Heralded by trumpets, Malibu peers of the realm were received at Kashan Court, the hilltop castle of Lilly Lawrence, to pledge their purses for Cystic Fibrosis on Saturday. The third annual Dolphin Ball, presented by the Cystic Fibrosis Guild of Malibu, raised $110,000 to combat the disease.
The first two galas contributed $70,000 and $85,000, respectively, to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. For the Elizabethan-themed “A Knight to Remember,” guests of the crown numbered 390. More than 100 disappointed lords and ladies in waiting were unable to secure a seat.
“I wasn’t confirmed until Saturday at 9 a.m.,” said Chris Kauffman, one of the fortunate on the waiting list.
The procession of guests was greeted by Malibu High trumpeters Elizabeth Cole and Katherine Lindhart and by a host of junior committee members. Throughout cocktail hour and the silent auction, subjects were serenaded by harpist Carmen Dragon and by a band of wandering minstrels.
A bountiful banquet, with such hearty fare as “Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn” roast tenderloin of beef, “Asparagus As You Like It” and “All’s Well That Ends Well” warm bread pudding, was brought forth upon round tables strewn with fresh fruit atop draped velvet.
Musical merriment accompanied the feast, with performances by Kevin O’Donnell, saxophonist David MacGregor and opera tenor Dino Morra. MacGregor, a recently retired attorney, is grandfather to Kayleigh MacGregor, the baby ambassador for CFF’s Malibu Guild. The solid jazz man played with such feeling, it’s hard to imagine he ever had a day job.
Event co-chairs Sally Dibaei and Dianette Strange welcomed jester John O’Hurley as emcee. The actor’s silken presence set a regal tone for the evening. Before introducing the gala’s honorary chair, Linda Hamilton, O’Hurley shared a moving account of his friendship with a child who died from CF.
Accepting a basket of 65 golden roses (her birthday was Sunday), the actress raised her hands to the heavens with, “I’m the queen of the world!” The inside joke roused wild applause.
“Emile Zola once said, ‘If you should ask what I came in this world to do, I would tell you that I came to live out loud,”‘ she opened. Hamilton expressed gratitude to corporate sponsors, praised the tenacity of her dear friends who organized the event and acknowledged the community for “our lifelong commitment to this foundation until a cure is found!”
After closing with an invitation to “Live large and give large,” Hamilton departed with, “If we had $100 for every breast that was over-exposed here this evening, we could cure this disease.” The crowd again cheered their monarch.
Dr. Stacey Smith spoke of strides in medical technology, gene therapies and pharmaceutical testing. He stressed focus on the development of drugs to improve lung and gastrointestinal functions. The Malibu chiropractor parted with the impressive, “92.5 per cent of every dollar goes to research, CF families and their children.”
Prior to live bidding, handsomely commanded by professional auctioneer Dawn Kotsonis, attendees viewed the short video, “Charlie’s Story.” The graphic account of a 6-year-old’s struggle with CF and his oppressive daily regimen of therapies brought many to tears. Following the documentary, young Alyssa Prince presented a donation of $60 collected at her ninth birthday party.
Those tireless supporters of Malibu causes, vocalist Tommy Funderburk and maestro Marty Grebb, played scarlet-hot rock until nearly midnight. Somebody should donate these guys a recording company.
As guests departed into the mist of night, they carried burlap bundles of health and beauty favors and computer games. They came away with castle-shaped chocolate wands created by Christina MacGregor and 400 menu parchments — each of whose edges were burnt by hand in Sally Dibaei’s kitchen.
Linda Hamilton, Lisa and Bill Curtis, Cindy and Michael Schiffer, and Aman Resorts came away knowing that they gave generously to the futures of Malibu kids Kayleigh MacGregor and Jordan McCarthy and to all children who suffer from CF.