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Black Tie International:
Olivia Newton-John Guest of Honor at
Friends of Schepens Luncheon


With Olivia Newton-John as Guest of Honor


Kenneth M. Fischer, Olivia Newton-John, John Easterling.
Kenneth M. Fischer, Olivia Newton-John, John Easterling.
Photo by:  Lucien Capehart Photography


 PALM BEACH – Olivia Newton-John and husband John Easterling delighted guests and reinforced the importance of medical research when the Palm Beach Friends of the Schepens Eye Research Institute, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, presented the 2009 “Vision of Beauty” luncheon  in the Grand Ballroom at the
Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach.  The event raised almost $120,000 for eye research at the Institute.
A special highlight of the event was a fashion presentation by Neiman Marcus Palm Beach, featuring fashions by guest designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka who attended the luncheon. 
Considered to be the kickoff of the Palm Beach social season, the event included a reception with a silent auction and boutique of Judith Ripka Jewelry and Judith Leiber handbags, as well as a raffle for a shopping spree at Neiman Marcus Palm Beach.
            Kenneth M. Fischer, president and chief operating officer of the Institute, presented an update on the ongoing research at the Institute.  
Kathryn Vecellio and Judith Murat Grubman were honorary chairmen of the event and Herme′ deWyman Miro was grand honorary chairman. Laurie Silvers served as Mar-a-Lago host sponsor.
            “Our guests were thrilled to meet Olivia Newton-John and her husband John Easterling, who spoke personally about their own interest in medical research.  A breast cancer survivor, and the granddaughter of German Nobel Prize winner and atomic physicist Max Born, Olivia Newton-John has a wellness center in Australia that bears her name.  Easterling’s firm, Amazon Herb Co., has created nutritional products from the Amazon, including Zamu, which was served during the luncheon’s reception.
 “Ms. Newton-John is impressive for many reasons,” explained Mrs. Vecellio.  “She is a shining example of how a celebrity can raise awareness about the value of research and its impact on public health.  And her husband has been credited with bringing ecological and educational programs to the people of the Amazon.”
Ms. Newton-John spoke at the event on the importance of research and women’s health initiatives globally.  The Institute addresses the needs of 2.3 million visually impaired women.  In fact, nearly two out of three people who are blind or visually impaired across the globe are female.  Because 75% of blindness and visual impairment is treatable or preventable, the Institute is poised to make a significant impact in the lives of women throughout the world.
Chairmen for this year’s event include: Colleen Bain, Linda Salandra-Dweck, Sandra Krakoff, Kay Lyons, Anne Moran, Monika Preston, Nancy Raquet, Laurie Silvers and Andrea Stark. 
Committee members include: Dusty Aronsohn, Candide Booth, Rosalie Cohen, Caroline Collings, Marilyn Connor, Judi Donoff, Mary Freitas, Connie Frankino, Arlette Godon, Cheryl Gowdy, Jerre Gowdy, Cathy Henry, Patricia Herlihy, Darlene Jordan, Susan Keenan, Michele Kessler, Pieternel Knollenberg, Patricia Lebow, Cheryl Marshman, Donna Marzano, Toby Muss, Beverly Myers, Aileen Newquist, Sharon O’Neil, Anka Palitz, Beth Pine, Diana Powell, Joan G. Rubin, Julie Rudolph, Marsha Snyder, Joanne Stringer, Tina Therrien, Dyanne Tosi, Cherie Toufanian and Babbette Wolff.
            Sponsors for this year’s luncheon include benefactors Beth Pine, Vice President and General Manager, Neiman Marcus Palm Beach and Palm Beach Society Magazine. 
             More information on Schepens Eye Research Institute is available by phone toll-free at 1-877-724-3736 or online at .


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