The Tattlers’ Preview for the Week of October 29th-November 4th

One can’t miss event this week will be the Horses and Harvest Fall “Fun Raiser” to benefit Camp TLC (Together Living a Challenge) at Druthers on Saturday, November 3rd from 4 to 7pm. Hosted by Honorary Chairs Mayor Scott Johnson and his wife Julie, this will be the place to be Saturday with a fantastic fall afternoon of live music, telecasting of the Breeder’s Cup Day races, fall beers and specialty drinks, and of course, a chance to celebrate the success of Camp 2012 as they begin plans for a bigger and better Camp in 2013! Outside at Druthers guests will enjoy sitting by one of the many fire pits watching all of the Breeder’s Cup races on the large screen televisions, Lisa Symons Burke will be there showcasing her Stella and Dot Holiday Line and donating 20% of the proceeds to Camp TLC. Camp TLC (Together Living a Challenge) is a “on the move” mobile recreational program that provides a week of summer camp to children living in isolating circumstances such as shelters, hospitals, or in foster care. Camp TLC not only provides a week of summer camp but launching in 2013, year round programming. Camp TLC believes that when children are given the chance to take positive risks, we build their self esteem, and that is what keeps kids in isolating circumstances alive. Tickets are just $50 and can be purchased at

Want to see the Tattlers strut their stuff this weekend? We will be modeling with our families at the One Stop Holiday Shop to benefit The Prevention Council at Longfellow’s this Sunday, November 4th from 12-3pm. Part fashion show, part gourmet luncheon, and part holiday retail extravaganza, the One Stop Holiday Shop will showcase an eclectic mix of fall, winter, and holiday clothing and gifts from local boutiques while raising money for a good cause. A select group of specialty retailers have reserved retail tables at the event, selling everything you could need for the holiday season and beyond, including host & hostess gifts, clothing and accessories, books, specialty items, and jewelry. Guests are invited to shop at the retail tables throughout the day, both before and after the fashion show takes place. During the fashion show, they will have an opportunity to indulge their taste buds with gourmet hors d’oeuvres and a 3-course, fall-inspired luncheon. They’ll also have an opportunity to buy raffle tickets for a chance to win one of several amazing door prizes. All funds raised at the One Stop Holiday Shop will go to support the vital and life-saving work of the Prevention Council. Through our public awareness campaigns, school education programs and community coalitions, we have taken on the challenge of helping youth overcome the obstacles of peer pressure, bullying, drugs and alcohol. Click Here To Register


The Fifth Annual Halloween Masquerade Ball to benefit the Regional Office for the NCMEC

Halloween came early at Prime at Saratoga National Friday night for the Fifth Annual Halloween Masquerade Ball to benefit The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which opened a regional office one year ago. We spotted witches and wizards and masked revelers galore at this festive ball to support this very vital cause. As guests arrived they had a chance to check out information tables from the National Center (NCMEC), FBI, US Marshalls, Secret Service, Homeland Security, and State Police, including a display of the Community Citizenship Award which the organization recently received.

We also spotted a true superhero for the cause, dressed as Batman for the party we spoke to Sam Palazzole who told us “The support that we have had has been terrific. In March of this year we were given the Community Citizenship Award from the director of the FBI for the fundraising we have done that has led to the opening of the regional office in September of last year. The award really belongs to the people that have supported us and supported this effort.”

We also spoke to Sam’s wife Linda, the Chairwoman of the Gala Committee. “We have some wonderful auction items that have been donated by the wonderful people of the Saratoga area, including a fabulous sauna donated by Mike & Debbie Giovanone and Concord Pools & Spas and a chance to fly an F-14 jet.”

Upstairs guests mingled and guessed who was under masks while they bid on silent auction items including hotels, vacation spots, couture hats, jewelry and special items from the FBI and Secret Service. Spotted in the crowd we saw Donene Honnene, Sarah Loughran, John & Joan Lemery, Nancy Smith and Dan Czech, Trevor & Helena Marsh, Mike & Mary Masterpietro, Anne Piccolo, Kevin Johnson, Kevin & Melanie Grossman, Ben & Amy Solomon, Rosanne VanHeerm, Laura LaPoint, Frank Mitola, Katie, Ed & Anne Moore, Bob & Fran Fazio, Zsuzsa Kristof & John Johnson, Pam Petronacci, Erin Hodgson, Rose Macinnio, Todd Slingerland,  Bill & Michele Hawkins, Patty & Angelo DeMarco, Jerry & Marylou Kristie, Matt & Sylvia Anglin, and Elite Rubin.

Inside the ballroom guests lined up to try the sumptuous around the world cuisine from Prime, with food stations lined up serving dishes like little individual lasagna pots at the Italian themed station, shrimp tempura and shumai at the Japanese themed station. Inside enjoying the delicious dinner we saw Robin Kelly, Mary Kelly, Catherine Stevens, who was the guest speaker last year and her sister Norreida Reyes who is one of the newest advisory board members, Neil and Jane Golub who sponsored a child identification information booth, David & Margaret DeVoe, Bob & Betty Quick, Tom and Mary Quandt, Ed & MaryBeth Evers, Joe & Eileen Micheli, Margie Stribley, Case & Helen Simpson, David & Karen Tarella, Anne Palamountain, and Skip & Colleen Carlson.

After dinner, the Mistress of Ceremonies, Dori Marlin (stepping in for Liz Bishop) from CBS6 News welcomed guests and introduced the first speaker of the evening, Sam Palazzole. In attendance that evening were many parents of missing children, who also volunteer to help families cope with the trauma of having a child missing, including Doug & Mary Lyall, Bill & Nancy Hieber, Stacy Herron and husband Jay. Ed Suk, the Executive Director of the NCMEC/NY Branch thanked guests for attending and helping to raise funds for the branch. John Kelly, the community educator for the 11 counties of the Capital Region spoke to guests about the newly opened regional branch and how funds raised would go to help them continue their work. Speaker Stacy Herron told guests about the Ride for Missing Children, also an important local fundraiser for the Center which raises funds to support recovery efforts. FBI Special Agent David Fallon then gave a powerful presentation on the dangers of online predators, speaking to guests about how easy it was for online predators to prey on children, highlighting his ongoing work with combating online dangers for kids.

After the speakers the fundraising got underway again in full force as auctioneer LeGrande Serras of Reel Seafood took to the microphone for the live auction. David and Chris Stack were the big winners of the evening by winning the bids in the live auction for both the Sauna and a week at a condo at the NJ shore at Diamond Beach donated by Sil and Muffy Basile of NJ. Doug & Ellen Engles won tickets to the Jets vs Cardinals Football game in December. Lucky lady Helena Marsh won the Heads or Tails 50/50 game as well as the bid for a condo for a week in Naples, Florida, also donated by Sil & Muffy Basile of NJ. Faith Takes won the bid for a Ladies customized Specialized Dolce Comp Apex Bike and Patricia Gallagher won a day at the Saratoga Races that includes a guided tour of the backstretch with Tom Gallo from Parting Glass Racing.

After the auction, awards were given out for the best Halloween costumes and among the winners was guest Richard Raia. DJ Chas got the music started again, and the costumed guests kicked off the pre-Halloween weekend in style. A successful event for a truly vital cause to families in our area, the Masquerade Ball raised over $70,000 to help them continue in their important work.

Planned Parenthood of Mohawk-Hudson’s Annual Celebration

The mood at Saratoga National was festive on Thursday, as Planned Parenthood of Mohawk-Hudson’s Annual Celebration got underway. Guests streamed in to attend the event, headlined this year by Comedy Central’s The Daily Show co-creator, comedian Lizz Winstead. Also featured were the recipients of Planned Parenthood’s 2012 Giraffe Awards, Carol Ellsworth Blowers and Darren Cosgrove. As guests arrived, they nibbled on hors d’oeuvres and could be heard buzzing about Lizz Winstead’s much anticipated talk. An impressive cross section of the community was at the packed event, and we spotted several familiar faces including Brooke Scott McConnell and Nicole Kempton.

As attendees were seated, munching on a delicious spread of sliders from Prime, the evening began with a welcome from Paul Drisgula, co-president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson. Paul truly set the tone for the evening, expertly managing to weave humor and levity into the critical mission of Planned Parenthood. He had the audience in stitches while screening awareness videos for Planned Parenthood, one addressing the topic of STD testing and the other promoting the organization’s comprehensive sex education guide for parents, called “Let’s Talk”.  He also discussed the critical battle Planned Parenthood faced in the Shenendahowa school district, before beginning the introduction of the two Giraffe Award winners, Carol Ellsworth Blowers and Darren Cosgrove.

Both honorees were awarded for their tremendous efforts on behalf of Planned Parenthood and received standing ovations from the audience. Next, Lizz Winstead took the stage for her 25th speaking engagement in her stand-up tour, “Planned Parenthood, I am here for you!”. She began her talk remarking over the unbelievable political atmosphere of the country in this election season, and had the crowd roaring with her political satire. She discussed her family life, career as a comedian, writer and producer and managed to seamlessly discuss her experiences while highlighting the importance of women’s health care and Planned Parenthood. The audience could not get enough of Lizz, her humor and message appealed to all, and attendees laughed and cheered throughout her time onstage. We caught up with Paul Drisgula after the event who was delighted with the evening’s success, having raised over $32,000 for the organization. “We have such fantastic volunteers, donors who sacrifice for us and a great staff. We were delighted to have Lizz here for her ‘I’m here for you” tour and feel so warmly towards her for her contributions”.

The Saratoga Springs Rotary Education Foundation’s 13th Annual Fundraising Brunch

It was a crisp Autumn morning as the Saratoga Springs Rotary Education Foundation’s 13th Annual Fundraising Brunch got underway at the City Center. Over 200 community members gathered to support the Rotary Club, with all proceeds going to support the foundation’s endowment. This year, two local women, Jeanette Jordan and Libby Smith-Holmes were also being honored with Community Service Awards. The mood was festive as attendees mingled in the lovely fall themed room, brightened up in vibrant fall colors and lined with mums and pumpkins. Guests perused the many silent auction items ranging from prints to handbags and event tickets, as mimosas and soft drinks were poured.

Right away we bumped into Jim Tedisco, Bob Kimmerle  and Rotary Education Foundation President, Greg Grieco. We also spotted both award recipients, Jeanette Jordan and Libby Smith-Holmes, looking lovely in fall colors, being congratulated by friends and colleagues.  As the event got underway, guests filled up their plates with a delicious buffet of food generously donated by Steve Sullivan and Longfellow’s Restaurant.  Greg began the program with humor, his opening remarks in the style of one of Jeanette’s columns and creating great laughter of the audience. The presentation of the Community Service Awards began with Managing Editor of the Saratogian, Barbara Lombardo, introducing honoree and our predecessor, Jeanette Jordan.  Barbara recalled Jeanette’s first job as a proofreader with the paper, and her rise to Features Editor and then Society Columnist saying, “She understood her job was to spotlight these events… to bring the readers in to give them a peek at what it was like to be at the events and the people who attend them, and thus support the entire community. She covered the stars, but she never had stars in her eyes, because she truly believes all people are important”. Jeanette then took the stage to a standing ovation from the crowd and began her heartfelt acceptance with a warning to the group that she was a crier and might be emotional. She recognized Linda Toohey as “knowing her better than she knew herself” and being one who truly changed her path in life, as well as acknowledging her friend and former boss, Barbara Lombardo and the Saratogian’s publisher Mike O’Sullivan. Jeanette was incredibly appreciative that her writing meant so much to so many, and thanked the Rotary Club for making her feel so important, saying the award was “the icing on the cake”. Jeanette’s biggest supporter, her husband Augie, watched her speech, glowing with pride.

Phyllis Aldrich took the stage after Jeanette, to introduce the second award recipient, her dear friend Libby Smith-Holmes. She described Libby as a ‘doer’, someone who can take pieces from all over and put them together to create something special, from her sewing, to cooking, teaching and volunteer work. The audience was on their feet as Libby was welcomed to the stage where she spoke passionately about her love for the community and life in Saratoga, saying she “especially would like to recognize those who inspire us through their ongoing acts of creative generosity, who have given their time, their talent and their treasure to make this such a wonderful place to live”.  Libby’s husband Tim was in the audience, as well as her two sons who came from Colorado and London to be with their mother as she received her Community Service Award.

As Greg took the stage again, he recognized Jane Wait for her service on the Rotary board and years of support and Anne Palamountain, who established an endowment in memory of her husband Joseph Palamountain. Greg also recognized the passing of Philly Dake, who created a scholarship fund in 2001, which has now surpassed $140,00 in endowment.  The Saratoga Springs Rotary Education Foundation distributed over $45,000 in scholarships last year, and since its inception, has given out over $500,000. To close out the brunch, guests were treated to 3 songs from The Dynamics, Skidmore College’s oldest a cappella group. Their final song, a tribute to both honorees, was “I’ll Be Seeing You” and it imparted a beautiful and touching sentiment to the day. Silent auction winners then picked up their items, as well wishers continued to surround both Jeanette and Libby, congratulating them on their tremendous achievements.

The Tattlers were thrilled to be attend this event, honoring two women whose work has meant so much to so many. We’ve been told over and over again that we “have big shoes to fill” as Jeanette’s successors, and we believe that now more than ever after seeing her grace and elegance accepting her award. Both women are true inspirations, and very well deserving of the honors.

The Community Hospice Touched by an Angel Gala

The 17th Annual Touched by an Angel Gala was this past Thursday at the National Museum of Dance, and 500 guests came to commemorate a special year for The Community Hospice of Saratoga as they celebrated its 25th year of conducting business in Saratoga County.

Definitely the stand out off-season event, over 125 local restaurateurs, florists and businesses generously donated delicious hors d’oeuvres, food stations, a yummy chocolate fountain, volunteers, and decorations. Certainly part of what sets this event apart is how everything, from linens and champagne glasses to waitstaff and flowers, is donated. Jim Squires from Posie Peddler helped to organize the flowers as well as donating many himself and they did a fantastic job making the elegant arrangements including elaborate and beautiful white bouquets.

Anthony Panza, of Panza’s restaurant did a flawless job as the Culinary Coordinator for the event. Overseeing the kitchen and the food station vendors for this event is no small feat but the event ran with ease due to his behind the scenes efforts.

As guests entered the National Museum of Dance, adorable little “angels” handed out helpful maps designed to guide guests through the museum where the 15 food stations were set up. After picking up a glass of complimentary champagne from one of the two stations or some complimentary sparkling Saratoga Water, guests began to mingle and make their way tasting the delicious food and chatting with friends.

We spoke with Event Chairwoman Nancy Cain about what makes this event so different. “It’s a great cocktail party! We’ve discovered over the years that people just want to have fun. There are no auctions, no pressure, you don’t have to put on black tie, just come and have fun. Have some champagne, eat some wonderful food and see all your friends!” One of the hardest working volunteers, Barbara Ecker from Community Hospice, noted how after a busy social season people love to come to this party, and it is with her dedicated work that the event runs so smoothly.

Fun was definitely on the menu for the night, as were some delectable dishes served up by local restaurants. Among the dishes being sampled was Coquilles St. Jacques and Country Pâté from Chez Pierre, gorgeous chocolate dipped strawberries from Berrylicious Bouquets, Chicken Alicia with asparagus tips from Longfellow’s, and a quite popular chocolate fountain complete with mini marshmallows and pretzel sticks from Saratoga Sweets.

We spotted Michele Riggi with husband Ron sampling the authentic street corn with Spanish cheese and aioli (one of our favorites!) served up by their daughter Roslyn and her husband David Zecchini from DZ Restaurants at the Boca Bistro table. Some attendees we spotted chatting with friends were Anne Palamountain, Angelo Calbone, David Meyer, Lois Celeste, Colleen and Skip Carlson, Justine Liese, Fran Dingeman, Diane Lloyd, Ron Ireland, Margaret and Bill Roohan, Tom Federlin, Angela Beddoe, Jonathan Gerber, John Witt and Cari Endres, and David and Suzanne Mangini. We also saw Margie Rotchford there with Kevin Smith from Hidden Gardens who generously donated flowers and decoration items.

Another great aspect of this year’s event was the photo station from Tracey Buyce of Tracey Buyce Photography. Her spot in the Hall of Fame was a popular one where guests lined up to have a commemorative photo taken.

As always a successful event, this year they raised  $101,000 which will go to support Hospice patient care. Consider this one a permanent must-attend event on the Toga Tattlers’ social calendar, we are already looking forward to next year’s party!

The 2012 Partners’ House Crawl honoring John Witt to benefit Double H Ranch

The chilly temperatures did not stop Saratogians from flocking to the ‘Southside” on Friday night, in support of the Double H Ranch and John Witt’s contributions to the organization. Presented by the Saratoga Partners of the Double H Ranch, the evening kicked off with a house crawl of John Witt’s fabulous homes in the Southside neighborhood of downtown Saratoga.  The stunning carriage house style properties were fantastic examples of eco-conscious building and each home showcased various ways in which homeowners can save both money and energy. At the conclusion of the crawl, guests filled the tent set up on site, that was toasty warm and full of music, food and friends. The music of Rich Ortiz set the tone for the evening with a relaxed and familiar vibe. An impressive array of food was set up inside, featuring small plates from the Wishing Well, Four Seasons, Mazzone Hospitality and Chef John Winnek. There was also a delicious ‘Saratoga Farmer’s Table’ featuring Argyle Farm Cheese, Saratoga Olive Oil, Saratoga Salsa and bread from Adam Witt and Mrs. London’s.  Guests washed down their food with beer from Brown’s Brewing Company and Olde Saratoga Brewery, as well as Newman’s Own wine. We bumped into Tab Beauregard, an honorary sponsor of the evening and wife Liz, chatting with David and Allison Meyers.  Allison, one of the committee members planning the event, managed to look fabulous and work the room, just one day before giving birth to son, Eliott!  We chatted with the gorgeous Erika Gough and husband Matthew, honorary sponsors of the event, who were enjoying their evening out. Also in attendance was the lovely Kelly Hite, Karen Ricci, Elizabeth Macy, Beverly Tracy, Rich White, Annie Quinn, Melissa Zieker and Colleen Hart Carlson. The Tattlers also spoke with Double H Ranch Development Coordinator T.J. Roode about the significance of the evening. “We are ecstatic about this event. We really want to get out there in the community and let people know what we do for our kids. We are a camp for kids living with life threatening illnesses and their families. It is absolutely free for the kids to attend camp for a week, so events like this help us raise money to continue to send kids to camp.  For us at the camp, Saratoga graciously opening up their arms to us, it means the world.” T.J. also recognized the work, generosity and dedication of John Witt, who was honored for all of his contributions to the house crawl event and the Double H Ranch.

Vintate Vegas to benefit SPAC at Vapor Nightclub

The Tattlers joined up with the Rat Pack at Vapor Nightclub on Thursday night, where the inaugural “Vintage Vegas” fundraiser for Saratoga Performing Arts Center was underway. Guests were transported back in time as they sipped on Manhattans and vodka gimlets and partied a la 1960’s Las Vegas. Shane Williams-Ness and Linda Passaretti welcomed us to the party and had spared no detail in capturing the Vintage Vegas theme. Guests were clamoring to try their hand on the black jack tables, which were jammed all evening. As we made our way through the crowd we spotted Sue and Kevin Cushing who were all glamour, Kevin in a classic tux and Sue looking ravishing in a sleek black cocktail dress. Lisa and Matt Gabryshak were nearby nibbling on hors d’oeuvres while Cindy Lunsford and husband Kenny Hoskins were cutting it up on the dance floor to the musical stylings of DVDJ Dread. Taking a break from the tables we spotted Frank Motola and Jacob Hopper, who looked the part holding his classic martini. Next to the black jack tables, Saratoga Photo Booth was set to capture everyone’s best Sinatra impression as party-goers lined up to have a picture taken. President and Executive Director of SPAC Marcia White addressed the crowd and thanked them for their support, all of the evening’s proceeds went to support classical programming at the performing arts center. After she concluded her remarks, the gambling, drinking and dancing resumed, in true Las Vegas fashion.

Project Lift University at Longfellow’s Restaurant

Guests at Thursday night’s Project Lift University had a chance to relieve their college days as they came to support Franklin Community’s Project Lift program. This time however, instead of Biology 101 these “classes” were amazing silent auction items like guitar and polo lessons. Upon entering the beautiful setting of Longfellow’s, guests were handed their “Campus Map” which directed them to the “Class Sign Ups” (the heavily stocked silent auction table), the delicious selection of hors d’oeuvres provided by Longfellow’s, and even more silent auction items across the Longfellow’s little koi pond. Hudson Payer, an adorable student himself, provided the great background music as Kid DJ while guests signed up for their classes and enjoyed menu items like marinated mushroom bruschetta with almonds and a goat cheese and couscous salad.

Spotted signing up for classes we saw Alysa and Jay Arnold, Stephanie and David Collins, Christianne Smith, Dr. Mark Moreau and wife Carole, and Bo Goliber, the Coordinator of Development and Volunteers for Franklin Community Center. We spoke to Dr. Moreau about a project he recently participated in with Project Lift, providing dentistry to the children in the program, some of whom had never been to a dentist before. Behind us was a banner decorated with notes from the children who he had helped, and one in particular stood out to him which said “Myself makes me smile”. Part of what was special to Dr. Moreau about working with the kids in Project Lift was how “In some small way we were making the kids feel good about who they are”.

Bo spoke to guests about Project Lift, a free, after-school prevention program for youth in grades 1-5 here in Saratoga Springs where children are provided with the role models and education needed to help set them on a more positive developmental path. Project Lift is a unique program that places emphasis on positive youth development activities, raising self-esteem and the development of refusal, decision-making, problem solving, and communication skills. A short movie clip featuring children who are part of Project Lift followed and reminded guests how much more than “just an after school program” Project Lift really is, providing a lasting and positive impact on children. Guests were then treated to a beautiful song performed by Amy Anderson accompanied by Matt McCabe called “To Lift a Child”.

Up next was the exciting live auction with North Peak Auctions who did a fantastic job at getting guests bidding. On the auction block that evening was a flying lesson with Richmore Aviation, a private, on-location photo shoot with Saratoga Springs favorite Heather Bohm Tallman, and a personalized dinner for four with Lily and the Rose catering which went for $650. The action also featured mission based options including providing Christmas for a Project Lift child, providing a backpack full of school supplies and helping a child go to camp, all of which were eagerly bid on by guests.

We caught up with Bo Goliber, who was delighted with Project Lift University 2012. “Project Lift University 2012 was a great success!  We are so thankful to our sponsors, donors and attendees who contributed to help us raise nearly $10,000 more than last year.  The night was filled with tons of warmth and support from people who clearly believe in helping these kids and their families.  We only hope that each year it can continue to grow and to help Franklin Community Center ensure that Project Lift can be a lasting part of our community.”  Raising just over $30,000, Project Lift University definitely gets an A+ for this year for helping to raise so much to help so many local children.

The Second Annual Catwalk for Kidneys at Longfellow’s Restaurant

In it’s second year, the sold out Catwalk for Kidneys event at Longfellow’s was buzzing with excitement from the minute we stepped in. With vendor booths on one end selling gorgeous items and a lavish silent auction on the other end, guests were eagerly anticipating the fashion show that was soon to start.

The event, to benefit the Northeast Kidney Foundation, was started by the Co-Chairs Jill Cunningham and her daughter Colleen after Colleen was diagnosed with a kidney condition that was causing a blockage. After undergoing surgery Colleen is now thriving and enjoying her senior year at Saratoga Springs High School.

We spoke with Jill about her brave daughter and how they became inspired to create Catwalk for Kidneys. “I think Colleen and I will live by the quote of her second grade teacher from St. Clements, Becky Stauffer, when she said to her as a young girl ‘Celebrate your successes’. Colleen has a heart of gold, and anyone who meets her will tell you the same thing. Her kind gentle spirit embraces those around her. Today was truly a testimony to her and having such great friends, family, co-workers and this wonderful community we live in. When Colleen came out of her surgery and we knew she was going to be okay, we really wanted to help others. Especially after we met Alex who was waiting for a kidney transplant two years ago. We realized that this was our new mission and something we needed to be a part of.”

Alex Salvagno, the boy Jill and Colleen were inspired by, walked in the Catwalk show as well. That is what really set this fashion show apart, each of the models were people who have been touched in some way by kidney disease, either going through the struggle personally or with a family member, or being part of the effort to treat and help heal patients. Also walking were a number of friends there to show their support as they strutted their stuff wearing fashions by Rockabella, Apricot Lane, Yellow Boutique, Frivolous, Vesture, the National Men’s Shop and more.  Fran Dingeman did a stellar job as emcee of the show, sharing the story of each participant as they made their way through the tables, putting a great personal touch on the event.

Adam Bindelglass and event Co-Chair Colleen Cunningham. Photo courtesy of Eric Jenks.

Zoe Alexander walking the catwalk. Photo courtesy of Eric Jenks.

As guests enjoyed a fantastic brunch by Longfellow’s models of all ages hit the catwalk. From the adorable 18 month old Chloe Barton walking with her mom and grandmother, beautiful little Cadence Love, a 6 year old kidney transplant recipient, Zoe Alexander looking glamorous in a Rockabella dress, to Ciara Austin looking stunning as usual, who was part of a mother daughter team with her mom Lisa who both walked in honor of Lisa’s mother Leila, a dialysis patient.We chatted with Ciara about her involvement with this fantastic event. “My mother, Lisa Austin and I were delighted to walk in the Catwalk For Kidney’s fashion show in honor of my Aunt and in celebration of my grandmother. Leading up to the event, my mother and I held two successful events to raise funds to help provide much needed medical care, education and support to those who suffer from kidney disease. We would like to thank Carol LaFleur and all at the Northeast Kidney Foundation for all that you do for our local families!”

Ciara and her mother Lisa

Guests applauded and snapped photos of the models, who all looked like they were having a ball being part of the event.  With hair styling by Saratoga Debut Salon and Boutique and Ms. Laura McDonald everyone looked their best. Miss Albany International Amanda Daley walked the catwalk, and Dr. Thomas Schumaker did as well looking dapper in clothes from The National Men’s Shop. Garry Murray got some big applause from the crowd as he made his way down the runway and Susan Leone, walking in honor of her son Shane, looked beautiful. Also walking in the show was Jeannette Braun, the first student to receive the Shane Leone Memorial Scholarship, a fund established by Shane’s family through the Northeast Kidney Foundation. To make the occasion even more special, the Catwalk for Kidneys event was the first time Jeannette and Susan had a chance to meet.

The silent auction was a big draw to guests, with items like a gift certificate to The Wishing Well, a fur rabbit jacket from Hunt Ltd, a photo session, golf lessons, and with some truly impressive sports memorabilia. “All the money raised today will stay here in Saratoga County for kidney patients. I have seen first hand how much the Northeast Kidney Foundation has done for their clients. They are amazing!” said Jill Cunningham, who spoke to guests about her daughter and the Northeast Kidney Foundation. “What I loved about today was the wonderful doctors and nurses, who give all day long to their patients, and again outside the hospital for their patients.”

Raising $15,000 for the sold out event of over 200 people, Jill and Colleen were thrilled with how it turned out and are looking forward to making it even bigger and better next year.

The Second Annual Fundraiser for the Incredible Teddy Foundation at Prime at Saratoga National

A chilly fall evening did nothing to dampen spirits at the Second Annual Fundraiser for the Incredible Teddy Foundation.  A passionate, energetic crowd filled the veranda at Saratoga National on Friday night in support of the Lodico family. Andi and Phil Lodico founded the Incredible Teddy Foundation in 2010 after their son, Theodore “Teddy”, was diagnosed with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH).

Andi & Phil Lodico, Aidan Hardy, Dr. Terry Buchmiller and Dr. Jay Wilson

Guests filled the patio, sipping fall cocktails and noshing on hors d’oeuvres and checking out the impressive silent auction items up for bid. We spotted Terrill Brown, Nicole Buck, Amy & Jared Cantanucci, whose daughter Emerson attends the Beagle school with Teddy.  Julie & Brian Cuneo, Trisha & Dan Klaus, Christine & Jim Mastrianni and Nancy & Bob Rusnak were also in the crowd.  Some of the enviable auction items included tickets to The Late Show with David Letterman, donated by CBS and accompanied by a stay at the Wyndham Hotel, both of which were snatched up by Jen and Tim Kelly and a ‘Play and Dine’ package donated by Saratoga National, which was won by Jen and Kevin Coffey.  Jen and Kyle Perry took home a ‘Day at the Races’ package, which included box seats in the clubhouse at the track, donated by Terrill and Chad Brown.

Dean Domenico, Tom Wojdyla, Wendy Wojdyla and Elizabeth Domenico

As the evening continued, guests relaxed to the music of “Full Circle” and indulged in the delicious food from Prime. Phil and Andi took the stage midway through the event and spoke passionately about their son’s illness and miraculous recovery, and their efforts to raise awareness about CDH.  They also described the Foundation’s work in supporting families both emotionally and financially as they care for a newborn born with CDH, effectively underscoring the importance and purpose of the evening.  In the last year, support for the Incredible Teddy Foundation has grown by an astounding 65%, with 98% of all of the money raised going directly to families in need.  Lastly, Dr. Jay Wilson spoke, describing both the progress made in treating CDH but the critical need for ongoing research and awareness to continue to strengthen the survival rate of babies affected.  Andi and Phil were thrilled at the evening’s success saying “The highlight of the evening was the speech given by Dr. Jay Wilson, Director of the Surgical Critical Care program and the Lung Growth Laboratory at Children’s Hospital Boston. He is a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) guru and we credit him with saving Teddy’s life. Our guests were moved to tears by his discussion of the struggles of the medical treatment of CDH, as well as how to make the public aware more aware of CDH.”  The evening truly served as a testament to the perseverance and strength of the Lodico Family and their ongoing work with the Incredible Teddy Foundation.