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  • Sally Gerak

Week of 1.8.18

Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Celebration

The images of two passionate “mama bears” and two compassionate physicians dominate this reporter’s memory of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation 50th anniversary celebration. Honoree Iris Yellen and Mission Moment speaker Carol Roberts are the protective mothers. Each had a child with the disease and each “...had to do something,” as Roberts said. (In 1973 she established the Michigan chapter, now one of more than 250, volunteer-led chapters nationwide.) In his remarks as keynote speaker, Yellen’s husband Sheldon described her tenacious fundraising for inflammatory bowel disease research. The physicians – 92-year old Dr. Manny Sklar, the Michigan chapter Physician founder, and Dr. Ernie Drelichman, the 2017 Lifetime Achievement awardee – both spoke earnestly about the privilege of caring for the whole person like they are family. “(Dr.D) is an extraordinary doctor...a mom’s best friend...who answers every question and understands a mom’s worry,” Iris said. All speakers got standing applause from the 550 supporters ($150 & up tickets) at the Royal Oak Emagine Theatre where they were also celebrating the Michigan Chapter’s 40th annual Evening at the Movies. Before the program emceed by Fox 2’s Lee Thomas (“I have Crohn’s,” he announced), they socialized, sipped and made strolling dinner selections. After the program, many went to the movies. The annual fundraiser raised an all time high of more than $255,000.

Mistletoe Marketplace

Kerri Vizena chaired the 14th version of the Assistance League of Southeast Michigan’s major fundraiser which attracted 720 supporters ($85, $100 tickets) to a new venue – Troy’s San Marino Club. It provided convenient access and comfortable space for the pre-luncheon diversions. These included a silent auction of 50-plus items, displays by 23 boutique vendors who offered a wide variety of appealing merchandise, raffles and a mini edition of the league’s own, up-scale, ReSale Connection Shop. Highlights of the luncheon program included president Rosemary Dirksen’s welcome, honorary chair Monica Gayle’s moving description of the league’s School Belle project and the league’s Make a Difference video. It captures the hands on activities of the 300-plus members of the all-volunteer organization that clothes, feeds, educates and comforts infants, children and adults in southeast Michigan. The popular event raised more than $115,000 for the Assistance League.

FAR Friends and Fa-La-La

The annual show that stars participants in FAR Therapeutic Arts and Recreation kicked off with a Pre-Glow supper reception for 155 guests ($150 ticket). They sipped, socialized and savored cuisine by FAR advisory board member Annabel Cohen’s Annabel Cohen Cooks Detroit before joining 500 more fans ($75) for the Be Inspired show in the Seligman Performing Arts Center at Detroit Country Day School. Highlights included emcee Alan Lee’s banter; the FAR artists’ artwork enlarged as the stage backdrops; the performers and their bows to thunderous applause; and the presentation of three awards. The Ted Lindsay Foundation for Autism, singer Steve Acho and volunteer Dale Hollandsworth were honored for exceptional support of FAR’s programs. The high fives and lots of happy smiles dominated the the dessert afterglow. The 17th annual production raised $115,000 for the non-profit that provides creative arts and recreation therapy to people with special needs.

Preservation Bloomfield Tea & Tiara Luncheon

More than 100 attended the Friends of Preservation Bloomfield’s British-accented luncheon at Pine Lake Country Club. Pre-dining diversions included music by International Academy singers, trying on hats designed by Rachelle Willnus, bidding on silent auction items, having a photograph taken with British royalty, and surveying the LK Bennett fashions being modeled and the for-sale tablescapes by talented supporters of the historic preservation organization. Creators included Contessa and Rosemary Bannon; Ginny Bennett, Barbara Balow, Sueann Schellig and Barbara Suhay; Kathy Dalton; Klaren Gerhart; Pat Hardy and Molly Robinson; Patti Jessup; Joanne Cherney and Judy Kelliher; Joyce Koreman; Mavis Kuo; Sue Nine; Carol Shaya and Cynthia Von Oeyen. Culinary highlights included scones, cucumber salad, cottage pie and English trifle. Preservation Bloomfield president Michael Dul revealed that he is devoted to the organization because, as a landscape architect, the only time he usually sees the man client is for the first conference. After that the wives’ ideas rule. He also noted that five men volunteers recently shared a pioneer style, dinner by candlelight in the Craig Log Cabin and news that the organization has raised $1-million-plus in 10 years. Erin Schweibold was the lucky winner of the Queen for a Day package.

Check in the coming weeks for reports & photos from these events:

South Oakland Shelter Dancing with Detroit Stars

Women’s Division Project HOPE Luncheon & Boutique

Angels Place 25th Anniversary Dinner

Christ Child Society Christmas Home Tour

Ronald McDonald House Tea

Kidney Ball

The Boys & Girls Clubs Great Futures Gala

Meadow Brook Hall Starlight Stroll

Detroit Historical Society Ball

Detroit Symphony Orchestra New Year’s Eve Bash

Send ideas for this column to Sally Gerak, 28 Barbour Lane, Bloomfield Hills, 48304, email or call (248) 646-6390.


After 12 years of staging The Gallery at the MGM Grand, it is now the official kick-off of the North American International Auto Show and will be 6:30 – 11 pm, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018 in the Atrium at Cobo Center. It is a night of fine food and the world’s most exclusive automobiles. Guests will see a nearly $10-million collection of the most acclaimed automobiles the world has to offer, including brands such as Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and Rolls Royce, to name just a few. A silent auction will benefit C.S. Mott Children’s hospital. For tickets ($250) call 248-283-5126 or go to All NAIAS ticket information, including the Charity Preview Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, is available at both places.

Lisa & Bill Ford and Kathy & Jim Hackett are hosting 2018 AutoGlow, An Evening in Casablanca, at Ford Field before and after the above-mentioned NAIAS Charity Preview. Plans for The Children’s Center fundraiser include valet parking, shuttle service to and from Cobo, tastes from the culinary talents of Ford Field's Levy Restaurants throughout the evening, including a pre-event reception, full strolling dinner service, desserts and full bar service, live music and dancing to the Nightline band and a late night menu. AutoGlow tickets are $275 each when purchased by Dec. 15, and $325 after that date. For AutoGlow tickets and sponsorship information call The Children’s Center at 313- 262-1085 or go to In order to purchase an AutoGlow ticket, individuals must be a NAIAS Charity Preview ticket holder. To order NAIAS Charity Preview tickets, call (888) 838-7500. The Children’s Center is one of eight charities benefiting from North American International Auto Show Charity Preview proceeds

Elise and Steve Guidos are hosting the Preview Party for the annual CARE House Circle of Friends event Thursday evening, Jan. 18, 2018 at their Bloomfield Hills home. The guest of honor will be abuse survivor Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Mulcahy. He is the featured speaker at the main event, the Circle of Friends Luncheon, Thursday, Jan. 25 at The Townsend. Jeana Asmaro and Elise are the chairs. For tickets, ($125 and up) call CARE House at 248-332-7173 or go to

David King and Dante Rosa are chairing the Chili Mac & Apps Cook-Off benefiting Variety. The Children’s Charity, 6:30 pm Friday, Jan. 26, 2018 at The Townsend Hotel. Plans include, chili, mac’n’ cheese and appetizers from noted area chefs vying for “best” titles, open bar and foot-stomping music for dancing. For tickets ($100 & $150) go online to or call 248-258-5511.

Patti Brozek and Bridget Sagmani are chairing the Dancing with our St. Regis Stars Gala Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 at the Detroit Golf Club. Plans include strolling dinner, drinks, DJ, live auction, wine, champagne and bourbon wall, 50/50 raffle, a cigar tent, souvenir photos and a dance contest. It will feature six St. Regis celebrities - Roseann Donaldson, Krustin Impasto, Meghan Rivard, Nick Gorga, Mike Kulka and Gaabe Zawaideh – performing with professional dancers from Fred Astaire Dance Studio. For tickets (VIP-$250; General-$150) and to vote for dancers go to Proceeds benefit St. Regis School.

Ethan Davidson is the keynote speaker at The Community House Bates Street Society dinner Saturday, Feb. 3 at The Community House. The celebration of service and philanthropy will honor 2018 Pillars of Society inductees Dr. David DiChiera, Dr. Robert Folberg, Geoffrey Hockman, Julie Rodecker, Judge Gerald E. Rosen, Paul W. Smith and Katie Valenti. Plans include valet parking, cocktails, three course seated dinner and live entertainment. For tickets ($300-patron, includes 6 pm reception with honorees past and present; $200-6:30pm admission), go to Philanthropy at or call 248-644-5832.

Sue Atwell, Joellen Shortley and Cathy Brooks are the leadership team for the Marian High School Mardi Gras, Saturday, Feb.3 at the high school. Plans include Creole cuisine, open bar, silent and live auctions, dancing to the Good Gravy band, scholarship raffle and camaraderie.

The Birmingham Education Foundation’s annual Unabashed Bash is Saturday, February 10 at The Townsend Hotel. It will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the foundation. Plans include online, silent and live auctions, dinner and student entertainment. To donate auction items and become sponsors contact Alison Hendry at 248-203-3030.

Send ideas for this column to Sally Gerak, 28 Barbour Lane, Bloomfield Hills, 48304 or email

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