Chelsea Hutchison Foundation's Casino Royale Fundraiser


The Casino Royale Gala is the 8th Annual event benefiting the Chelsea Hutchison Foundation (CHF), a non-profit supporting individuals and families living with epilepsy, a neurological disorder marked by sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, or convulsions.

The annual fundraiser was held Saturday, April 22 at the The Marriott Denver South in Lone Tree with emcee Deb Sheppard welcoming guests to the program followed by live auctioneer, Adam Kevil, and comments from Executive Director/Founder Julie Hutchison and board member Toni New. Speaker Jennifer Pressey thanked guests for their support and described how the organization guided and helped she and her husband cope directly with epilepsy in their family.

CHF is named after Chelsea Hutchison, who passed away April 19, 2009, at the age of 16 after suffering an epileptic seizure. Parents Julie and Doug Hutchison founded the organization to raise awareness of SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy) and use it to provide comfort and hope to individuals and families living with epilepsy. The organization helps provide monitoring devices to kids living with epilepsy and also funds response dogs which provide vital support such as calling for help, bringing emergency medication to the patient & bracing a fall.

Special thanks went to the gala committee: Lindsay Armstrong, Ashlee Baldwin, Stacie Bowman, Sam Dudley, Shellie Jacobucci; and to event volunteers: Doreen Christian, Kathy Erdman, Sara Foster, Michelle Gorbatjuk, Paula Padavic, Michelle Smith, and Mary Stone.

An estimated 3 million Americans and 65 million people worldwide currently live with epilepsy. It is estimated that up to 50,000 deaths occur annually in the U.S. from prolonged seizures, Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP), and other seizure-related causes such as drowning and other accidents.
To volunteer, make a donation or support CHF please visit or by email:

National Repertory Orchestra Gala: Carnaval Night in Rio


This year’s benefit Gala for the acclaimed National Repertory Orchestra titled “Carnaval Night in Rio” was held June 25 at the Sheraton Downtown Hotel with nearly 300 music-loving guests in attendance.


NRO Guests enjoy the Carnaval in Rio event held Saturday, June 25 at the Sheraton Downtown Denver

In recognition of the 2016 Olympics to be hosted in August in Rio de Janeiro, the dining and reception area featured a tropical theme executed by John Tobey Design and provided a colorful neon pastel spectrum of lights with palm trees and Rio’s legendary beachfront. Dancing entertainment was provided by Samba Colorado featuring Kebrina DeJesus and Jontae Piper.

Based in Breckenridge, Colorado, the National Repertory Orchestra (NRO) is an intensive fellowship that attracts the best of the best from leading conservatories and music schools. Among this year’s sponsors are: MDC – Richmond American Foundation, Breckenridge Grand Vacations, Climax Molybdenum, First Western Trust.

Carnaval Event Chair Wendy King and Julie Chandler, NRO Director of Marketing and Development, were on hand with staff and volunteers as were NRO Music Director Carl Topilow, wife Shirley, and daughter Emily.

Reception P1070275 Reception

Guests enjoyed the silent auction

Welcoming guests were Orchestra CEO Doug Adams and wife, Pam, and several Board Members including President Patrice Lara, Nancy French, Janice Ward Parrish, Pam Wiegand, and Pam Piper Yeung. Also attending were long-time NRO supporters  Ernie and Sharon Magness Blake, Bonnie and David Mandarich, Lynn and Lisa Taussig, Karen Frisone, Steve and Carmen Wiest and many others.

Every year the NRO provides an opportunity for bright, young musicians to perfect their craft. Auditions are held for nearly 1,000 musicians between the ages of 18 and 29 in about 25 different cities across the country to fill the 88 tuition-free spots of the orchestra. Although few of the musicians have met or played together previously they quickly adapt and learn to play together in outstanding synchronicity as an orchestra.

During the eight-week season, NRO musicians perform more than two dozen concerts which is about the same as a full-time orchestra performs in a nine-month season. To review the this year’s season, purchase tickets, volunteer or to get more information visit the NRO web site at


2016 Ride the Rockies: Carbondale to Ft. Collins


Anticipation ran high for the unveiling of this June’s Ride the Rockies official route through Colorado, a mystery always of interest to amateur and professional cyclists.

The mystery was unlocked at The Denver Post’s Ride the Rockies Preview Party held Saturday, February 6 at the EXDO Event Center. The 2016 route runs from Carbondale to Fort Collins and will host some 2,000 cyclists.

Ride the Rockies Tour Director Chandler Smith, Community Relations Director Renee Wheelock, Event Coordinator Liz Brown, and Denver Post representatives led the proceedings featuring some 275 guests with support from event sponsors Suncor and Odell Brewing, professional cyclists, and various cycling companies. This year’s Presenting Sponsor is ViaWest Inc., a Greenwood Village-based IT and hosting company with 2,000 customers globally.

Now in its 31st edition, the 2016 Ride the Rockies event will run through Independence Pass, ascend Fremont, Tennessee, Vail and Ute Pass and finish through the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park by way of Trail Ridge Road–the nation’s highest through-road and among the state’s most scenic byways.

A diverse selection of music was provided by Deja Blu Variety Dance Band led by songstress Liz Valles. And a collection of game stations including Guess the Route, Spin-Off, Silent Auction and Celebrity Bidding for a Big Wheel-style trike race kept guests entertained.

Emcee Dave Towle oversaw the celebrity trike race featuring champion cyclists Alison Dunlap, Timmy Duggan, Chris Carmichael, Ron Kiefel, and Nelson Vails. These cycling legends raced guests in various spin-off contests throughout the evening and served as bartenders serving suds from sponsor Odell Brewing Co. Tour Director Chandler Smith thanked sponsors and guests for their support and Wheelock called out raffle ticket numbers for winners of the door prizes and games. Donna Unger took home a high-end bike donated by Jose Rios from

Representatives from each of the six 2016 community hosts that help support and promote this event this year are:

  • Carbondale  – Andrea Stewart; Executive Director Carbondale Chamber of Commerce
  • Aspen – Sandra Doebler; Special Events Coordinator, City of Aspen
  • Copper Mountain  – Kimberly Trembearth; Copper Mountain Resort
  • Grand Lake – Town Manager Jim White and Samantha Miller, Executive Director of Grand Lake Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Estes Park – Lexy Jacobson, Event Coordinator Town of Estes Park & Elvis the Elk (aka, Matt Lemke)
  • Fort Collins  – Kim Palmer, Director of Business Development, Visit Fort Collins

The 2016 Ride the Rockies route was unveiled at 8:45 p.m. and features a trek from Carbondale to Fort Collins to be conducted over 6 days, 403 miles and 2,000 cyclists trekking through the state. The highlight of this year’s course features a route through Independence Pass, Fremont Pass, Tennessee Pass, Vail Pass and Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park.

Registration for Ride the Rockies are being accepted through February 28 at 5 p.m. MST to participate in this popular event held from June 11-17. All proceeds from Ride The Rockies go to The Denver Post Community Foundation (DPCF) which distributes funds to dozens of Colorado non-profits in the areas of arts, youth, education and human services. For more information visit

The 2016 Ride the Rockies Route Map

The 2016 Ride the Rockies Route Map

Representatives from 6 communities hosting the 2016 Ride the Rockies

Representatives from 6 communities hosting the 2016 Ride the Rockies

Chandler Smith, Chris Carmichael, Alison Dunlap, Ron Kieflin, Nelson Vails, Timmy Duggan

Chandler Smith, Chris Carmichael, Alison Dunlap, Ron Kieflin, Nelson Vails, Timmy Duggan

"Born To Be Me!" Arc Thrift Stores' Gala Event

“Born To Be Me!” is Arc Thrift Stores’ annual star-studded gala.  The event honors the spirit and individuality of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities – as well as the individuals and businesses who support this important community.  This year’s theme is “Starstruck!”  “It’s a fun way to get the word out about the great work that we’re able to get done through our stores and the donations we collect,” said Arc Thrift Stores President and CEO Lloyd Lewis.

Cocktails, an elegant dinner, fashion show, live music, and a silent auction made for an amazing night.  Former Colorado Congressman Bob Beauprez and his wife Claudia are co-chairs of the event and were on hand to MC the live auction.  KUSA’s TaRhonda Thomas is the event’s emcee.

Three “Heroes of the Year” – each with a disability and each nominated by their peers – were honored. This year’s Heroes are:

  • Vicky Kaiser, a fitting room attendant at Arc Thrift Stores’ Hancock store in Colorado Springs.
  • Dusty Lee Miles, a men’s clothing hanger at Arc Thrift Stores’ Pueblo store.
  • Garret Ringie, a donation attendant and unloader at the Green Mountain Arc Thrift Store in Lakewood,

As the major fundraiser for arc Thirft Stores, this event gives the children and adults served by The Arc Chapters an opportunity to lead independent, fulfilled, happy and productive lives in our community.  All of the items sold at the auction were refurbished from items purchased at Arc Thrift Stores. These items are purchased for mere dollars at one of the stores and then up-cycled and given new life and new purpose.

Since 1968, arc Thrift Stores has been the funding arm for thirteen Arc Chapters across the State of Colorado. Arc Thirft Stores currently own 22 thrift stores along the Front Range, and employ more than 200 individuals with disabilities, making it one of the largest integrated employers of people with disabilities in Colorado.  Arc Thirft Stores offer enrichment programs, job training and placement, as well as social activities for our employees with disabilities, known as Arc Ambassadors.




8th Annual Grapes Against Wrath benefiting F.A.C.E.S.


More than 200 guests attended the Family Advocacy, Care, Education, Support nonprofit or F.A.C.E.S. 8th Annual Grapes Against Wrath signature event September 17 at the regal Magnolia Hotel in downtown Denver.

A silent auction, appetizers and cocktails provided a back drop for enthusiastic supporters with music provided by solo musician Jimmi Nasi and a live auction led by Doug Tisdale.

Executive Director Rita Harding and Development Director Kendell Aitchison circulated throughout the night with support from board members and staff.

Among the highlights of the event was the live auction of an autographed hockey stick from Colorado Avalanche Forward Nathan MacKinnon‘s with the winning bid by Board Member and long-time supporter Sarah Stoneking.

F.A.C.E.S was developed to provide parenting education, support and advocacy services for the prevention of child abuse, neglect and family violence nearly 40 years ago.

The mission of F.A.C.E.S. is to prevent child abuse, neglect, and family violence. Since its founding in 1974 the organization has served more than 6,000 families in the Denver metro region through its home visitation program, community-based parenting classes and professional family counseling.

For more information visit


Talking about Hope, Soaring and Spying

SR-71 “Blackbird” pilot Brian Shul and navigator Walter Watson took guests of the 4th annual Wings of Hope benefit on a riveting ride. The duo detailed their covert spy plane missions and shared about the unbelievable individual journey each one took to soar in the world’s fastest flying jet. Brain Shul also signed copies of his award-winning books “Sled Driver” and “The Untouchables.”

Prior to the headline presentation, City of Castle Pines Founding Mayor and Wings of Hope for Pancreatic Cancer Research Founder Maureen Shul gracefully and poetically shared her story of launching the organization. In 2012, she lost both her brother and mother to pancreatic cancer. She channeled her grief into providing hope. In its first year, Wings of Hope raised $45,000, which doubled the following year to $90,000. In 2013, Wings of Hope entered into a formal partnership with the University of Colorado Cancer Center. As a result, Wings of Hope efforts became focused on raising awareness and funding for the pancreatic cancer research ongoing at the CU Cancer Center. In 2015, Wings of Hope established the first endowment for pancreatic cancer research at the CU Cancer Center and is on track to raise $250,000 for CU’s pancreatic cancer research.

“What starts as a single cell gone awry takes monumental effort to fight,” shared Maureen. That effort needs increase as pancreatic cancer, currently the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths, is on track to move to number two within the next five years.

She was followed by Dr. Lisa Goodman, who relayed how her medical training helped her advocate for her father to get tested further for his back pain, an act which ultimately revealed he had pancreatic cancer. She channeled her grief into organizing a golf tournament in her father’s honor and brightly shared that it raised $20,000. The funds are going to help Wings of Hope in its mission to fund ongoing pancreatic cancer research.

“I’m excited to partner with Wings of Hope,” said a smiling Dr. Goodman. “It’s an honor to work with Maureen.”

Elias Gebru, originally from Africa, spoke beautifully about his journey of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and despite not having his own family here, had family through Wings of Hope. People, such as Dr. Purcell, helped him navigate his treatment and balance his living situation.

Dr. Jill Pechacek came to the podium with five guiding words. The first was Dream. Since she was 4, she dreamed of being a physician. At 26, months away from realizing that dream, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She went through treatment while finishing medical school. She elected not to have surgery so she had a shot at her next dream: Motherhood. With palpable pride, she shared she is the mother of three and pointed out her children sitting in the second row. She gave Faith as her third word. She now has a new challenge and needs faith and strength to say each day “Not ‘Why me,’ but instead ‘Chose me, Use me so I may do some good and help others today.’” She’s strong in her faith as, at age 46, she was diagnosed with stage-4 pancreatic cancer.

“I tell every doctor ‘I need 10.’ They don’t understand and I say ‘I need 10 years so I can see my children graduate from high school,’ ” shared Dr. Pechacek.

She added Grateful and Give to her list, relaying that she is grateful for every moment, especially those with her children and encouraged the audience to give supporting words, volunteer time and contribute their resources.

“If you can give someone the words ‘I believe in You’ you will be giving powerfully. Those words fuel my faith and fill my spirit.”

A silent slide show closed the opening segment of the program. With the same grace in which all the messaging was delivered, the last slide read “Heartfully. Hopefully. Honestly. Thank You.” These simple words of truth conveyed the deep appreciation Wings of Hope has for its supporters. Yet, the one who wrote them, Maureen Shul, is the one most deserving of them.





2015 Little Hearts Luncheon and Fashion Show


This year’s paparazzi arrived in full force and quickly gathered along the makeshift catwalk set up at Wings Over the Rockies museum. Guests scrambled with cameras, tablets, smartphones, and digicams to capture more than two dozen models featured at the Little Hearts Luncheon and Fashion Show. Proud parents, families, physicians and guests celebrated successful outcomes for the young heart patients celebrating their new lives ahead. And, thanks to passionate event organizer and hostess Lyn Schaffer, this year marked the 30th anniversary of this fun-filled event which benefits Children’s Hospital Colorado Heart Institute–one of the nation’s premier facilities for specialized cardiac surgeries.

More than 300 attended the Friday, April 10 party at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum in Denver’s Lowry neighborhood. Lyn and her husband, Dr. Michael Schaffer, CHC Foundation staff, and a team of dedicated volunteers, oversee the luncheon and kids fashion show featuring 30 young heart patients who are happily thriving thanks to surgeons, nurses and healthcare professionals.

Lyn Schaffer thanked the guests for their support and introduced emcee, 9News anchor Kim Christiansen, who provided running commentary for the models/patients ranging in age from 6-year-olds to older teens.

Fashions were provided by Dillard’s with hairstyles and makeup overseen by Irene Zimmer and her team at 3rd Ave Studio and partners at Simply Moore. The models were accompanied by friends, families, volunteers, physicians, firefighters from South Metro Fire Rescue, and four-legged friends from CHC’s Prescription Pets Program, which includes dog-assisted therapy and pet visitation services. Dr. Michael Schaffer, a CHC pediatric cardiologist, awarded Dr. Max Mitchell the Heart Who Cares Award.

Special thanks went to Presenting Sponsors Anna and John J. Sie Foundation; Clothing Sponsor: Joyce F. Daily, Houston, Texas;  Premier Sponsors: Mr. & Mrs. Greg Ruzicka; and Supporting Sponsors: Biscuits and Berries, and Mike and Cyd Rodriguez.

Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Heart Institute is ranked among the top 20 pediatric hospitals in the nation for heart care and surgery and is led by pediatric cardiologist Dr. Dunbar Ivy and pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. James Jaggers.


It is one of only eight stand-alone pediatric research centers in the nation and one of the fastest-growing pediatric cardiac programs. The institute is comprised of more than 15 departments, including cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery, heart transplant, and other specialties.

The Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation funds high quality care, support to families of patients and research into pediatric disease. Serious pediatric disease is extremely stressful for patients and their families and the Children’s Hospital Foundation raises funds to ease the burden of these families.  In addition, the research they fund helps to decrease the number of children needing treatment.

Upcoming Foundation fundraisers include Children’s Colorado Hoops Fest on May 2 and Climb for Courage Stair Climb on June 27. For more information visit: 


Ride the Rockies Premiere Party


More than 250 attended the 4th Annual Ride the Rockies Route Premiere Party featuring live music, cocktails and a silent auction at the Denver Center for Performing Arts Seawell Grand Ballroom, Saturday, February 7. Celebrating its 30th Anniversary in 2015, this year’s event will once again take cyclists on a challenging and picturesque tour through unique small town Colorado.

Held annually in June Ride The Rockies is a non-competitive event open to cyclists of all ages that takes riders–ages 10 to 70–through some of Colorado’s most scenic and historic areas. Cyclists typically ride 70 miles daily through some of Colorado’s most panoramic towns and communities with more than 100 volunteers supporting participants through the challenging course.

The Premiere Party provides an opportunity for sponsors, participants, cyclists and their friends and families to preview the route and share stories of cycling exploits. The route changes annually so many guests stopped by the Route Guessing Station where Denver Post Business Reporter Steve Raabe took $5 donations per guess.

Ride the Rockies Tour Director Chandler Smith, Community Relations Director Renee Wheelock, Event Coordinator Liz Brown, and Denver Post representatives ensured that guests enjoyed the evening. Presenting sponsor Suncor and Product Sponsors Odell Brewing, Colterris Wine and Maggiano’s provided silent auction items, food and drink for the crowd.

After the cocktail reception and silent auction guests entered the ballroom to hear Wheelock call out raffle ticket numbers and silent auction winners. Tour Director Chandler Smith provided a historic event overview filled with anecdotes covering three decades. Suncor representative Lisha Burnett described her company’s commitment to Colorado communities in conjunction with The Denver Post Community Foundation.

Each year host towns and communities provide alternative lodging, inexpensive community meals and entertainment for riders. Representatives from each of the seven 2015 community hosts that help support and promote this event this year were: Barb Bowman of Grand Junction; Carrie Yantzer of Hotchkiss; Tammy Scott of Gunnison; Eliza Cress of Crested Butte; Brandy Coscarella of Salida; Lisa Hyams of Cañon City; and Rene Smith of Westcliffe.

The secret route for this June’s Ride the Rockies bike tour remained a secret until it was unveiled around 8:30 p.m. on two large ballroom screens. The event ended with Himani Williams taking home a high-end bicycle from Wheat Ridge Cyclery purchased by Suncor.

Registration for Ride the Rockies Applications will be accepted through March 1st at 5PM MST. All proceeds from Ride The Rockies go to The Denver Post Community Foundation (DPCF) which distributes funds to dozens of Colorado non-profits in the areas of arts, youth, education and human services. For more information visit





Joy of Giving Benefiting Justice and Mercy Legal Aid Clinic


The annual Joy of Giving party sponsored by the Bachus & Schanker Cares Foundation this year benefited Justice & Mercy Legal Aid Clinic (JAMLAC). The holiday event was held Friday, December 5 at the Law Offices of Bachus & Schanker winner of the 2014 Small Business Award presented by Colorado’s National Philanthropy Day last month.

More than $18,000 was raised with proceeds directly benefiting the clients served at the Justice and Mercy Legal Aid Clinic (JAMLAC), a Denver-based non-profit law firm that provides safe and confidential resource for victims of daily hardship and cruelty.

Kyle Bachus and Darin Schanker were on hand to host the event attended by some 125 guests. The event featured a cocktail reception, holiday music led by trombonist Aidan King, a live and silent auction, and comments from host Darin Schanker and JAMLAC Executive Director Steve Thompson, who thanked donors and supporters.

Keeping the festivities in order were Communications pro Andrea Brito-Amador and JAMLAC Development Director Nikki Koster.

Also in attendance were: Scott Lumpkin, Vice Chancellor, University Advancement, University of Denver; Robert Kelso and Misty Ewegen of Forensic Pursuit; JP and Carrie Prins of Agren Blando Court Reporting; Hannah Dudley of Judi’s House. Among JAMLAC staff on hand were: Immigration Director Tina Diaz, Sulma Mendoza, JAMLAC Coordinator; Greg Fuchs, Director of Denver Urban Semester; Kelsey Winters, Director of Development, Joshua Station; and other staffers.

Founded in 2006, JAMLAC is a faith-based, non-profit law firm that provides safe and confidential resource for victims of daily hardship and cruelty. Full-time attorneys, paralegals, interns and volunteers manage approximately 50 active cases each week. Last year, JAMLAC provided civil legal services to over 800 low-income clients, 97% of whom were victims of domestic abuse.

For more information on JAMLAC visit





34th Annual Heart of Hearts Gala


It’s not often you attend a charity event that transports you to Venice, Italy. With the help of vivacious circus performers and elaborate Venetian carnivals masks, the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel was dramatically transformed for an evening of fundraising and frivolity.

As guests entered the Rocky Mountain Adventist Healthcare Foundation’s 34th Heart of Hearts Gala, they were warmly greeted by volunteers and eccentric performers from Bella Luna Cirque. Instantly, Denver’s chilly weather was forgotten. Dancers twirled around the room, entertaining the guests with their whimsical charm. A gondolier manned his rowing boat, while couples and friends posed for photos. And a stunning masked lady stood tall above everyone, balancing on stilts and waving to the crowd.

After cocktail hour and the silent auction, guests were invited to enter the main ballroom. The room was jaw dropping gorgeous. Everywhere you turned there were captivating performers and decor. Near the stage, dancers were suspended on hula hoops. Their grace was mesmerizing. White birds flew around the room on the tall sticks carried by masked Venetians. The atmosphere was simply magical, and guests couldn’t help but pull out their phones to capture the scene.

The Henry M. Porter Award was given to Jim Boyle, President and CEO of Summit Leadership Solutions and former CEO of Porter Adventist Hospital. Boyle received this award for his continuous generosity to the hospital foundations and the community. He specializes in leadership development, board development and executive coaching. The Henry M. Porter Award is named for Henry M. Porter, the original philanthropic donor to Porter Hospital.

Proceeds from the Heart of Hearts Gala support women’s breast cancer departments within Avista, Castle Rock, Littleton, Parker and Porter Adventist Hospitals. Over $66,000 was raised with the evening’s paddle raiser. This total will  be used to provide free  mammograms and breast cancer care for under served individuals in the community.

The generosity of sponsors and individual donors is greatly appreciated, as one in eight women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime and one in 1,000 men will face a diagnosis. Donations will fuel support groups, treatment options and integrative therapies.

If you would like to learn more about Rocky Mountain Adventist Healthcare Foundation and make a donation, please visit

Perfect Pairings: Wine with Entertainment for a Great Cause

It was hard to tell who was having the better time at the event: guests or volunteers. The 11th annual Wine Event attracted more than 40 people ready to serve, celebrate and help raise money for Children’s Hospital Colorado and the Colorado Fetal Care Center.

Event chairs Kevin and Melissa Hopkins – who met while volunteering at Children’s – beamed like proud parents when talking about the commitment and compassion the volunteers give to make the evening happen. “They are the essence of tonight,” explained Melissa. She further shared they don’t rest on a job well done for long. “We will take a few days break and the come together to start planning for 2015.”

Chair of the Volunteer Subcommittee Annie Gray had a permanent smile when she shared about her affinity for all those who stepped up to help. “From the first meeting I was amazed at how much people wanted to be a part of this. It’s my first year and I will definitely be back,” said Gray just before hugging and smiling with others from her team.

Volunteer Sandy Lehto has been helping since the event launched eleven years ago. “Oh, how it’s grown,” she reported. “And it’s so well organized. Guest credit cards get recorded right as they come in so there isn’t a wait to check out. It’s all done before they are ready to leave. It’s great.” Lehto is a member of the Boulder Chapter of Volunteers for Children’s Hospital and she confirmed she will travel year after year to help at The Wine Event.

Special Projects Philanthropy Director for the Children’s Hospital Foundation Martine Hyland echoed the sentiment of the evening. “It’s so inspiring to see how people come together and give to the hospital. They spend time with patients and give time at events. It’s incredible to witness.”

Normally working in finance, Nathanael Shue stepped away from numbers and toward regions as he helped design how the wines would be categorized. The event showcased wines from Colorado, the West Coast, South America and Europe, along with Chilled Summer Wines and, for those who prefer hops over grapes, two “Refreshing Brews” tables displayed tasty beer options.

The event itself was as beautiful as the generosity of those who made it happen. As guests entered the reception they were greeted with lovely strums by Classical Spanish guitarist René Heredia. Overhead, guests marveled at the grace and beauty of aerial artistry performed by a member of Frequent Flyers Productions. Intermittently, happy cheers from the “Ring Toss Table” punctuated the mass of good conversation. With Rockies-like precision, guests flung wide colorful rings toward the empty necks of rows and rows of wine bottles.

“We have four full pages of people who have tossed,” said smiling volunteer Cindy talking about the popularity of the table. “Many people get one ring on, but one gentleman hit four out of five throws. That was fun to cheer on.”

Along with table after table of enticing wines to bid on in the silent auction, the event offered an array of live auction items including a package for the Grammys, an America’s Cup Yacht Experience, and trips to Napa, San Francisco, Italy and Indonesia.

The Children’s Hospital Association of Volunteers puts the entire event together and can proudly report that their efforts have raised more $1 million to date. The volunteers at Children’s Hospital Colorado are part of a group called Children’s Hospital Colorado Association of Volunteers (AoV). The AoV coordinates placements for volunteers and ensures that complete orientation and training is provided to all volunteers.

6th Annual Hearts of All Ages


Hundreds of parents and their children streamed through the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum Valentine’s Day-Friday, February 14th, to celebrate the 6th Annual Hearts of All Ages fundraiser supporting the University of Colorado Hospital.

It was a family night out for more than 1,000 guests with treats for kids and adults including four buffet tables, open bar/beverage area, activity and game areas, multiple tables for silent auction items, and live music from the band Tunisia.

John Harney, President and CEO of University of Colorado Hospital, opened the evening with a summary of hospital achievements including building expansion and awards bestowed on the hospital for cutting edge technology and award winning departments. 9News meteorologist Becky Ditchfield served as emcee and recognized VIPs, donors, supporters and oversaw the silent auction giveaways.

Every year the Hearts of All Ages event devotes funding to a particular hospital department. For 2014, event proceeds were committed to the hospital’s orthopedics department known for its innovative treatments and world class services.

The Valentine’s Day evening converts the museum venue into a carnival-like setting featuring face painting, caricature artists, cotton candy, dessert bars, popcorn treats, an arts and crafts section and an entire hangar space to run around in. A long line at the balloon artist table kept kids, teens and parents busy all night while the man on stilts entertained children.

Liz Bravman and her son, Oliver, poked their heads out of cut-out characters to resemble dynamic parachutists floating down from the sky. The silent auction featured a Disney vacation package and a Goldendoodle puppy named “Pumpkin” from Blue Sky Kennels was taken home by a lucky family. Orthopedic surgeon and extreme athlete Dr. Omer Mei-Dan of the sports medicine orthopedics department and son, Ben, enjoyed viewing the modern and vintage aircraft. As a BASE jumper himself Mei-Dan brings his personal experiences in treating and researching best methods for hip injuries and sports medicine treatments.

Gala committee members Dr. Jason Stoneback and Gin Stoneback ensured everyone enjoyed the evening. An orthopedic surgeon and assistant professor, Stoneback recently received Physician of the Year award from the hospital and volunteers for various rodeos including the annual Denver Stock Show, and Professional Bull Riders groups.

CoBiz Financial’s Steven Bangert, Dick Monfort and hospital board chair Timothy Travis enjoyed the evening with friends and business associates. Also attending were Vice Chancellor of the Anschutz Medical Campus Dr. Richard Krugman and his wife Mary; Lilly Marks, Vice President for Health Affairs for the University of Colorado system; Heather and Dan Rieber, UC Health Vice President, Finance and Controller; Dr. Richard Zane, chair of the department of emergency medicine; Dr. Mandava Naresh of the Opthamology Department and many other administrative staff members from throughout the hospital campus.

Thanks to their perseverance and quick bids and timing, Dr. Jean Kutner and sons Jackson & Casey won several silent auction items before the night was over. The energy and enthusiasm of supporters and staff leadership reflects the professionalism and innovation of the University of Colorado system that continues to pioneer new techniques and treatments recognized nationwide.

For more information regarding Hearts of All Ages and the University of Colorado Hospital Orthopedics Department visit or

7th Annual Dinner in the Dark


“Close your eyes and open your senses as you embark upon a journey when all the lights go down as dinner begins.”  These were instructions to guests as the fun and innovative “Dinner in the Dark” event unfolded. Sleep shades and visual impairment simulators were available to heighten the “in the dark” experience for those in attendace to “see” what it’s like to be blind or visually impaired.

The evening began with a reception and silent auction, where attendees were able to bid on items like a signed Peyton Manning jersey while snacking on an assortment of cheese and fruit. During the reception, conversations and laughter echoed throughout the hall. Many “awws” were heard, courtesy of the seeing eye dogs both on duty and in training who attended the event.

After the reception, the dinner hosted by former Denver Bronco Reggie Rivers began as people slipped on their eye masks to put themselves in the place of someone who is visually impaired. During the meal, singer, songwriter and board chair Karen Karsh and her band dazzled the crowd with their brilliant music.

After dinner and dessert were enjoyed, Reggie’s “Heads or Tails” game began. With a $20.00 bill or $20.00 check payable to ACBCO, lucky attendees who guessed heads or tails at a coin flip were able to win a Hall of Famer football signed by four former great Denver Broncos Players.

ACBCO uses blind, visually impaired and sighted individuals who work together to achieve their mission to serve all who are in need of their assistance throughout Colorado.  All proceeds raised from the event support seniors in our community with vision loss, and help them to adapt and adjust so they can remain living independently and be active with their family, friends, and also within their community.

Men's Night Out for a Great Cause

The nearly 700 men attending University of Colorado Hospital Foundation’s “Men for the Cure” pulled the pink out of their closets as a show of solidarity in the fight against breast cancer.

“It’s nice to see men out for this cause,” said first-time volunteer Ashley Pokrzywinski. With wide smiles, deep laughs, and an air of camaraderie, it appeared the men were enjoying their gathering. They moved in and out of the pristine XJet facility. In the true spirit of the event’s founding members known as the “Red Meat and Cigars” crowd, The Robust Room passed out complimentary cigars from Nicaragua’s oldest as well as its newest cigar manufacturers. Men took to the outside for a few puffs. Inside, guys socialized while Bad Candy, a talented trio with guitars, moved seamlessly through classic rock, bluegrass, country, and contemporary tunes.

A hard-working trio for the Cure: Ed Greene, left, Sharon Magness Blake, Ernie Blake

A hard-working trio for the Cure: Ed Greene, left, Sharon Magness Blake, Ernie Blake

Goodie bags donated by Neiman Marcus contained an assortment of Kiehl’s premium beauty products proved to be the perfect bookend to the more male-oriented cigars. Event co-founder and sponsor Sharon Magness-Blake cheekily reminded the men to be sure to return home with the lovely little signature silver Neiman’s bag.

Silent auction items weighed heavy toward sports with signed footballs and enticing golf packages. Patrons were also putting pen to paper to bid for a guitar autographed by Rascal Flatts. Other revenue generators included high-end wines for sale by the bottle. And one lucky ticket holder drove home in a 2014 Lexus GS350 provided by Kuni Lexus of Greenwood Village.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has been attending the dinner long before he took office. He spoke about the dinner’s history. “This dinner has raised $1.3 million, yet our work is not done until we have won.”

Speaking of winning, John Fox, coach of the 5-0 Denver Broncos, took to the stage as the event’s keynote speaker. After sharing that he doesn’t usually make appearances during football season, he spoke about his own family connections to the disease. Then, he smiled and confessed he didn’t have time to prepare remarks. Audience members filled the space by asking him an array of questions from football talk to favorite foods.

To date, the dinner has raised nearly $1.3 million to advance breast cancer research, care, and early detection education at University of Colorado Hospital. Proceeds from Men for the Cure have been used to purchase medical equipment such as an Atec Vacuum Assisted biopsy machine, a digital specimen radiography system, and a stereotactic biopsy table; support a nurse navigator who provides hands-on personal care, guidance and support for the many patients and families receiving care at the Cancer Center; fund breast cancer research led by Virgina Borges, MD; and launch a mobile mammography van initiative to improve access to screenings and aid with early detection for women throughout the Denver-metro area.

Four men purchased award-winning travel and once-in-a-lifetime sport auction items. One man left with a Lexis. Everyone ate delicious tenderloin. Not a bad end to a night with the guys.

2nd Annual Save the Males


Save The Males – an evening gala that seeks to raise awareness about prostate cancer – has grown tremendously in the last few years. The event – with it’s exclusively female attendees – tries to do what the men who are actually susceptible to this insidious disease can’t seem to – with great good humor and no shortage of cocktails, speak frankly and earnestly about a disease and propose concrete steps to help address it.

The 250-attendee event started with a silent auction, which featured dozens of handbags as the main offering – from slouchy to stylish, beaded to bejeweled, vintage to briefcase to evening-wear.

The evening’s main entertainment was Patsy Decline (aka Lannie Garrett), a seasoned veteran of the cabaret circuit, who had the audience in stitches with her bawdy re-imagining on country classics and event-apropos song titles (not a one of them reprintable here).

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, by a wide margin. Affecting mostly older men, and likely to be undetected for long periods of time, the stigma of discussing it and the bewildering range of treatment options are among the reasons it has proven so hard for medical experts to tackle.

Keynote speaker Doctor Tom Flaig was able to entertainingly highlight the rather anemic advocacy and awareness efforts of prostate cancer, especially when compared to breast cancer, with it’s very public color (pink), events (Walk for the Cure), and celebrity spokespeople. “Women have walks,” he noted, “Men have crawls.” Men – it was claimed over and over again – need the sisterhood’s help to get organized, raise awareness, and get over the embarrassment and doctor-aversion of men susceptible to prostate cancer.

Through the silent auction and entry fee, organizers hope to raise $150,000 for the University of Colorado’s Prostate Cancer Research Program. And they had a great time doing it.

2nd Annual KIND Gala


Over 150 guests attended the 2nd annual Kids in Need of Dentistry gala at the JW Marriott Hotel in Cherry Creek. With a festive Oscar theme, the event helped raise money and awareness for the organization and honored several important partners of the charity.

Guests enjoyed a red carpet entrance, gourmet sliders and fries, and a surprise “flash mob” from a group of youth performers.  Attendees were able to bid on silent auction items and socialize during the cocktail hour before the evening’s program got underway.

Sharyn Markus, Executive Director of the Colorado Springs Dental Society, received the award for Best Supporting Partner, and KIND Board Member Larry Chatterley, founder of CTC Associates, was honored for his years of work with the organization.  Attendees also heard from Lorna Casey, who has been taking her two sons, Curtis and Aydan, to KIND for over 12 years. She expressed her thanks to the staff, volunteers and donors for providing Colorado families with wonderful dental health care for those who need it.

The event also featured a live auction hosted by Denver entrepreneur and philanthropist Andy Seth.  Live music was provided by Denver dentist Steve Law and his band, The Steve Law Band.

KIND, a Denver-based nonprofit, provides high-quality, affordable dental care to children in need throughout Colorado. Since 1912, KIND has helped thousands of children each year get the dental services they need at a cost their families can afford.