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October 06, 2007 - Masked Crusaders at CNI's Costumes for a Cause

What: Colorado Neurological Institute's Annual Gala

Where: Donald R. Seawell Grand Ballroom

When: Saturday, October 6, 2007

Time: 5:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.

Ticket Prices: $250

Beneficiary: Colorado Neurological Institute

Honoree(s): Gov. Bill and Mrs. Jeannie Ritter

EMCEE: Ed Greene from CBS4

Gala Chairperson(s): Troy Guard & Leigh Sullivan-Guard

Honorary Chairperson(s): Bonnie Mandarich & Deana Perlmutter

Co-Chair(s): Medical Community Chairs: Dr. Peter & Florence Ricci; Shopping for a Cause Chair: Tyron James/Andrisen Morton

Catering: Epicurean Catering

Entertainment: Costumed couples with Jerry Barnett

Music: Jerry Barnett and Moments Notice

Of note: First inaugural Dawn Denzer Community Leader Award Recipient, LaFawn Biddle

Sponsors: Gala Sponsors: Bonnie & David Mandarich; M.D.C. Holdings/Richmond American Homes; Dr. Richard & Linda Kelley; Douglas M. Tisdale, Esq.; Swedish Medical Center Auxiliary; Disguises, a Costume Superstore; Outrigger; Rocky Mountain News; Rassman Design.
$25,000 Sponsors: Rocky Mountain News; $15,000 Sponsor: M.D.C Holdings/Richmond American Homes; $10,000 Sponsors: David and Bonnie Mandarich; Dr. Richard and Linda Kelley; Doug Tisdale; Swedish Medical Center Auxiliary; $5,000 Sponsors: LaFawn Biddle; Don and Arlene Johnson; Craig Hospital; Swedish Medical Center; Art and Kathy Judd; Radiology Imaging Associates, P.C. (Dr. Peter and Florence Ricci); $3,000 Sponsors: Blue Sky Neurology, P.C. – CNI Stroke Center; Douglas Kerbs; Sue Anschutz-Rodgers (Donation); Troy Guard and Leigh Sullivan-Guard; Jim and Diana Kennedy; K.C. and Kristina Veio; Dr. John McVicker – CNI Thompson Center; Dan Weyland; Dr. Edward Arenson – CNI Center for Brain & Spinal Tumors; Dr. David Kelsall – CNI Center for Hearing; Progressive Health Center; Spalding Community Foundation

Auctioneer: Doug Tisdale

Quote of the evening: It's for CHARITY!

Menu: Chef Troy Guard of Epicurean

Attendance: 400

Attire: Dressed as your favorite couple or duo

Models/Fashions: Alan & Jamie Angelich, Troy Guard & Leigh Sullivan Guard, Martha Kelce & Bradley Joseph, Leo Donian & Artemis Khadiwala-Donian, Perry & Stephanie Odak, Steve Pelletier & Brandis Becky-Pelletier, Dr. Peter & Florence Ricci, and K.C. & Kristina Veio

Event Coordinator: Natalie Pyle

Decor/Rental Company: Design Works

Blacktie Photos by: M. Darcy

 Mr. and Mrs. George Washington (the Angelichs) promenade for the People's Choice award.
Mr. and Mrs. George Washington (the Angelichs) promenade for the People's Choice award.

Sometimes disease disguises itself. Take Rae Ann’s case for example. In 2003 she was having trouble climbing stairs and executing familiar dance steps. She was diagnosed with MS. A year later, her symptoms worsening, she was then told it was ALS. By now she was in a wheelchair and planning for the worst. Luckily, in 2006, her sister got her talking with a doctor from the Colorado Neurological Institute. He ran different tests and discovered that she had no copper in her system, but her zinc levels were off the charts. The culprit was the denture cream Rae Ann had been using for ten years! After therapy, Rae Ann now walks and drives again. She thanks the Institute for not only getting her the right diagnosis and taking the time to talk to her in “patient lingo”, but for giving her life back.

Well, heroes can wear disguises, too. On Saturday, October 6, 400 heroes teamed up as their favorite duo for CNI’s 10th Annual Gala, Costumes for a Cause, at the Seawell Ballroom to raise money for the comprehensive and coordinated care that CNI provides thousands of people each year.

Design Works decked the ballroom in opulent shades of scarlet, featuring 15-foot mirrors and dangling mirrored centerpieces. Once the party got started, the curtains opened to reveal the room’s panoramic window looking onto the mountains and the lights of Denver. The smooth notes of Jerry Barnett and Moments Notice kept a lively beat throughout the evening, culminating in a Boogey Night that everyone leapt in on.

The evening featured awards going to honorees, Gov. Bill and Mrs. Jeannie Ritter; gala chairs, Troy and Leigh Guard; Jamie Angelich for her tremendous work with the gala; and, most importantly, Mary Winter presented LaFawn Biddle with the well-deserved Dawn Denzer Community Leader Award. Afterward, master of ceremonies, Ed Greene from CBS4, introduced Cherry Hills’ Mayor Pro Tem and District One Councilman, Doug Tisdale as the event’s lively and beguiling auctioneer (who was dressed as a lounge singer). He emptied a few pockets with the reminder that, “It’s for CHARITY!”

A silent auction boutique, named “Shopping for a Cause” looked like a canopy of pirate booty and drew quite a bit of attention during the cocktail hour. A succulent tenderloin dinner, created by Chef Troy Guard (who donned two costumes) was briefly interrupted by a short video presentation about CNI and by considerate updates of the Rockies score.

Finally, celebrity couples strode the catwalk in a People’s Choice award for best costume. Highlights were KC and Kristina Veio as a convincing Posh Spice and David Beckham; Leo Donian and Artemis Donian-Khadiwala positively regal as the last King and Queen of Armenia, Karen and Levon II; Troy and Leigh Guard, who started out the evening as Napolean and Josephine, then tossed out candy on the catwalk as Willy Wonka and an Oompa Loompa (Leigh was Willy). Ultimately, Dr. Peter and Florence Ricci snapped up the prize as the kooky Gomez and Morticia Adams.

The gala’s slogan this year was “Who Will You Be?” Each of us has an opportunity to be a hero. Dan and Dori Hugo have been to three charity events this week. Regarding their attendance, Dan said, “There are people who come to these events because it touches them personally. These are the people who will do what it takes to make a difference," he adds. It doesn’t have to be money. It can be their time, their talent or their teaching others about the issues involved.

You don’t need a cape to be a hero. Just call the Colorado Neurological Institute at 303-788-4010 to find out how you can get involved or learn more at:

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