The Crowd: The mind is tops at wine event

One American develops Alzheimer's disease every 70 seconds, statistics report. According to Linda Scheck, who is with UC Irvine's Mind Institute, the Baby Boomer generation is entering the high-risk age group for being diagnosed with the disease with as many as 10,000 turning 65 every day.

Medical science is concerned that the possible onslaught of Alzheimer's victims could become a national crisis in decades to come. In Orange County recently, the UCI Mind Institute, which focuses on memory impairment and neurological disorders, held a fundraiser called Saving Memories with Style. Chaired by Jacqueline DuPont, an advisory board member to the UCI Mind Institute, the wine tasting event raised about $100,000 net and drew more than 300 local guests supporting diagnosis, assessment and research in the Alzheimer's disease.

Wine for the Mind unfolded at Rand and Rosemary Sperry's home, as the crowd enjoyed a variety of wines and food donated for the cause. Vince Ferragamo served as master of ceremonies with Ed Arnold handling the auction duties to raise the tally of donations. A highlight was a show coordinated by Mind committee member Mima Ransom of Newport Beach.

Each person in the program shared a story about a life touched by someone fighting dementia. The show was produced around a fashion model theme featuring local celebs on the runway. Participating in the production was Kelly Crean, granddaughter of the late John Crean and Donna Crean.

For decades the Creans were generous supporters of Alzheimer's research. Among other fundraising events, they sponsored the Crean Classic Golf Tournament, which benefited Alzheimer's disease even though neither of the Creans suffered from the disease at the time. Unfortunately, Donna Crean now has Alzheimer's disease and Kelly has made it her passion to fight the disease.

Also participating in the show were Corona del Mar's Binnie Beaumont with her daughter, Alison Hahn. Supporting the cause were Newport-Mesa residents Linda and Burton Young, Clarice and Richard Lehn, Dan and Emily Flynn, Erin Cole, David and Christie Cribbs, Michael Eilbert, and Trish Merrifield. Medical professionals and UCI dignitaries on hand included Dan and Elaine Aldrich, Sophia An, Elizabeth Loftus, Carl Cotman, Tom and MaryJo Carew, Kim Green, James McGaugh, Mansour and Gudi Rashan, and Cordula and Malcolm Dick. For more information on the Mind Institute's work, visit http://www.mind.uci.edu.

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In other Orange Coast social news, Newport's celebrity chef Jamie Gwen will be fronting a culinary cruise on the Mediterranean aboard Oceania's new luxury liner the Marina. The 10-day Mediterranean romp will set sail from Venice on Oct. 11 with stops in Croatia, Greece, Sicily, Positano, Florence, Cinque Terre, Monte Carlo, and Rome on Oct. 21.

Gwen is calling the cruise the Best of the Med with stateroom prices starting at $3,999 per person, including airfare. Condé Nast Traveler in a recent survey rated Oceania's food at the highest level of all cruise lines. To find out more visit http://www.chefjamie.com.

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Thursday night, the Newport Lexus dealer on MacArthur Boulevard will transform its massive and elegant showroom into a St. Patrick's Day evening "friendraiser" for a support group of Orange County AIDS Services known as the Friends of Dorothy Guild.

Volunteers will serve spirits and dinner from 6 p.m. on. The event is hosted by Newport gal about town and guild Chairwoman Barbara Venezia. Newport Lexus has generously supported the cause for years and helps Venezia kick off her annual fundraising campaign with this lively St. Paddy's Day celebration. For reservations go to http://www.friendsofdorothy.org.

THE CROWD runs Thursdays and Saturdays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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