A Tina Turner lookalike, a Lilly Pulitzer blue and white bike, a trip to the Today show and a private shopping experience presented by models in bikinis were all part of the annual Breast Cancer Gala Dinner this year.
The event, which combined fun and frivolity with the more serious message of fighting a cancer that affects one in five women, was a sell-out, with 550 tickets sold and many thousands of dollars raised.
Since its inception in 2008, the gala dinner has raised $234,000, said James Bovell, a director of the Breast Cancer Foundation, which organises the event. The money has been spent on grants for local organisations and for people with breast cancer, as well as to fund the Breast Cancer Registry.
Kim Lund, a co-director of the Foundation, urged members of the audience to contact the registry if they had been treated at any time in their lives for cancer. “We need the information,” he said, adding any information collected in the cancer registry remained confidential.
Last year, the event raised $110,000 and the organisers said they hoped they had topped that amount by Saturday’s gala, which was held at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. The final tally will be known later this week. James Bebarfald and Ashleigh Lund took to the stage to host a lively auction, which saw some items selling twice as the bidding spiralled higher and higher and the donors doubled their offers.
One buyer bought a chance to attend and go backstage at the Today show, taped in New York City, as well as a stay at the Ritz-Carlton there. Today presenter Hoda Kotb, who is a breast cancer survivor, sent a video message, which was played at the gala dinner.
Tina Turner lookalike Cookie Watkins, a capella group The Singrays and Bona Fide provided entertainment for the evening.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Mikhael Adams, co-founder of the Renascent Integral Health Centre in Canada, which focuses on removing the blockages that prevent a body from being self-healing and auto-regulating.