Captured Event

March 10, 2007 - Neal Baer Tells His Story at Red Ribbon Ball

What: Red Ribbon Ball: Tell Your Story

Where: Antler's Hilton, Colorado Springs

When: March 10, 2007

Time: 5:30 p.m.

Ticket Prices: $100; VIP $150 including pre-reception

Beneficiary: Southern Colorado Aids Project

Mistress of Ceremonies: Georgiann Lymberopolis, KOAA 5/30

Gala Chairperson(s): Patti Barton and Eileen Healy

Executive Director: Linda Boedeker

Committee Members: Patti Barton, Eileen Healy, Linda Boedeker, Fred Padeway, John Birkhead, Teresa Breeden, William "Skip" Cochrane, Kate Cornelius, Pam Cress, Stephen Harman, Robert Howard, Melanie Mainar, River Saddler, Jackie Thompson

Staff: Laura Ginnett, Lead Client Care Coordinator; Lupe Joyner, Kari Kwinn, Jeff Lujan, Julia Smith, Client Care Coordinators; Maggie La Duca, Accountant; Sarah Linster, Client Resource Assistant; Angela Michaels, Fund Development Coordinator; Bill Scharton, Program Assistant; Deanna Zobel-Grey, Client Services Director

Speaker: Neal Baer, M.D., executive producer of "Law and Order Special Victims Unit"

Catering: Antler's Hilton

Music: Colorado Springs Conservatory

Sponsors: NBC, Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado, LT Litho, News First 5/30, 99.9 Radio, Barry Brown Photography, The Gazette, Memorial Health System, My 99.9 radio, The Famous, zebrarepro.com, Jean Sebben Associates, Colorado Springs Independent, Promoz, Springs Magazine, The United Court of the Pikes Peak Empire

Auctioneer: Mike Heitman

Quote of the evening: "Tell your story--someone will hear it and someone will not get infected because of it."--Dr. Neal Baer

Menu: Bibb lettuce with avocado, orange and grapefruit segments; chicken with sun-dried cranberries, leeks & almonds and maple demi-glace; roasted baby whole red potatoes with herbs;haricot verts with baby carrots; chocolate turtle torte

Attendance: 300

Attire: Blacktie optional or cocktail

Special Thanks: Abrams Jewelry Design, American Society of Biochemists and Molecular Biologists at Colorado College, Barb Aylward, Brent Heinze, The Brothers of Lambda Chi, Alpha Delta Omega Chapter of CSU Pueblo, Designtex, Domino's Briargate, Dr. Charles Stephens, The Citadel Mall, The Colorado Springs Conservatory, Colorado Springs Utilities, El Pomar Foundation, Five Star Decor, Gail Richards--Whizbang! Creations, Lion's Pride Framing, Mail Room Inc. The Muse Hotel, NBC Universal Network Television, Pikes Peak LIbrary District--East Branch, Power Poker Tour LLC, Richard Specht, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Ron Eby, Ruben Manuel, Stephen Harman, Steven Miles, Skyway Creations, Tangles Day Spa, Tony James, Top Gun Limo, Tony Gibson--Colorado Fishing Adventure, Bill Mead, women of Phi Sigma Sigma at UCCS

Hors D'Oeuvres:: At The Famous--smoked tenderloin, cheese assortment, blackberry and cheese skewers, quiche and spinach puffs, all served with Chandon Riche champagne

Board of Directors: Dr. Charles Stephens - President; John Birkhead - Vice President; Sue Richards - Treasurer; Patrick Terry - Secretary; Patti Barton; Robert Cody; Gail Conners; Stephen Harman; Bill Mead

Blacktie Photos by: Pamela Cress

 Greg Jamieson, left, with S-CAP Executive Director Linda Boedeker, Sylvan Baer, Arlette Baer and Dr. Neal Baer
Greg Jamieson, left, with S-CAP Executive Director Linda Boedeker, Sylvan Baer, Arlette Baer and Dr. Neal Baer
View all photos

"Your son, your daughter, your neighbor or someone sitting next to you in church might be the next person needing help."--Mike Heitman

More than 6,000 people per day become afflicted with the AIDS virus around the world, and the Southern Colorado AIDS Project presented the 2007 Red Ribbon Ball on Saturday night to do something about it. More than 300 well-coiffed supporters converged at the Antler's Hilton on a rainy evening in Colorado Springs to offer their resources in the fight against AIDS, a disease that affects more than 25 million people worldwide.

Seldom does an event have the level of energy, cohesiveness and camaraderie that was present at the ball. The evening began with a VIP reception at the Famous Steakhouse, where owner Chris Martell whipped up a smoked tenderloin that was so tender you could almost look at it and it would melt. This small gathering before the ball provided a chance for supporters to meet guest of honor Neal Baer, M.D., who took a break from his duties as executive producer of "Law and Order S.V.U." to visit his old stomping grounds in Colorado Springs. A graduate of Cherry Creek High School and Colorado College, Dr. Baer was able to visit with old friends, including event chair Patti Barton and his 7th grade French teacher, Merriam Spurgeon. His parents, Arlette and Sylvan Baer were able to attend and compare notes about Neal's French articulation with Merriam.

A stretch limo carried the VIPs to the Antler's Hilton, where the reception area was filled with tempting silent auction items, many of which were donated by Dr. Baer and NBC studios, including autographed pictures, posters and CDs. Once the attendees entered the grand ballroom for dinner, they were surrounded by poignant photos of people who had a story to tell, including S-CAP clients, volunteers and staff, spectacularly photographed by Barry Brown.

Emcee Georgiann Lymberopolous from KOAA 5/30 did a superb job with program introductions and guidance--she was practicing her recital of parts of the program even during the VIP reception--and the crowd feasted on a gourmet dinner expertly prepared by the Antler's Hilton. Board President, Dr. Charles Stephens, said a few words about his practice, working with HIV patients and his own diagnosis as HIV positive in 1996.

Auctioneer Mike Heitman, who by the way is the Colorado and Montana State Auction Champion, kept with the theme of the evening and told his story, recalling friends and peers in the military who succumbed to AIDS. "Open up your hearts by opening up your wallets--bid high," Heitman urged as he expertly extracted top dollar for auction items to support S-CAP.

Dr. Neal Baer presented a riveting talk about his involvement in the fight against AIDS. He provided some shocking statistics: even though the number of people living with AIDS in the United States has declined, as has the number of deaths, African American women have endured a startling rise in infections. Dr. Baer showed clips from the popular show "E.R.," (for which he was also executive producer) about a man who was HIV positive and who tried to live a normal life in spite of it. That story line was the second most popular show, but was aired more than 10 years ago. The good news, said Dr. Baer, is that AIDS is not so prevalent in the American mainstream anymore. The bad news is that AIDS is not so prevalent in the American mainstream anymore--hence there are no shows bringing attention to the issue. Of course, if you are an executive producer of a hit show, you are able to have some influence on its direction, so Dr. Baer recently interwove the HIV- positive issue into a recent "Law and Order, S.V.U." segment.

Along with Dr. Baer's accomplishments in publicizing health care issues through television and other venues, he has been able to create such programs as "Project House of Small" in Capetown, South Africa, in which HIV positive women were given cameras and taught how to "tell their story." The result is some haunting and beautiful photos, and some women who are now able to catapult that learning experience into some positive accomplishments. The point, Dr. Baer summarized, is that everyone can make their story public. "Tell your story," he urged. "Someone will hear it, and not get infected."

The Southern Colorado AIDS Project began in 1986. During its early years, S-CAP provided support to a handful of individuals infected by HIV through agency support groups and a telephone information line staffed by dedicated volunteers. Since that time, S-CAP has grown to a twelve member staff, and 150+ member volunteer base, who combine their experience, knowledge and commitment to provide on site and home based services for more than 400 individuals infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in the 25 counties of southeastern Colorado.

Care and support programs include: case management, AIDS drug assistance, direct financial assistance, community referrals, the women's program, on-site food bank in Colorado Springs, client socialization activities, the children's Journeys and Memories Club, support groups for clients and family members, transportation assistance, and S-CAP's medication adherence program, as well as the development of education and prevention programs. For more information, log on to www.s-cap.org.

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