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October 04, 2002 - Hearts Opened For 15th Annual Fantasy Ball

Where: INVESCO Field at Mile High

When: October 4, 2002

Beneficiary: The Adoption Exchange

Mistress of Ceremonies: Theresa Marchetta, NEWS4

Master of Ceremonies: Ed Greene, NEWS4

Honoree(s): Larry and Jill DiPasquale

Presenting Sponsor(s): Epicurean Catering

Gala Chairperson(s): Ron and Nastassja Zappolo and Mike Shanahan

Corporate Chairperson(s): Daniel and Mary Reilly

Co-Chair(s): Auction: Suellyn Nutt and Jean Wolach; Publicity: Natalie Lyon

Executive Director: Dr. Dixie van de Flier Davis

Committee Members: David Alexander, Sally Armitage, Dawn Benenati, Judi Butt, Jane Christie, Jill and Larry DiPasquale, Margaret Johnson, Jan Kossman, Susan Larkin, Natalie Lyons, Jane Moe, Teri Newland, Cindy Wilkinson Reisch, Karyn Songer, Lisa Sorbo

Staff: Jacki Propernick, Director of Development; Meredith McMorris, Manager of Volunteer Services; Shelbi Perry, Director of Capital Campaign and Planned Giving

Speaker: Dr. Dixie van de Flier Davis, Excutive Director and David Zinger, Chairman of the Board

Catering: Epicurean Catering

Entertainment: Jerry Barnett Productions "Hot Stuff"

Sponsors: Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado, Padgett Family Foundation, Daniel and Mary Reilly, Kroenke Sports Enterprises, Bob and Sharon Magness Foundation, Midtown Occupational Health Services, Starz Encore Group, Ron and Nastassja Zappolo, Denver Broncos Football Club, First American State Bank, Fleishman Sterling & Sharpiro, Jeremy and Angie Flug, SolomonHill, KCNC NEWS4, Sheridan Ross, Lottner Rubin Fishman Brown & Saul, Whiting Petroleum Corp.

Auctioneer: Norm Early

Gala Production: Fastlane Productions

Quote of the evening: "I'd rather build a child then rebuild an adult," Norm Early

Menu: Mixed field greens, grilled beef tenderloin set atop wilted spinach with wild mushrooms and Zinfadel reduction, gold and sweet potato gratin, caramelized baby vegetables, assorted Petit fours and pastries

Attendance: 400

Attire: Cocktail

Information: 303.755.4756

Decor/Rental Company: John Quaiel Designs

Blacktie Photos by: Elizabeth Byrnes

 The DiPasquale clan; Jill, Larry, Christina and Matthew.  The DiPasquales received the 2002 Wednesday's Child Award.
The DiPasquale clan; Jill, Larry, Christina and Matthew. The DiPasquales received the 2002 Wednesday's Child Award. "Children are the gift to the world."

Elizabeth Byrnes

“Open your heart…to open a home, for children who wait” was the message at the 15th Annual Fantasy Ball, presented by Epicurean Entertainment at INVESCO Field at Mile High, on October 4. Over four hundred guests and longtime supporters attended the cocktail-clad gala, where children were encouraged to attend, for the presentation of the Wednesday's Child Award to the DiPasquale family.

The Event Chairs Nastassja and Ron Zappolo and Mike Shanahan were honored to be part of the event. “Adoption has touched our lives and the lives of many of our closest friends,” said Nastassja Zappolo.

She knows first-hand the feeling of not being wanted or loved. At a very young age, Nastassja was placed in foster care and orphanages where she dreamed of simple pleasures like sharing a family dinner and being encouraged with love and affection. This wish never came true for her and now she is determined to fulfill that wish for other children.

The Adoption Exchange opened its doors in 1983 and was established on the belief that every child is entitled to be with a family filled with love and contentment. These children, survivors of severe abuse and neglect, have been removed from their birth families by the child welfare system. The Adoption Exchange works with public and private adoption agencies in Colorado and throughout the country to provide the connection between families who adopt and children who wait.

Since its founding, The Adoption Exchange has assisted over 3,500 children with finding "forever families." Over the past 14 years, proceeds from the Fantasy Balls have totaled more than $1.6 million, representing the placement of 649 waiting children into permanent loving homes.

One of the event sponsors, NEWS4, is part of the large support team that helps The Adoption Exchange reach its goals. The news station KCNC NEWS4 promotes Wednesday's Child, a one-minute spot that airs every Wednesday on the 5PM and 10PM news, highlighting the childhood and history of a child awaiting adoption.

Theresa Marchetta, the Wednesday's Child anchor, has been a proud partner of the program for the last three years. “I get emotionally attached to each child and now that I have my twin babies, I get even more attached.” Theresa told the guests. “The children (awaiting adoption) are vulnerable, they depend on and look up to us…they crave the permanence of a ‘forever family.’”

Gary, a 13-year-old, one of the children that has appeared in the Wednesday's Child spot, told Theresa, “I know that I am going to be adopted, because I was on TV.”

Julie Duncan, 13-years-old, is one of the children who have been adopted through The Adoption Exchange program. In 2001, Clark and Alisa Duncan attended a bowling party at Fat City, one of the activities offered for waiting families and children to get acquainted. They met, fell in love with Julie and quickly decided to have her permanently join their “forever family.” The adoption became legal on August 12, 2002.

The Duncan family presented the 2002 Wednesday's Child Award, an honor that is given to an individual or organizations for outstanding service and commitment to the community, to Larry and Jill DiPasquale for their extraordinary dedication, over the last ten years, to help brighten the futures of waiting children.

The DiPasquales attended their first Fantasy Ball in 1989 where they met Dr. Dixie van de Flier Davis, the Executive Director for The Adoption Exchange. Larry spoke for both himself and Jill, remembering how mesmerized they were by Dixie. “We heard her speak about the organization and we were hooked.”

Larry and Jill, devoted parents to Christina and Matthew, share the notion that “family is very important…that children are gifts to the world.” This belief, along with their enduring efforts and support of The Adoption Exchange, has touched the lives of countless children who are now cherished members of their own families.

“We love the spirit that Matthew brings to our family…and the sensitivities and intellectual aspects that Christina shows,” Larry shared with the audience, talking warmly about their children.

The evening was one of joyful emotion. It was a time for people to meet children who have been part of the Adoption Exchange, to hear success stories and to have a chance to lend a hand, physically and monetarily. “You don’t have to adopt to make an impact,” Theresa Marchetta told the audience. “You are making a difference in the children’s lives by being here and supporting The Adoption Exchange.” An estimated $27,500 was raised in the live auction, led by Norm Early, auctioneer for the event.

Then Jerry Barnett and the “HOT STUFF” got the crowd grooving on the dance floor, continuing late into the evening to the sounds of Motown, Disco and Rock & Roll.

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