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August 15, 2009 - Dancing for Hope Gala Brings New Steps to Fundraising Format

What: 2009 CNI Dancing for Hope Gala

Where: Ritz-Carlton Denver

When: Saturday, August 15, 2009

Time: 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Beneficiary: Care, research, education, outreach for patients with neurological conditions

Honoree(s): Joe & Helenn Franzgrote

EMCEE: Ed Greene, CBS4

Gala Chairperson(s): Douglas Kerbs

Welcome: Douglas Kerbs

Speaker: Dr. Richard Kelley, Board Chair

Libations: Tisdale Wine

Entertainment: Moment's Notice

Of note: Celebrity Dancers: Debra McKenney, Bill Ward, Arlene Johnson, Debi Tepper, Mary White Celebrity Judges: Cleo Parker Robinson, Terry Vitale, Robert Nardozza

Sponsors: MDC/Richmond American Homes Foundation, David & Bonnie Mandarich, Dr. Edward Arenson, LaFawn Biddle, Blue Sky Neurology PC, BNY Mellon Wealth Management, Colorado Dancesport, Craig Hospital, Clark & Kay Gilbert, Don & Arlene Johnson, Dr. Richard & Linda Kelley, Drs. David & Tammie Kelsall, Outrigger Hotels & Resorts, Radiology Imaging Associates PC, Rocky Mountain Movement Disorders Center PC, Dr. Don & Jane Smith, Specialty Neurology PC, Swedish Medical Center, Douglas M. Tisdale Esq., Dr. Marc & Marie Treihaft, Mary White, HealthONE, Art & Kathy Judd, Land Title Guarantee Company

Auctioneer: Doug M. Tisdale, Esq.

Menu: Ritzy Gourmet Selections

Attendance: 400

Attire: Palm Beach Chic

Special Thanks: Colorado Dansport, Colorado Expression Magazine

Event Coordinator: Mary Catherine Moss

Planning Committee: Dance Chair - Roselyn Saunders, Dinner Chair - Bonnie Mandarich, Members - Jamie Angelich, Brian Belt, Annabel Bowlen, Sunny Brownstein, Victoria Frank, Laurel Gilbert, Chad Glauser, Lisa Glauser, Andrea Gray, Troy Guard, Pamela Helm, Gail Johnson, Caroline Karlin, Artemis Khadiwala-Donian, Brent Kline, Holly Kylberg, David Mandarich, Geoff McFarlane, Robert Nardozza, Stephanie Odak, Paul Orrell, Frances Owens, Barbara Parks, Dr. Dean Prina, Dana Rebhun, Stephanie Riggs, Nancy Sevo, Leigh Sullivan-Guard, Doug Tisdale, John Tobey, K.C. Veio, Kristina Veio, Jean Watt, Judi Wolf

Board of Directors: Chairman - Dr. Richard Kelley, Treasurer - Lucille "Lucky" Gallagher, Secretary - Jon E. Stuck, Members - Dr. Edward Arenson, Theron Bell, Lynn Bunnell, Dr. John Burnett, Norman Dyer, Dr. Donald Frei, Stanley Gallery, Lynda Gumeson, Arthur Judd, Dr. David Kelsall, Douglas Kerbs, Bonnie Mandarich, Dr. John McVicker, Haven Moses, Dennis O'Malley, Dr. Barbara Lynne Phillips, Dr. Peter Ricci, Dr. Don Smith, Douglas Tisdale, Mary White, Luanne Williams

Blacktie Photos by: M. Darcy

 Frances Owens, left, Diane Huttner, Dan Sharp, Roselyn Saunders and Keri Christiansen.
Frances Owens, left, Diane Huttner, Dan Sharp, Roselyn Saunders and Keri Christiansen.

Dancing for Hope Gala Brings New Steps to Fundraising Format

Story by M. Darcy

Everyone should have a cause, something they can feel proud to stand up for. It's a reflection of what you care about and why, but you can also reflect yourself in the cause. Douglas Kerbs stood up before his peers and announced that CNI is his cause. As Chairman of the August 15 Dancing for Hope Gala, Kerbs put his stamp on the Colorado Neurological Institute's third Competitive Dance fundraiser. And delivered on his promise to make this year's event “anything but typical.”

The evening began with an elegant lounge experience involving three flowing spaces – a private silent auction room, multiple epicurean stations, and an open mezzanine amid downtown's abstract architectural backdrop. Doug Tisdale's cash bar was conveniently centered to wet - or whet - conversation. The stations pampered guests to a Ritzy gourmet selection of imported antipasto, juicy sliced round on handmade rolls, and made-to-order couscous entrees by Ritz-Carlton chefs.

The program was refreshingly relaxed with ample time to mingle and monitor one's auction bid. The tempo revved up and ballroom doors opened when Moment's Notice began belting out some classic funk. Guests brought their food and drinks to their tables – a nice change from the usual, distracting sit-down meal. Hotel staff were still on hand, however, to bring one anything else they desired. CBS4 newsman, Ed Greene, as emcee, and Doug Tisdale as auctioneer kept counter-point in keeping the energy high throughout the evening.

The program alternated nicely between a live auction and the dance competition. Colorado Dancesport instructors led the night with a jaw-dropping synchronized tango. They've been training the celebrity dancers since June – and it showed – each pair perfecting a classic dance form, making it difficult for the judges to determine a winner. Dance school founders, Cleo Parker Robinson, Robert Nardozza and Colorado Expression Magazine's Terry Vitale comprised the celebrity judging team. They ruled that Smart Girl co-founder, Debra McKinney, a “sexy, sassy” devil in a (little) blue dress, earned the title of Cha-Cha Diva. Bill Ward, owner of MiniBar-Cherry Creek, made Travolta look sloppy. His “connected, in-synch rhythm” took home the Hustle King Award.

Community leader and Clinical Nursing Instructor, Debi Tepper, started off coy, then ripped off her long skirt to reveal the serious mini-skirt beneath and stunned judges with the “greatest dip” of the evening, thus capturing the Salsa Spirit Award. Another well-known community leader, Arlene Mohler-Johnson, brought a scream of cheers from the audience when she stepped on the floor in a black sequined, low-cut gown. Judges were thrilled by her “courage to perform a difficult dance with tricky footwork” and bestowed upon her the Cabaret Cutie Award. The final contestant, Mary White, CEO and President of Swedish Medical Center, wearing a sky-blue, silver-striped ball gown held perfect frame during an intricate Tango. Judges lauded her with “Tango Queen.” At last, the Judges Choice Award went to Bill Ward and his partner Alison Whelan, while the People's Choice Award went to Arlene Mohler-Johnson and her partner Brook Metcalfe.

It must be noted that Joey Santos designed the stunning costumes (except for Bill Ward's white leisure suit, which he swears did not come from his closet). Funds raised at the Gala go toward CNI's care, education, research and outreach programs for patients with neurological conditions. But the Gala is also an important moment to recognize philanthropic pillars through the Dawn Denzer Community Leader Award. This year's award went to Joe and Helenn Franzgrote. Joe, a CNI Movement Disorders patient himself, and Helenn helped establish an endowed medical chair in that Center. “(It) was the very least we could do to keep such an outstanding talent practicing within our community,” they said. The Franzgrotes have long been the epitome of Denver's charitable community, leading the way and encouraging others to join them in supporting a cause.

With over six million Americans dealing with a degenerative neurological disorder, such as MS, Parkinson's, Alzheimer’s, stroke, epilepsy and many others, chances are good that CNI's work will affect you or someone you know. You may already be benefitting from their research on migraines and sleep disorders, or maybe you know a child who has been given the gift of sound with a cochlear implant. Supporting CNI is as simple as a box-step, as simple as checking the box on your charitable donation tax form, as simple as showing up for one of the best parties in town. Find out what they're all about at then give them a call at (303) 788-4010 to learn other ways you can put your best foot forward and make CNI your cause.

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