This month, the Gabby Guy shares the love with The Wellness Community and learns a little about national security when a certain vice president and his wife crash the Delaware Children’s Museum.
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Bon Jour, Red Balloon Brunch
Walking into the University & Whist Club on a quiet, bright Sunday morning, we felt as if we were arriving late for services rather than a fundraiser. Knowing the good work, education and hope the good people at the Wellness Community provide as an affiliate of the Cancer Support Community, the confusion was understandable. It wasn’t until a server offered a choice of Mimosas or Bloody Marys that we realized we’d be playing more than praying.
We were greeted by executive director Cindy Dwyer and president-elect David Albaugh, both dressed in their Sunday best and wearing their brightest smiles. Why the exclusive and venerable Whist Club, we asked? Plenty of room for guests and auction items, valet parking and fabulous food, they told us. The fabulous Susan T. Dubb, director of special events for The Wellness Community, added that it also gave “the public” a way to see the club’s beautiful interior.
But not all of it, we discovered. Photographer and breast cancer survivor Christine Eckery’s close-up of a white dahlia was displayed prominently on the grand staircase partly because of the great interest it drew as an auction item, and partly because it discouraged access to the second floor. That was OK. Upon spying the Lifetime Achievement Award honorees, the merry Midge and Verino Pettinaro, we knew the first floor was the place to be. The Pettinaros, just returned from Florida, were “happy and honored to be home to accept this wonderful award.” Plus, “It was only 64 degrees in Highland, and it’s 73 here at home,” Midge added.
The ballroom was decorated with dozens of eye-popping red balloons. Of the 85 silent auction items, a black-and-white Tory Burch tote bag donated by Peter Kate Shoes was a fave.
We next met up with 30-year Delaware resident and DuPont research engineer Stephan DeLaVeaux (French name, German accent—still) and his wife, Paulette, who in 2005 finished her chemo and beat her cancer. “The Wellness Community helped me regain my physical balance and mental clarity,” Paulette told us. “The tai chi classes-support group meetings were the best.” Her way of giving back? “I bid on all of the necklaces. The funkier and chunkier, the better. They lift my spirits.”
Lifting an entire wheelbarrow full of spirits was Wellness Community receptionist Mary Ann Dilworth, who was very busy collecting cash and dispensing raffle tickets for an earth-moving amount of liquid wellness. Mary joked with ready rafflers Mary Jane Koch, who drove from Virginia to meet friend and former Wellness Community member Deborah Welch, that if they purchased the whole roll, she’d “throw in the wheelbarrow.” It proved to be a hub of activity.
We met event chair Marcy Spivak, who credited “a very active and impassioned board who take their jobs very seriously” for The Wellness Community’s success. We also bumped into Lise Monty, who’d won last year’s barrow of cheer. “I still have one bottle of white Zin left,” she said. I’m looking for a home for it.”
From wine to pretty women: Susan Dubb’s 28-year-old daughter, the 2007 Governor’s Volunteer of the Year, modeled a turquoise, copper and glass bead necklace by Deanna Finocchiaro. Friend Kara LaFazia considered bidding on a family portrait by Creative Image photography. Big tribe? we asked. “I’m Italian,” Kara said. “What do you think”?
Page 2: Opening Minds by Opening Museums