The Cayman Islands Red Cross’ annual Dinner Dance Gala once again had patrons bopping, shaking and dipping on the dance floor, maintaining what has become a tradition at the annual event.
The Westin Casuarina Resort and Spa, who adopted the local Red Cross chapter as it’s charity during last year’s event, hosted the event Saturday, 9 June. Whereas last year’s gala celebrated the “Ladies of Soul”, this year’s featured three outstanding male tribute artists: Frankie Valli, Tom Jones and Ray Charles.
Frankie Valli, frontman of The Four Seasons, warmed up the crowd and took people back with incredible renditions of crowd favourites “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man”, while Ray Charles brought the night to a close with chart-toppers “Hit the Road Jack” and “Georgia”.
It was Tom Jones, however, who received the greatest crowd response as he made sure to give the ladies of Cayman the attention he is known for by working his way around the room and delivering hits such as “It’s Not Unusual” and “Kiss”.
Along with the tribute artists acts, the evening also featured a live auction and an incredible raffle of nearly 30 prizes. Emcee James Bebarfald kept the crowd motivated and the event flowing with his charm and charisma.
Patrons did not lose sight of the reason for the event, however. Deputy Director and HIV & AIDS Programme Manager Carolina Ferreira opened the event by highlighting the work of the Red Cross in HIV education.
“The Cayman Islands Red Cross joined the fight against the spread of HIV and AIDS in 2002 when it launched the ‘Together We Can’ HIV and AIDS Peer Education Programme,” she said. “Over the course of the last 10 years we have trained over 250 peer educators, who in turn have reached over 3,000 of their peers. This is tremendous, but we need your support. While financial donations are always necessary, we need more advocates who can help us in getting our programme into more schools and youth groups so that more young people have access to this information.”
Joining Ms Ferreira on stage were 13 peer educators who have participated in the programme during the last 10 years.
“These young people have embraced this cause in a way that adults are unwilling to; in fact, most adults won’t touch this subject with a ten foot pole. Yet they continue to take on the responsibility to educate themselves and their peers, and for that they must be commended,” she said. The peer educators were then asked to join different tables so that the patrons could speak to them about the work that they do with the Red Cross.
“It is fantastic that people can come out to an event like this and have a great time eating and dancing,” said Jondo Obi, branch director. “However, it would be remiss of us to not take at least five minutes to remind everyone of the reason for the evening and the importance of their continued support. The HIV programme is celebrating its 10th anniversary and this is a tremendous milestone. It is one thing for us to tell you about the work we do with young people, and quite another to hear it from them directly. Hopefully those present were able to take advantage of this opportunity to chat with these young people who are making a positive change in our community,” she said.
For more information or to get involved, contact the Cayman Islands Red Cross at 949-6785 ext. 27.