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Joining me at Beckstrand Cancer Association's 10th Anniversary Gala were its President/CEO Lil Spitzer, left, and gala co-honoree with her husband,  Jan Salta

Joining me at Beckstrand Cancer Association’s 10th Anniversary Gala were its President/CEO Lil Spitzer, left, and gala co-honoree with her husband Mike, Jan Salta

Grammy Award-winning recording artist Alanis Morisette performing in Orange County? Leave it to Beckstrand Cancer Association to feature the hot, hot artist at its 10th Anniversary Gala!

Beckstrand’s 10th Anniversary Diamond & Pearl Ball for 300 of its most cherished supporters was held at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, at the resort’s Pacific Promenade Lawn overlooking the blue Pacific. The black-tie crowd enjoyed the multi-hued sunset while sipping bubbly and perusing a plethora of tempting silent auction items before entering the ballroom awash in gold and silver, thanks to Wildflower Linen. Wildflower’s creation, the four-foot, square-shaped chandelier centerpieces topped with scores of white hydrangeas and featuring dozens of suspended white chiffon ribbons with huge faceted crystals sparkling at each end, were spectacular!

Co-­hosting the celebratory affair once again was Beckstrand’s National Spokesperson and well known television actress Eva La Rue with Beckstrand’s President/CEO Lil Spitzer. Beckstrand program recipient and recent cancer survivor Bryan Fazio touched hearts with his story of facing numerous recurrences of Hodgkin’s Lynphoma in his early 20s and, in the face of a daunting prognosis time and time again, stayed on active duty in the Navy for two years and earned his MBA degree. When he told guests that following his three-­year cancer battle he was cancer-­free, the entire room rose to their feet in applause. Lauding Beckstrand, who paid his family’s mortgage for seven months when they were about to lose their home, Fazio said, “During my fight, Beckstrand was there and when I graduated, they celebrated my victory with me.”

Newport Beach-­based Lugano Diamonds, Presenting Sponsor three years running, provided the piece de resistance in the live auction – a stunning 10.02-­carat Ceylon sapphire. The rare, unmounted gem offered the winner the opportunity to design the setting with $5,000 towards that end, thanks to Lugano President and Design Director Moti Ferder, a Beckstrand board member. Ferder sweetened the pot by adding two oval matching five-­carat sapphires, and it sold to longtime supporters Holly and Dave Wilson for $125,000. In a remarkable gesture, an anonymous donor offered to match the final bid, bringing the total amount raised by Lugano Diamonds’ Ceylon Sapphire to $250,000.

Other auction items included lunch with actress Lisa Rinna at The Ivy (2 x @ $10,000), Justin Timberlake’s performance for six in a suite at Honda Center and dinner at Mastro’s Steakhouse ($20,000), a live taping of The Voice and personal meet and greet with Adam Levine ($22,000), an Hermes Birkin Bag from OnQueStyle ($27,500), fabulous seats at games for both the Lakers and the Clippers at Staples Center ($12,000), a Neiman Marcus shoe and handbag fashionistas package ($7,500)(Neiman Marcus, Fashion Island, returned as the gala’s Fashion Sponsor), and a fabulous Los Cabos villa getaway for four with La Rue via a private Gulfstream G100 jet that sold for $52,500 – twice!!

The big news of the night was the $500,000 announced gift from gala honorees Jan and Mike Salta. Known for their generous and caring hearts, the Saltas have supported Beckstrand’s mission and programs for the past decade, playing a pivotal role in the development and long-term execution of patient-focused assistance throughout the local cancer community.

Other individuals recognized who have also been involved with the ball for the entire 10 years included: the first honoree, Dr. Simon Tchekmedyian; the original gala chair, Kirsten Prosser; the auctioneer, Mark Schenfeld; decor chair, Youngsong Martin of Wildflower Linen, and gala committee member Stuart Winston, who introduced Beckstrand to its first presenting sponsor, Bulgari, and later to Lugano Diamonds.

Besides the Saltas, five other couples were recognized for their amazing support, “without whom we would not be where we are today,” Spitzer said. They included Dave and Holly Wilson, AJ and Joni D’Amato, John and Patty Collins (Patty is Beckstrand’s board chairman), Keith and Mara Murray, and Blaine and Renetta Caya. Each lady was given a custom-­designed gift from Lugano – a white gold initial necklace with a .30cts. diamond encrusted butterfly, Beckstrand’s logo. Lugano’s Ferder then presented a custom-­designed 18k gold necklace with a 2.5-­inch high initial “J” encrusted with 1.50 cts. of diamonds called the “Legacy Piece” to Jan Salta. Ferder designed both pieces of jewelry, and presented all guests with custom jewelry travel totes. Spitzer thanked the Saltas for being Beckstrand’s biggest donors and for never missing the ball. She especially lauded Mike for bidding on the live auction items at the first ball when no one was bidding to get the bidding going. Concluding, she said, “You represent what true giving is all about, and we love you with all our hearts.” A standing ovation was immediate.

Celebrities attending the anniversary gala included Lisa Rinna, the Bold and the Beautiful’s Don Diamont and his wife Cindy, and NCIS: Los AngelesDaniela Ruah. Morisette’s private performance featured songs from her critically acclaimed Jagged Little Pill album, as well as other hits such as “Uninvited” and “Thank U.” She toasted all the caregivers in the crowd, saying, “I’ve done it too, so here’s to all of us.”

The gala realized an amazing $1.54 million in net proceeds, which will enable the Beckstrand Cancer Association to continue to help cancer patients and their families through trying circumstances during their cancer journeys.

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