On Saturday May 19 2018 I was able to observe Runway to Hope's 2018 Spring Fashion Soiree at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, alongside almost 2,500 others in attendance!
As guests approached the main ballrooms of the resort, they had to first pass through the silent auction area where they could bid on dozens of high-value items like pre-paid vacations, celebrity-autographed merchandise, and exclusive theme park tickets. As you meandered throughout this area, you could stop one of the servers passing by and sample a complimentary (and very tasty) hors d'oeuvres, or grab yourself a Tito's Handmade Vodka sample that flowed from the ice sculpture bearing its namesake. If you were on the careful lookout, you might spot a celebrity or two, as there were many in attendance, eagerly waiting to celebrate the organization's signature fundraising event of the year.
When the ballroom doors opened, guests poured into the beautifully adorned ballroom, with far more white-linen draped tables than I was able to count. It was in this massive ballroom that organization founders Mark E. NeJame and his beautiful wife, Josie, made their opening remarks to welcome the attendees. They were soon joined by celebrity hosts Joey Fatone, Lisa Ling, and Melissa Rivers. It was then explained how previous Runway to Hope donations helped to create several special programs in central Florida such as the brain tumor program at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, and an interventional radiology department at Nemours Children's Hospital. In 2017, generous contributions helped prevent 12 families from being evicted from their homes when medical bills became too overwhelming for families to finance. In 2018 alone, some 186 families were assisted in some capacity through Runway.
There the live auction portion of the night took place, where some very special items went up for bid. Some of these items included: a pair of 17 ct Blue sapphire earrings valued at $15k, an exlusive NASCAR ultimate fan adventure package, and ultra-exclusive getaway packages to ALBANY, Bahamas and Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort. The grand finale item was the Runway to Hope piece of art that was signed by over 150 of the runway models battling pediatric cancer who took to the stage with their celebrity escorts, where they happily greeted guests lining the catwalk.
This was the 2nd year CentralFloridaReview .com was able to attend this event, and I sincerely hope to have the fortunate opportunity to be invited back. This is a wonderful organization, making very powerful differences in the lives of many throughout central Florida. Hope to see you support this beautiful organization...
-- Bailey Guinigundo