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Black Tie International:
Schepens Committee Announces Plans for
 Mar-A-Lago Luncheon



Olivia Newton-John and John Easterling
to be Guests of Honor


Kathryn Vecellio, Herme deWyman Miro, Judith Murat Grubman

Kathryn Vecellio, Herme deWyman Miro, Judith Murat Grubman
Photo by:  Lucien Capehart



            PALM BEACH – Olivia Newton-John and her husband John Easterling will be the guests of honor at the 2009 “Vision of Beauty” luncheon, to be held in the Grand Ballroom of the Mar-A-Lago Club in Palm Beach on Wednesday, December 2nd, to benefit  Schepens Eye Research Institute, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School.  Neiman Marcus Palm Beach will provide a fashion presentation.
            Kathryn Vecellio and Judith Murat Grubman are honorary chairmen of the event and Herme de Wyman Miro is grand honorary chairman. Laurie Silvers is serving as Mar-A-Lago host sponsor.
            “We are thrilled that Olivia Newton-John and John Easterling will join us this year at our luncheon, which is one of the most popular events on the Palm Beach calendar,” noted Mrs. Vecellio, who is also a trustee and the president of the Florida Friends of Schepens Eye Research Institute.  “Beth Pine and Neiman Marcus Palm Beach always provide a spectacular fashion presentation, and people really enjoy reuniting with friends they haven’t seen since last season.  Everyone is welcome to join us and share in the fun.”
According to Mrs. Vecellio, Ms. Newton-John is an advocate for medical  research.  Her grandfather, atomic physicist Max Born, received the Nobel Prize for his research.  A breast cancer survivor, Ms. Newton-John raised funds to help build the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne, Australia. 
“We  admire Ms. Newton-John for many reasons.  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 will speak 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.
A highlight of this year’s luncheon will be the fashion preview from Neiman Marcus Palm Beach, and the drawing for three shopping sprees with a total value of $10,000.  The drawing will be limited to 300 purchasers. 
The silent auction will feature Judith Ripka Jewelry and Judith Leiber handbags at special prices offered only at this year’s luncheon.  A special drawing will be held at Neiman Marcus Palm Beach following the event, where those attending the event will be eligible to receive a gift from Jay Strongwater.
“The luncheon is a perfect way to support research and complete your holiday shopping,” added Judith Murat Grubman.  “Now, more than ever, our luncheon will be offering tremendous values on a variety of gifts.”
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, Diana Ecclestone, 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, Bjaye Pilotte, Beth Pine, Diana Powell, Joan G. Rubin, Julie Rudolph, Madelyn Savarick, 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. 
            “At this year’s luncheon, we are honoring the scientists at the Institute as well as our devoted supporters in Florida who have kept our vision alive over the years, through their own generosity of time and philanthropy,” noted Kenneth Fischer, president and chief operating officer at the Institute. “We’re grateful to the honorary chairs, the chairs and the committee for making this luncheon such an outstanding event.”
            Seating at the event is limited and reservations are being accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.   Tickets for the luncheon are $250 each, and may be purchased with a credit card, by phone toll-free at 1-877-724-3736 or online at

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