The third annual Breast Cancer Gala
Dinner was an evening of inspirational moments, from the establishment of a
cancer registry and the local Breast Cancer Foundation, to the electrifying
performance and keynote address by opera singer — and cancer survivor —
The black-tie event, whose title
sponsor was REMAX, nearly filled the Ritz-Carlton ballroom to capacity with
more than 500 guests, who were treated to a set by local band Bona Fide and a
dazzling display by Vivendi Cabaret performers.
Ashleigh Lund welcomed the audience
and informed them about breast cancer facts, including that the disease is one
of the most widely diagnosed of all cancers with some 1.3 million new cases
diagnosed annually worldwide.
James Bovell, a director of the
Foundation, revealed that TV personality Hoda Kotb — last year’s guest speaker
and a cancer survivor — had agreed to become the Foundation’s patron.
He said the proceeds from the gala
would be used for various breast cancer projects and awareness initiatives
through the Cayman Islands Cancer Society and the Lions Club of Tropical
Gardens. Money raised will also be used to set up the Cayman Islands Cancer Registry.
The thrust of all the various schemes will help increase local survival rates
and raise overall education about the deadly disease, he said.
Mr. Bovell mentioned that the local
Breast Cancer Foundation is solely funded through private donations and fund
raising events. The foundation’s remit is to provide grants to organisations
dedicated to assisting breast cancer patients, and to heighten knowledge or to
undertake research, he said.
Dr. Yaron Rado from one of the
event’s platinum sponsors, the Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital, spoke
about the levels of breast cancer risk in women given a number of indices
including age, race and family history. Dr. Rado urged women to attend regular
mammograms as a means of detection.
For attendees, the entertainment
high point of the evening was undoubtedly the virtuoso opera performance and
impassioned keynote address by Ms Padilla.
The America’s Got Talent performer
moved the audience, first with her renditions several arias, and then with her
deeply personal and often humorous insights as she recalled how she came to be
diagnosed with cancer and her battle with the disease. She has been cancer-free
for the past decade.
During the champagne reception, the
guests viewed more than 60 high-end silent auction items, including an iPad,
restaurant vouchers from several local establishments, a number of hotel staycations,
fitness and health vouchers and many pieces of fine jewellery. Attendees then
enjoyed a three-course meal that included a dessert buffet.
The gala’s live auction at 9pm drew
brisk bidding for such items as a boat charter by Cayman Private Charter, a
Cartier women’s watch, a scooter from Auto Alternative, a family portrait
session from Better Angle, a private
submarine charter of the Atlantis Submarine, a two-night stay at the
Ritz-Carlton plus dinner at Blue, a wine tasting session from Blackbeards and a
catered dinner for six by Mis En Place.
The evening closed with most guests
taking to the dance floor with music by DJs Mark and Lester from One World
Mr. Bovell later said, “The evening
was an excellent time of dining, dancing and entertainment with the purpose of
raising funds to support our local breast cancer patients and survivors, while
raising awareness of the cause.”