Choco, the teddy bear mascot of Childrens Hospital of Orange County, had good reason to kick up his paws at the hospital's "Silver Jubilee" fashion show and luncheon last week. The Anaheim Marriott was packed with 2,800 supporters Thursday and Friday for the 25th anniversary event.
Proceeds were estimated at $160,000. The shows have raised more than $1 million since 1963, said chairman Andrea Northcote.
To celebrate, 21 former fashion show chairmen attended Thursday's show. Frances Stawicki, the hospital's former director of guilds, said she would not miss the event. She had worked on 18 shows before her retirement last year.
Past chairman Marian Finkl flew in from Sarasota, Fla. Nina Rarick hopped a jet from Eugene, Ore., and Lucille Kelly drove from Palm Desert.
Last year was the first time the event was held on two consecutive days; the show had become so popular that the committee could no longer accommodate guests on a single day.
Former chairman Jackie Powell said: "We had 1,700 people (in 1985) and couldn't fit one more person in. We realized we could not turn people away if we wanted to raise money for CHOC."
When members learned that Billur Wallerich, fashion coordinator of Saks Fifth Avenue, was willing to stage the show twice, they decided on a two-day event.
"Now they're kidding me that we're going to do three shows," Wallerich said.
Jean Hamann, a member of the fashion show advisory board, said, however, that she had not been kidding: "I know a lot of men who would come to a dinner (event)."
The fashion show began with a bang. Clowns, heralding the opening fashions, turned cartwheels down the runway, tossed confetti into the crowd and fired a cannon with a blast loud enough to awaken napping hotel guests.
Clamdigger-clad dancers, accompanied by the tune "Heat Wave," did a mambo as models showed off the latest sun dresses.
And when the song switched to "Anything Goes," women in kimonos twirled iridescent parasols while seven men paraded down the ramp in bathing suits.
At $40 per person, proceeds will benefit the hospital's outpatient clinic, which now has 30,000 patient visits annually.
"The money helps children who can't pay," said guild coordinator Helen Wardner. "CHOC is not a free clinic. People pay according to their ability, but we never turn a child away."
Northcote chose the silver jubilee theme--manifested by silver ice bucket centerpieces, which dripped in silver Mylar ribbons. Balloons were everywhere. Choco and Mickey Mouse welcomed guests.
Lunch began with a continental chilled strawberry soup. Three salads--Waldorf, chicken and shrimp--arrived in artful arrangements on an apple slice, half tomato and fruit, respectively. Dessert was a Grand Marnier ice cream bombe.
Others on the committee included Phyllis Klemmer, Anne Neish, Carol McCann, Susan Krause, Carol Palermo, Carolyn Tobin, Carol Clisby, Liz Clem, Susan Carter, Beverly Singer, Fran Paulson, Dana Davis, Darlene Knoop and Sandy Weaser.
More than $40,000 was raised Saturday for the Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp sponsored by the National Foundation of Wheelchair Tennis.
The camp allows disabled children to learn basketball, track and field sports, swimming, tennis, fishing and archery. This year, 150 children are expected to attend camp during Easter week at Saddleback College, according to Brad Parks, who organized the foundation in 1980.
Saturday night's Dancing Through the Ages benefit, with 250 people attending, was sponsored by Chariot Champions, a foundation support group.
Since the black-tie affair had not specified a dress code for women, event co-chairmen Patricia Houston and Barbara Kocmur chose their outfits to match the black and white decor. Houston wore a short, black cocktail dress accented with a burst of bugle beads. Kocmur wore white silk. Nora Jorgensen, president of Chariot Champions, wore black satin and white lace. She said the custom-designed dress, copied from this year's Miss America, arrived at her home an hour before she was to leave. "I was biting my fingernails," she said.
Parks, 29, attending the $150-a-person event with his wife, Wendy, has been a paraplegic since he broke his back in a skiing accident at 18.
Parks recalled that he had seen "The Other Side of the Mountain," a film about a young woman crippled by a skiing accident, only a year before his accident. "I said if that ever happened to me, I'd kill myself. Then it happened, and I said, 'Well, what do I do next?' "
His mother, Larrie, said: "He realized that as an able-bodied child, he went to sports camps, but there wasn't anything for handicapped children. So he started the junior wheelchair sports camps."
Today Brad often plays tennis with Pilar Wayne, who served as honorary chairman of the event. Brad boasted that they are unbeatable at doubles.
"He can beat most of the finest players in town," Wayne said.
According to chairman Houston, volunteering at the camp is a privilege. "When I went to help out, I felt so good after spending a day with those kids. They have major disabilities, and yet they have a positive attitude."
Committee members Norm and Victoria Broadhurst also recalled a visit to the camp. They went the day that former Rams quarterback Pat Haden got into a wheelchair and played basketball with the children.
"He's a professional athlete and he had a terrible time maneuvering," Norm Broadhurst said. "The kids beat him!"
Buddy Schwimmer, who choreographed the evening's dance program, said he had taught wheelchair dancing. "We teach people to move with the music," he said. "We have one guy who's always a half step behind everyone else, but no one seems to mind."
After a chateaubriand dinner, Schwimmer presented a lively, high-stepping tribute to dance. Flappers did the Charleston, surfers did the swim, a Latin team danced the cha-cha and a Fred-and-Ginger duo swept across the dance floor.
After the last dance, Erik Christensen, 17, was named Outstanding Junior Wheelchair Athlete of the Year.
Other committee members included Elaine Balent, Carol Blanchard, Lois Brockmeyer, Marge Doering, Pam Erickson, Nancy Fodor, Rita Gunkel, Carolyn and Dave Hibbard, Nancy Hodson, Barbara Horne, Vin Jorgensen, Alice King, Dot Kreutzberg, Marci Levine, Peg Reday, Kathy Rolfes, Kathy Rosenberger and Bob Washer. Wayne was joined by son-in-law Dr. Thomas Gionis and daughter Aissa.