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JDRF Platinum-Level Success

Selly and Jeff Straight

On a cool spring evening, the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel hosted one of OC’s premier social and charitable events of the year, the JDRF Orange County Chapter’s 20th Anniversary Platinum Dream Gala.

The black-tie-attired crowd included event co-chairs Analisa Albert, Toni Berlinger and James Cueva, who orchestrated the sold-out celebration. Some 500 influential business and community leaders, sponsors such as the Mary & Dick Allen Diabetes Center at Hoag Hospital, and JDRF supporters gave more than $1.1 million in support of the leading global organization funding Type 1 diabetes research. This year’s honorees were Lauri and Steve Delson, whose donation to Hoag Hospital Foundation supports the Mary & Dick Allen Diabetes Center, and created the Herbert Family Program for Young Adults with T1D.

Featured speakers Charlotte Warmington, 9, and Ellie Scalzo, 10, who both have the as-yet incurable disease, brought the cause to an emotional level. Not deterred by their diabetes diagnosis, Charlotte shared her hopes of becoming an Olympic equestrian, and Ellie of becoming a gold medalist in swimming.

“We have 500 people tonight to raise money for research, and we will continue to do so until we find a cure,” concluded guest Marshall Laitsch, chairman of Community Bank.

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