Nearly 300 people attended the 7th Annual Dolphin Ball, which took place Saturday to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and KTLA Charities, a fund of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. It was held at the Malibu estate of Karen and John Aylsworth. The gala’s theme was “Return To The Roaring 20s.”
Women wore dazzling beaded dresses, feathered headpieces and boas, while men donned dapper 1920s style suits and hats. A la the old Speakeasies of the decade that required a secret pass before being admitted, guests gained entry to the event by saying, “I’m a friend of Frankie’s.” Fortunately, “Frankie” has caring friends in the Malibu community known to take care of its own when there is a need with great heart and panache. There were also many guests from outside Malibu who aided the cause by being there to support the foundation’s fundraising goals.
With the gentle sound of the surf in the background and a mix of moonlight and music, people mingled while enjoying cocktails and hors d’ oeuvres. After cocktails, guests gathered inside an expansive and beautifully decorated tent for a delicious prime rib dinner and fine desserts. Actors Jacklyn Zeman and Jonathan Banks joined forces as Mistress and Master of Ceremonies, which they have both done in previous years. Kayleigh MacGregor, the little girl whose CF diagnosis inspired this annual fundraiser, rode onto the center floor in a kid-sized BMW that was later auctioned off. Musical highlights included a lively dance routine by the Malibu Ballet and Performing Arts Society of Young Dancers who dressed as “flappers;” as well as recording artist Susan Gabriel accompanied by guitarist and composer Michael Shields; the talents of Nina Farag and Billy Burnett; and Steve Cole and The Malibu Jazzmaster Funkadelic got the crowd to get their groove on. Actress and Honorary Chair Linda Hamilton, who lends her time and energy to this event every year, summed up her talk by saying, “We will keep coming back until there is a cure.”
Stacy Melee inspired the attendees by the very poignant yet hopeful personal story of of her long battle with CF. In the audience was Robbyn Foxx, who only seven weeks before had undergone a dual lobe replacement, an innovative surgical procedure for CF patients, that saved her life.
Abundant items were donated for the auction. Four tickets to see Britney Spears in New York sold for $1,600. Also on the auction’s agenda were walk-on parts on the TV shows, “Judging Amy” and “American Dream;” original photography by Dr. Bruce Rays; a ride-along in the L.A. County Sheriff’s helicopter in the skies over Malibu and a stay at a private wildlife reserve in Zimbabwe.
According to Ray Gonzales of KTLA Charities, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation had pledged to match any money raised from the night’s event. The combined proceeds reached $158,000 toward CF research.
Co-chairs Sally Dibaei and Dianette Strange as well as committee members, special events coordinators and directors and many volunteers pitched in to make it a memorable night for many.