Dolphin Ball makes a splash for cystic fibrosis


Locals Laure Stern and Robyn Gibson are honored with Champion of Kids Award.

By Kim Devore/Staff Writer

The 8th annual Dolphin Ball was billed as a night “Under the Tuscan Moon.” But with a steady rain and a massive storm moving in, the festivities might have been called “Under the Tuscan Monsoon.” Even so, the wet weather, frizzy hairdos and soggy evening gowns couldn’t put a damper on the annual fĂȘte to raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and KTLA Charities.

The Dolphin Ball was founded in 1997 in the name of Kayleigh MacGregor, who was born with cystic fibrosis and had to endure two delicate surgeries as well as intensive physical therapy to combat the disease.

Hundreds of elegantly clad guests gathered on the breathtaking grounds of Saddlerock Vineyards off Mulholland Highway where they were greeted by Italian minstrels cranking out traditional standards like “O Solo Mio” and “Arrivederci Roma.”

They sipped a specially concocted libation called “The Smokin’ Tuscantini,” a bubbly bend of Vodka, a splash of passion juice and a cube of dry ice for added drama. Servers made the rounds with delectable morsels of fig and goat cheese turnovers, sweet and sour pizza, spicy shrimp skewers and zucchini fritters, which helped keep minds off the forecast. Some huddled by heat lamps to fight off the evening chill, but most found a great deal of body heat at the auction tent that featured gobs of goodies. Bidding was fierce on items, which included specialty wines, catered dinner parties, tempting travel packages and must-have sports memorabilia.

On the upper terrace, the outside dining area, stage and dance floor were awash in shades of lavender, turquoise and neon pink. Tables were strewn with lush red roses, cheery sunflowers and loads of lemon leaves.

After a gourmet feast munched amid the sprinkles, it was show time. Actress Linda Hamilton, who has been active in the ball since the very beginning, had words of thanks. “Your generosity and support will allow us to raise much needed funds in the fight against cystic fibrosis,” she said. “It’s a debilitating, inherited disease that affects more than 30,000 Americans.” Another familiar face, “General Hospital” soap queen Jacklyn Zeman, served as the evening’s mistress of ceremonies along with Jonathan Banks who took on the role of emcee.

Longtime local Laure Stern was honored with this year’s Champion of Kids Award. Her co-honoree, however, was unable to attend. It seems a cold and the weather had Robyn Gibson under the weather. But she was there in spirit with mega star hubby Mel Gibson taking her place.

The evening wrapped up with a jazzy entertainment program led by Lenny Goldsmith and a few careful turns on the dance floor.

The 8th Annual Dolphin Ball raised more than $160,000 for the foundation. That means that kids with cystic fibrosis can lead longer, more productive lives. As far as this group is concerned, all that singing, dining and dancing in the rain couldn’t have been for a better cause.