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Society News

Gary Hall, Jr., JDRF Special Guest Speaker, 10-time Olympic Medalist; Diabetes Advocate, Melissa and Howard Parker,  Gala Chairmen.  Photo by Lucien Capehart Photography

Gary Hall, Jr., JDRF Special Guest Speaker, 10-time Olympic Medalist; Diabetes Advocate, Melissa and Howard Parker,  Gala Chairmen. 
 Photo by Lucien Capehart Photography

2009 Gem of an Evening Gala

Olympic Medalist Inspires Audience
 with Diabetes Story

PALM BEACH, FL – February 18, 2009 – Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) held its Gem of an Evening Gala on February 7th, 2009 at The Breakers.


Over 250 guests attended this event in its 24th year for the benefit of diabetes research and education.  Kicking off the evening was a VIP reception featuring Gary Hall, Jr., and honoring top donors and sponsors. This was presented by National City Private Client Group and Mark Stevens, its managing director for Florida.  Diamond underwriters recognized at this reception included Mr. and Mrs. David T. Chase, Mr. and Mrs. Simon Fireman and Mr. and Mrs. Howard Parker.


Hall, a three-time Olympian and diabetes advocate, gave a stirring account of being diagnosed with Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes at age 19, overcoming doctor’s dire predictions for his future in swimming and ultimately winning 10 medals including five gold, three silver and two bronze.  


Melissa Parker, returning for a third year as chairman along with her husband, Howard, reminded the room that even during tough economic times it’s important to support organizations like JDRF.  She talked of extraordinary diabetes breakthroughs made possible because of dedicated researchers and scientists and her hope for a cure for her son, Derek, and all those afflicted with diabetes.


The Gala Committee was inclusive of Parker, Jamie Applefield, Michele Bianco, Julia Chandler Boss, Gina Gordon, Gail McMillan, Donna Ross, Lisa Thompson, Valerie Waters, and Jodi Wentley.  Jay Cashmere, WPTV NewsChannel 5 anchor and reporter, served as emcee and offered up a lively and spirited auction.  Music was by Libido of Tropics Entertainment and the simple yet elegant décor was provided by Michael Ereshena and The Special Event Resource and Design Group.


For more information on JDRF, Gem of an Evening or diabetes in general please call 561 686 7701 or visit:


To list an upcoming event please contact


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