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Society News

Honorary Chair Rhoda Chase, Chair Laura Sherman, Designer

Honorary Chair Rhoda Chase, Chair Laura Sherman, Designer
 Michael Vollbracht, Chair Gail Worth, Saks Palm Beach
 General Manager Lori Berg.  Photo by:Lucien Capehart photography

Saks Fifth Avenue Palm Beach Launches

Designer Michael Vollbracht’s Dazzling 2009
 Fall Collection
at the American Lung Association’s
7th Annual Jewels of Life Fundraiser


The American Lung Association hosted its 7th Annual Jewels of Life event – a Designer Showcase & Fashion Luncheon on February 20, 2009 at Club Colette, Palm Beach. Saks Fifth Avenue Palm Beach partnered with the Lung Association to launch designer Michael Vollbracht’s new fall fashion made-to-order line that will be available exclusively at Saks. The designer, whose mother died of lung disease, expressed his personal commitment to the organization’s mission.

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 American Lung Association 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.

Mrs. Rhoda Chase, a much admired Palm Beacher, received this year’s Humanitarian Award for her commitment to this community and her recognition and support of the work that the Lung Association is doing throughout the area. Mrs. Chase’s remarks were simple and heartfelt. Suzy Minkoff, a long-time lung advocate and dear friend of the Chase family, presented the award. 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.  It was also announced that Hermé deWyman Miro had graciously accepted the honor and would be named the Humanitarian for 2010

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 Jewels of Life Luncheon was one of the glittering highlights of the season.

Saks Fifth Avenue and Michael Vollbracht captivated a near capacity crowd at Palm Beach’s prestigious and private Club Colette; the fall fashion launch, presented to the accompaniment of Wayne Hosford at the piano, clearly dazzled the luncheon guests. Vollbracht, deliciously charming and altogether personable, proved that classic style and clean lines are always in fashion. Kudos went to auction chair Faith Morford who managed to gather an exciting array of items despite the challenging economy. 

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.

In addition to the organization’s stellar honorary and luncheon committees, many notable Palm Beachers attended the gala luncheon, including Carl & Iris Apfel, Elisabeth Bowden, Lou & Billie Feher, Arlette Gordon, Rev. Barbara Nielsen, Lois Pope, Leslie & Patsy Spero, Karen Swanson, and Teri Wolofsay.

The Lung Association expresses its 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, Moira Fiore, Norma Fireman, 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, 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! 

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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