Newport Beach.

By the sea: Volunteers dressed in sailor suits handed guests glasses of champagne as they entered a reception tent set up near the hotel.

Tent walls were festooned with fisherman's nets, seashells and giant balloons shaped like sea horses, turtles and fish.

More than 300 guests enjoyed a silent auction and appetizers--including salmon roulade with seaweed and California rolls--while "Diver Dan," suited up in scuba gear, sold raffle tickets.

The event's theme was well-suited to the goal of foundation, said Kim Weiner, gala co-chairwoman with Leslie Bubb. "We're on a voyage to find a cure for cancer."

Weiner's 9-year-old daughter, Samantha, was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 15 months old. After receiving a bone marrow transplant in 1993, Samantha has been cancer-free.

"When you have a sick child, you search for ways to fight back," said Weiner, who has been involved with PCRF since 1992. "This is a way for my husband, John, and I to feel like we're doing something to help."

Help and hope: The Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation was founded in 1982 by physicians and community members who sought to improve the care, quality of life and survival rate of children with malignant diseases. Since then, volunteers have raised more than $10 million; 80% of the funds go directly to research.

"The foundation has been tremendously helpful," said Dr. Violet Shen, director of Oncology Programs at CHOC. "The funds benefit a broad spectrum of research, from laboratory work to clinical trials. It's definitely saved many lives."

Red-carpet treatment: A cascade of bubbles floated through the doorway as guests left the tent and followed a red carpet into the hotel, where decor included treasure chests brimming with faux jewels.

Guests dined at tables topped with clear bowls filled with live goldfish.

Board member Shirley Quackenbush, whose son Marshall, 6, is fighting cancer, praised the work of PCRF. "His quality of life is phenomenal because of the foundation," she told the crowd. "Without its funding, we would be so far behind."

Cancer survivor Lindsay Shepherd, 12, also spoke to guests, thanking them for funding research that saved her life.

Bottom line: Proceeds of $200,000 will help fund studies by the foundation's Research Consortium at Children's Hospitals in Orange County and Los Angeles, UCLA and Columbia University, New York.

What's next: The Holiday Card Program, which sells greeting cards designed by children with cancer. Call (800) 354-7273 for information on the card program. For general information, call (949) 727-7483 or http://www.pcrf-kids.com/.

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