Dressed for a magical masquerade, nearly 700 guests were taken back in time to the beautiful streets of Venice at Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation’s 2011 Diamond Ball: A Masquerade Affair. Held at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami on Saturday, October 29, the event raised nearly $4.5 million, including announced gifts, to support world-class care at Miami Children’s Hospital.
Guests of the Diamond Ball had the opportunity to hear from 14-year-old cancer survivor Caroline Pallidine, who shared how she overcame her fear of baldness and became Bald, Brave, Beautiful at Miami Children’s Hospital, thanks to a special visit by Armando “Pitbull” Perez, when she was a patient at Miami Children’s in July.
Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation Board Member Ravneet Chowdhury was so inspired by Pallidine’s story that she immediately pledged a $1 million donation in the young girl’s honor.
Additionally, Pitbull, who was on his worldwide Euphoria tour with Enrique Iglesias and Prince Royce, recorded a special salute to Pallidine and the guests of the Diamond Ball.
“Caroline, you already know what it is; it’s about being Bald, Brave, Beautiful,” said Pitbull. “You are an inspiration, motivation and more than anything you are someone that shows us how strong we can all be. To everybody out there, make sure you support the cause of Miami Children’s Hospital.”
The 2011 Diamond Ball culminated with the induction of Gloria and Emilio Estefan into the Ambassador David M. Walters International Pediatric Hall of Fame.
“Miami Children’s Hospital has been a pillar in our community for decades,” said Gloria. “As a teenager Emilio was a patient when it used to be called Variety Children’s and we took our son a few times after it became Miami Children’s. Now my sister is a nurse there. We have witnessed firsthand the incredible care and service they provide to their patients and families. To be recognized and receive an honor of this caliber from an organization that does such great work for our families is truly an honor.”
Named after the first Chairman and President of Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation (MCH Foundation), the Ambassador David M. Walters International Pediatric Hall of Fame was created in 1986 to recognize and honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the health and happiness of children everywhere. It is the highest honor bestowed by MCH Foundation. Previous inductees include legendary children’s advocates Barbara & Jack Nicklaus, Dwyane Wade, Beyoncé Knowles, Walt Disney and Audrey Hepburn, among others.
“Gloria and Emilio are from Miami, but like Miami Children’s, their impact is worldwide,” said Lucy Morillo-Agnetti, President & CEO of MCH Foundaion. “They have helped countless children from across the globe and have made it their mission to make this world a better place. For this, we proudly honor Gloria and Emilio Estefan among the greatest philanthropists of all time by inducting them into our most prestigious fraternity.”
Other notable Diamond Ball attendees included Ambassador Francis Lorenzo, Honorary President of South-South News and Former Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations from the Dominican Republic; child pianist Ethan Bortnick; and Philadelphia 76ers Center Spencer Hawes.
Guests enjoyed a night of elegance with culinary delights. The evening’s entertainment included musical performances by Drew T Band and an afterparty with DJ Crespo. Voice of the Miami HEAT Michael Baiamonte served as master of ceremonies. Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation Board Secretary Ken Reilly won the live auction for an exclusive Azamara Club Cruise for two.
In addition to the gift from Chowdhury, several key supporters were recognized for their contributions of a half million dollars or more, including Children’s Cancer Cooperative, Dosal Family Foundation, The Fairholme Foundation, The Miguel B. Fernandez Family Foundation, and the Estate of Florence Groover Frank.
Sponsors included Dade Medical College, Premier Beverage, AmericanAirlines, JW Marriott Marquis Miami, Tiffany & Co., Mario Murgado and Brickell Motors, Anand and Ravneet Chowdhury, Brown and Heller, P.A., Duty Free Americas, Selecta Magazine, JustAskBoo, Britto, DJ Crespo and WOW Factor.
photo credit : Orlando Garcia and Suzanne Crossland