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Laura Sherman and Gail Worth, Jewels of Life Chairs 

Laura Sherman and Gail Worth, Jewels of Life Chairs 
Photo by: Lucien Capehart


Saks Fifth Avenue Palm Beach Launches
Designer Michael Vollbracht’s 2009 Fall Collection
at the
American Lung Association’s 7th Annual Jewels of Life Fundraiser


The American Lung Association hosts its 7th Annual Jewels of Life event – a Designer Showcase & Fashion Luncheon on February 20, 2009, 11:30am at Club Colette, Palm Beach. Saks Fifth Avenue Palm Beach has partnered with the Lung Association to launch designer Michael Vollbracht’s new fall fashion line that will be available exclusively at Saks. In addition to funding life-saving research for children and adults who suffer from lung disease, money raised as a result of the luncheon will fuel the organization’s campaign to raise awareness and fund additional research for a cure for lung cancer. The organization is determined to continue the battle against this silent killer as well as maintain its commitment to excellence in ongoing educational programs and services in this community.

Carol Ruggeri, Executive Director for the local Lung Association announced earlier in the year that Mrs. Rhoda Chase, a much admired Palm Beacher, had been named as the 2009 Humanitarian of the Year for her commitment to this community and her long-time recognition and support of the work that the Lung Association is doing in the area.  Chase joins the ranks of such honorees as the late Leo Albert, Suzy Minkoff, Ecuadorian President Alfredo Palacio, Simon & Norma Fireman, Ruth Granat, and Dr. Jean Marie Malecki. The Award will be presented to Mrs. Chase at the February 20th luncheon.

Under the sure-handed leadership of Gala Chairs Gail Worth, and Laura Sherman, and with the assistance of junior chairs Ewa Diament and Loretta Neff Bjorklund, auction chair, Faith Morford and an all star gala committee the Fashion Luncheon promises to be one of the social highlights of the season. The Lung Association kicked off its pre-event offerings with a cocktail party and fabulous fur preview at Saks Fifth Avenue Palm Beach, hosted by Lori Berg, showcasing the talent of designer Dennis Basso, while January 13th found the organization’s guests browsing, nibbling, and shopping for their cause at the beautiful new Daniella Ortiz Boutique!  Andreas Kotsifos, Chef owner of Palm Beach Steakhouse hosted a gift gathering for the organization’s adherents in late October. A final pre-event is planned for the committee and event sponsors, hosted by Jennifer Bailey and Max Mara in February.

An estimated 180 prominent social and business leaders are expected to attend the luncheon at Palm Beach’s prestigious and private Club Colette. Local businesswoman Kathi Kretzer will present the luncheon entertainment joined by area music students. Auction chair Faith Morford has amassed an exciting array of items guaranteed to tempt even the most discriminating guests. 

The event’s crowned jewels, held in the organization’s deepest regard, are Grand Benefactors Lawrence and Florence DeGeorge, Honorary International Chair Hermé deWyman Miro, Honorary National Chairs, David and Rhoda Chase, and Corporate Chair Saks Fifth Avenue Palm Beach.  The American Lung Association is thankful for their generosity.  Also to be treasured are the organization’s dazzling contributors which to date include:  Pier and Loretta Bjorklund, David and Rhoda Chase, Larry and Florence DeGeorge, Hermé de Wyman Miro, Marvin and Hannah Kamin, Peter Kelliher, Suzy Minkoff, Lee and Jeannine Morris, Rev. Barbara Nielsen, Marc and Laura Sherman, Gail Worth and the JFK Medical Center Foundation. The event continues as a tribute to Palm Beach socialite Ruth Granat who inaugurated the fundraiser in 2002.

The Lung Association expresses it’s gratitude for the time, energy and commitment demonstrated by the entire gala committee: Lori Berg, Loretta Neff Bjorklund, Candide Booth, Rhoda Chase, Ava Coleman, Hermé deWyman Miro, Ewa Diament, Judi Donoff, Annie Falk, Moira Fiore, Norma Fireman, Frances Fisher, Barbara Gilbert, Suzi Goldsmith, Lorrain Hall, Donna Hearon, Hayden Hosford, Maya Johnson, Jill Kaplan, Cynthia Kasper, Sharon Levinsohn, Cynthia Martin, Faith Morford, Rev. Barbara Nielsen, Ty Philpit, BJaye Pilotte, Wendy Roberts, Sally Robinson, Donna Ross, Tenchy Salas, Brewer Schoeller, Barbara Selecman, Laura Sherman, Karen Swanson and Gail Worth.

The Jewels of Life theme is based on a charming Siberian folk tale that follows, “when loved ones were about to take a journey they would exhale a long breath, which, when falling to the ground, would crystallize and turn into beautiful jewels that were carefully collected and kept in a box to be treasured as ‘jewels of life’ until the loved one’s safe return.” The tale reminded the gala committee of just how precious each breath is and why the association continues its Fight for Air!

Tickets are $250 and may be purchased online at    As last year’s event was SOLD OUT, all are encouraged to reserve early!  For information on table sponsorship or tickets, call the American Lung Association at 561-659-7644.

    Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With the generous support of the public, the American Lung Association is “Fighting for Air” through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit


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