Two ladies rally for cancer society

A Corona del Mar mother and daughter combined their skills and pulled off a substantial summer fundraising series of events on behalf of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Hostess Valaree Wahler and her daughter Elizabeth Wahler brought together Orange County VIPs with little notice, first for a midweek reception at the Wahler's oceanfront estate, followed by a black tie dinner two weeks later at the Fairmont Hotel, Newport Beach. The combined effort raised a substantial six figure sum to combat cancer.

Elizabeth Wahler, founder of Kiére Media LLC, championed the initial at home reception in less than four week's notice attracting more than 150 local donors for late afternoon sunset margaritas and hors d' oeuvres on the rocky edge of the Pacific Ocean in Corona del Mar. Social stars supporting Elizabeth Wahler's efforts included Fran Cashen, Eve Kornyei, Mona Nesseth, Marta Bhathal, Donna Anderson and Gretchen Pace, to name a few.

"It was my daughter's first charity event and she pulled it off with style benefiting a most worthy cause assisting people fighting leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma," said Valaree Wahler, one of O.C.'s most charitable leading ladies, adding, "I am so proud of her!"

The afternoon by the sea was created by Elizabeth Wahler around the theme of "Luxury Marketing." Top O.C. retailers including Marie Gray, founder of St. John, Michaele Hall of Neiman Marcus, Pace of Saks Fifth Avenue, and Nasarin Ansari of Ansari Couture, and Becca Adkinson and Christopher Vo of Nordstrom Fashion Island jumped in with full commitment to help make the event a winner.

Spotted in the chic crowd were stunning brunette Sharon McKinnon of Lido Isle, Ed Domanskis, Maralou and Jerry Harrington, Laura Lee and Dick Browne, Mike Ruffatoo, Valarie Whiting and the debonair local real estate marketing champ John McMonigle. By the end of the cocktail party, as the sun set over the horizon, $60,000 was raised.

The gala black tie evening at the Fairmont Hotel, Newport Beach, attracted 300 donors who gathered in support of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The purpose of the evening was to honor the 2010 Man and Woman of the Year. Jack Beckman took home the male honors, raising $56,179 to fight the disease. Beckman was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2004 and has been in remission for five years. The female honors went to Evelyn Erives, a radio talk show host who raised $61,651.

A number of other donors participated in the fund raising challenge and were also honored at the black tie evening including Nicole Chambers, Kelli Fadroski, Sean Faustina, Patty Leemhuis, Brittanie Ngo, Elizabeth Wahler, Robert Aguirre, John Boswell, Dennis Brown, Craig Figner, Wayne Low, James Smith and Paul Wright. Committee members in charge of the night, in addition to hosts Valaree and Elizabeth Wahler, included Julia Cohen, Sindy Godfrey, Dean Wilson, Sarah Argun, Taite Bergin, Janet Hamada, Lydia Janks, Ed Kennedy and Steve Thatcher.

Piper Medcalf, executive director of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society announced to the crowd that all of the men and women participating in the fundraising effort brought in a total of $275,000 in the short 10-week period in advance of the gala. Adding the $60,000 raised by Elizabeth Wahler at the pre-gala reception, a total of $340,000 was raised to fight blood cancer.

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