Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On November - 12 - 2009

Imagine there’s a Heaven, it’s easy if you try

The Annual InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball brings a little taste of Heaven to those who need it most. At Saturday’s ball, where “Imagine” was the theme, the beautiful, 16 year old Marina Diez, gave a poignant speech, detailing the thrill of having her wish to go to Wimbledon fulfilled and explained what having a wish granted means to a sick child.

No hell below us

Just a vibrating, dance floor to the sounds of DJ Irie, who packed the dance floor before dinner. Guests showed no intention of sitting down until Lifetime Benefactor, Al Malnik, took the stage, almost an hour behind schedule. DJ Joe Dert’s music had the same effect at the Make-A-Wish Nightclub, until about 3:00 a.m.

Above us only sky-

Lucy in the Sky that is, along with giant jellyfish, an enormous lobster and a host of other characters from Octopus’ Garden, which paraded around, and escorted guests into the ballroom.

Imagine all the people-

More than 800, having a blast, including Florida Governor Charlie Crist along with wife, Carole; actress and live auction emcee, Pamela Anderson; tennis star, Venus Williams; retired NBA player, Scottie Pippen and wife Larsa; director, Brett Ratner; Market America founders, J.R. and Loren Ridinger; Lifetime Benefactors Al and Nancy Malnik; President of THE COLLECTION, Ken Gorin; Lady Monica Heftler; Southern Wine and Spirits’ Wayne Chaplin and wife Arlene; designer, Rene Ruiz; shoe designer, Donald Pliner and wife, Lisa; CEO of Greenberg Traurig, Cesar Alvarez; Latin pop star, Ana Cristina; director, Michael Bay and fashion designer, Richie Rich.

Living for today…

…One of the most fun days (nights) of the year, with performances by Beatlemania Now and Tokyo Diiva and a fashion show by Richie Rich and Pamela Anderson.

Imagine there are no countries, it isn’t hard to do

This is a tough one, with an A-list crowd of international jet-setters bidding on gift certificates to InterContinental Hotels worldwide, including Hong Kong, Rio, Shanghai Pudong, Madrid, Prague, Athens, Rome, London, Tahiti, Bangkok and Abu Dhabi to name a few.

Nothing to kill or die for-

Except for incredible auction items, such as the Ferrari California and St. Andrews and Punta Mitta trip, that went to James Ferraro, after a fierce battle.

And no religion too-

Just a shared mission of granting the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions, providing ”hope, strength and joy.”

Imagine all the people, living life in peace

Drinking, dancing, lobster, and Pamela Anderson, what’s there to fight about?

You may say I’m a dreamer

Or slightly delusional, when I describe the yellow submarine composed of thousands of balloons, the giant strawberries with dancing dudes, the carousel flanked with circus freaks, including the strong man and bearded lady, Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band or the bobble head Beatles, so please check-out my photos!

But I’m not the only one

I’m in the company of some great folks, including: President/CEO of Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida, Norm Wedderburn; Ball Chairman, Shareef Malnik; InterContinental Miami’s recently appointed General Manager, Robert B. Hill; former GM, Jack Miller; Lifetime Benefactors, Al and Nancy Malnik; Grand Benefactors, Stanley and Gala Cohen; Founding Benefactors, Howard and Barbara Glicken; Wish Star Benefactor, James L. Ferraro; Wish Benefactors, Harvey and Roberta Chaplin; Stuart A. Miller, of Lennar Corporation; Robert Press, of Trafalgar Capital Advisors; Principals of Tara, Ink., Tara Solomon, and Nick D’Annunzio; Gil Dezer from The Apprentice, Edward Freedman, Founder/CEO of Total Merchants; football star, Bernie Kosar; Craig Robbins, CEO/President of Dacra Development; David Siegel, President of Westgate Resorts; Deco Drive’s Louis Aguirre; attorney, L. Robert Elias; Dr. Lenny Hochstein, David Grutman, Michael Dreiling, Rich Santelises, Aaron Resnick, Matt Heien, Suzy Buckley, Jacquelynn Powers, Jose Ortiz, Jamie Jo Harris, Jeffrey and Yolanda Berkowitz and Yannick and Hadley Henriette, to name a few.

I hope someday you’ll join us-

Save the date: next year’s gala is November 6, 2010.

And the world will be as one.

Imagine no possessions I wonder if you can

Not at this gala, with over 140 auction items from top hospitality, entertainment, fashion and luxury brands, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Ocean Reef Club, Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Lines and Christian Dior.

No need for greed or hunger

Done- lobster, lamb chops sushi, stone crabs, and steaks!

A brotherhood of man-

Current and former nightlife impresarios came together, such as Michael Capponi, Shareef Malnik, Eric Milon, Hardy Hill, Nicola Siervo, Antonio Misuraca, Tommy Pooch and Alan Roth; as did publications such as Ocean Drive, 944, Florida International Magazine and newcomer, Miami Pop.

Imagine all the people… sharing-all the world…

Thanks to the sponsors, organizers and attendees, this year’s gala raised over $1, 000,000.

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one

To date, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida has granted 1, 700 wishes.

Take my hand and join us

How about today? Make a donation to:

And the world will live as one.

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