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Joining me at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital's 12th Annual Orange County Gala were its chair Trish Coury and Honorary Chair Alfredo Molina, President/CEO of Black, Starr & Frost

Joining me at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s 12th Annual Orange County Gala were its chair Trish Coury and Honorary Chair Alfredo Molina, President/CEO of Black, Starr & Frost

Beautiful Lisa Rinna welcomed an elegantly dressed crowd to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s 12 Annual Orange County Gala at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point. The actress is passionate about St. Jude, as witnessed by her appearance on Celebrity Apprentice, where she raised $504,000 for the hospital and its work in pediatric treatment and research focused on children’s catastrophic diseases.

Alfredo Molina, another huge St. Jude supporter and Chairman/CEO of jewelry icon, Black, Starr & Frost, was the gala’s Honorary Chair. He thanked St. Jude for the honor on behalf of the entire jewelry team.

Robert Machen, CIO of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, spoke about advancements of the distinguished research hospital, including its Pediatric Genome Project and the Proton Beam Radiation Device, which will be the only one of its kind in the world when it launches later this year. It targets cancerous cells while leaving healthy cells alone. Machen also talked about the 52-year-old facility’s history in impacting childhood leukemia. He said St. Jude Founder Danny Thomas invited 36-year-old oncologist, Dr. Donald Pinkel, to come on board as the hospital’s first Medical Director. “As a result of this great man’s leadership and St. Jude’s continued efforts,” Machen said, “I’m happy to report that the most common form of cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which had a survival rate of 4% in 1962, today it’s now 94%!”

Kristen Tanner spoke glowingly about St. Jude and the treatment her young baby daughter Natalie received there after being diagnosed with a rare brain tumor in 2007. Following months of chemotherapy and scans that revealed the cancer had spread to Natalie’s spine, Natalie went home to hospice care, and the family prepared for the worst. Amazingly, she got better, and when she returned to St. Jude for a follow-up visit, her scans were clear. Now Natalie is seven, and Kristen confided. “Because of St. Jude, I know Natalie loves the color pink and loves to give her brother a hard time.”

Gala chair Trish Coury thanked her committee, which included auction chair Ashley Duva and committee members Analisa Albert, Carolyn Ausman, Sarah Besso, Sheila Carden, Michelle Garvin, Raylene Gonzalez, Teri Haddon, Kathy Hall, Dawnielle Kelley, Alisa Levitt, Marica Pendjer, Bryn Ryan, Julie Ann Ulcickas, and Sonya Zamora.

The live auction, with Mark Drilling and his team at the helm, drew some spirited bidding and multiple wins for the Angels Baseball Suite and the Bluewater Grill cocktail party for 50. Ashley and Mark Duva grabbed the Danny Thomas ProAm Golf Package, and the Black, Starr & Frost $5,000 gift certificate and dinner for eight in its Newport Beach location was won by two men – Butch Peri for his wife Annie, and Tres Petmecky for wife Kalia. They both paid $10,000!

JT & Friends, led by major gala supporter John Tu, entertained guests featuring a Las Vegas style singer named Sergio, who sang some spot-on Frank Sinatra songs, and a group of singers, who performed a medley of songs from Grease that had guests rockin’ on the dance floor. The ladies departed with a bottle of Black, Starr & Frost’s “Unforgettable II” perfume.

Together with silent and live auction monies, Gift to Live pledges, sponsorships and underwriting, net proceeds reached an impressive $250,800 for the cause.

Pssst…Lisa Rinna’s hubby Harry Hamlin attended with her! (see photo)