Rally is the Crown of a Royal Weekend

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On May - 6 - 2011

IMG_5449By:  Mary Jo Almeida-Shore

This weekend’s news ran the gamut- from the wedding bells heard around the globe, to the beatification of Heaven’s next saint, to the assassination of world’s worst sinner.  Without a doubt, history was made in a few short days.  One newsworthy event took place right in our own backyard, as the most thrilling and highly-anticipated charity event of the season, The Rally for Kids with Cancer Scavenger Cup brought celebrities such as Eva Longoria, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Christina Milian and Ivan Sergei and locals, such as power couple, Market America Founders, JR and Loren Ridinger, together for a two-day thrill ride throughout Miami, with the goal of raising much needed funds for local pediatric cancer organizations.

The Rally kicked off on Friday night with the Qualifiers Celebrity Draft Party at the Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach where each team had the opportunity to draft its celebrity navigator, devise strategies and have a blast with the other participants.  The fun came courtesy of Grey Goose vodka, DJ Irie’s great music and a live band. The food included samplings from top restaurants:  stone crabs from Truluck’s, Lil Big Macs from STK and fantastic fare from (“I Am Miami” mowhawked star), Bond Trisransri’s 2B Asian Bistro.  Among those on-hand to enjoy the festivities and food were: Rally Co-chairs, JR and Loren Ridinger, with daughter Amber; Dr. Bill Dorfman from Extreme Makeover, actors Fernando Carrillo, Ivan Sergei, Jaime Camil, Jessie Camacho; Evelyn Lozada from Basketball Wives; Sopranos star Jamie-Lynn Sigler; singer/actress, Christina Milian; Michael Yo, E! news correspondent; Nic Roldan, American polo hunk champion; OJ McDuffie and Shawn Wooden, former Miami Dolphins; Shantel VanSanten, Final Destination actress, and singer/actress, Maria Conchita Alonso, who performed at the party.

The excitement continued on Saturday morning, after brunch at the Eden Roc.  Teams drove all over town to complete tasks at six pit stops that included a cooking challenge, a blindfolded flight simulator, football game involving the Miami Dolphins and actual dolphins  and carnival games, painting, and cake decorating at Holtz Children’s Hospital. After a day of fun, all of the celebrities who had attended Friday night’s Draft Party, their team mates and over 500 A-list locals gathered at the Eden Roc for the Winner’s Circle Jeans & Jewels Gala a star-studded event, complete with delicious food, cocktails, dancing, award-winning entertainment and a one-of-kind live auction. 

For the gala, the candlelit ballroom was decorated from top to bottom in bright orange table linens and flower arrangements in varying orange hues.  The evening began with an inspiring and heartwarming performance by Duane McLaughlin and the Miami Children’s Choir, which was followed by a lively auction by actress, philanthropist and Honorary Chair, Eva Longoria, who missed the draft party due to the filming of the Desperate Housewives season finale, but took the Red Eye from Los Angeles late Friday to be sure to be in Miami in time for the Rally. 

Longoria shared the following thoughts with us, “We all had so much fun this weekend in the Rally for Kids with cancer scavenger race.  The hope of one day being able to celebrate the end of cancer would be incredible but while we work towards that, we are able to help children get the best care and treatment in the very best facilities and make a big difference in their lives.   The weekend was fantastic and the best part is always spending time with the beautiful children we are able to help at the hospital, which is one of the pit stops in the scavenger race.” 

During the gala, the stunning actress who is equal parts charming, funny and beautiful,  shared personal anecdotes, mingled with the other guests and seemed to be having a wonderful time. When she got up on stage, she mentioned that her favorite pit stop during the rally was not flying the plane blindfolded or playing football with the Dolphins and dolphins at the Miami Seaquarium, but the stop at Holtz Children’s Hospital where one child surprised her by painting hearts to show what she saw when she looked at Longoria- the love in her heart (we got goose bumps too!).  The adorable and friendly, Ivan Sergei, also cited the Holtz Children’s Hospital pit stop as his favorite of the day, followed closely by the adventurous Dolphin/dolphin football game.

Later on, it was announced that Market America Team 2, consisting of Michael Yo, Amber Ridinger, and Duane McLaughlin were the 2011 Rally Cup champions.  The expression on Amber Ridinger’s face was priceless, as this foundation means a great deal to her. Needless to say, the crowd went wild with excitement. More excitement ensued when Alan T. Brown, founder of the Alan T. Brown Foundation to Cure Paralysis, challenged those in attendance to each donate $1000. In just two minutes a total of $21,000 was raised!

Another high point of the night came courtesy of little Laura, a cancer survivor who is currently healthy with a full head of hair after undergoing a tough treatment last year. She got up on stage with her mother to thank the people who had made such a difference in their lives…there was nary a dry eye.

Rally Co-Chair Loren Ridinger, Senior Vice President of Market America (which raised a whopping $125, 000) expressed the importance of the Rally to her and to her family.  “JR, Amber and I feel that it is vital for us all to work together to raise funds and awareness and to generate support for pediatric cancer initiatives. The rally is an amazing cause that is fun, effective and rewarding.  It’s all about the kids, they are our leaders they are our icons.  The rally makes a huge difference in these kids’ lives, by providing the care they need to make their life easier while we work to put an end to cancer.  We had an amazing time with a wonderful group of people for a great group of beautiful children.  The rally allowed us to give the kids a chance to experience hope and raise awareness for all the research, treatment and care that we can offer them through this wonderful event- it was a priceless experience to be able to have them participate with us and a wonderful blessing to be part of.”

For more information, visit www.rallyforkids.com


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