Happy tale for Fur Ball gala

Spirit of the event draws in two special fundraisers

The Cayman Islands Humane Society’s annual gala fundraising dinner and auction took place recently. Dubbed the Fur Ball, the gala took place at the Marriott Beach Resort and combined a live and silent auction with an evening of fun and entertainment, all to raise money for the Humane Society.

With music by the Suite Elite trio, as well as Jay Ehrhart keeping everyone entertained as master of ceremonies, the evening was characterised by an infectious sense of fun.

In fact, the spirit around the event was such that two hotel guests from New York, Louis Pillarella and Steven DeSimone, decided not only to attend the event, but to throw their weight behind the fundraising efforts as well.

“We both support so many different organisations at home as well as the New York/New Jersey Humane Society. Steven was overjoyed with the opportunity as this brought back very fond memories of Princess, his English Mastiff, that passed away in his arms after 10 years on February 4, 2011,” says Louis.

The two asked whether the organisers were doing a 50/50 fundraiser and when they were greeted with blank stares, they proceeded to describe one of the more popular fundraising activities at some of their local charity events.

“The attendees will be asked for $25 for an arm’s length of tickets, which will be pooled together and the winning number drawn will receive 50 per cent of the total and 50 per cent going to the foundation. Who wouldn’t want to win some cold cash and think of how many more animals we can feed with some extra cash,” says Louis.

The organisers immediately saw the potential and invited Steven and Louis to attend.

“We said ‘No problem; we will donate our services and let’s see how much cash we can raise for the Humane Society’,” recalls Louis.

“We both enjoyed the cocktail hour, mingling with the quests, telling our story, enjoying the great band and singer and really feeling welcomed with genuine island hospitality.”

Early on in the evening, Louis and Steven were introduced to the crowd and unleashed to work their magic.

“What a great group of people; very receptive, giving and very genuine. We had a lot of fun not only selling arms lengths but leg lengths and body lengths of white tickets,” says Louis.

The effort brought in $2,400, with $1,200 earmarked for the Humane Society, and $1,200 for the winner. However, in a serendipitous result, the winning ticket belonged to event organiser Jackie Stirling, who returned her winnings to the Humane Society.

For Louis and Steven, the event made an already memorable vacation even more so.

“This vacation to Grand Cayman will always be in our hearts,” says Louis.

According to Stirling, the event exceeded all expectations. The evening even including an invasion by the Cayman Pirates, who proceeded to encourage bidders to raise their paddles during the live auction.

“It is with great thanks to all the generous sponsors, supporters and kind volunteers who worked very hard to make the evening a huge success …,” she says, adding, “there will be plenty more Fur Balls to come!”