Tampa - In an evening of high auction bids major pledges, guests of the 2007 Magnolia Ball helped raise $2.6 million to benefit H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute. This amount is $1 million more than last year's proceeds and is more than five times the amount raised two years ago, making the Magnolia Ball the first black-tie gala in the area to accomplish such a feat.
Pam and Les Muma were the honorary chairs.
Perhaps the most anticipated event of the evening was the Rise to the Challenge. After the V Foundation pledged $400,000 and challenged the audience to match its gift, paddles waved in the air for more than 15 minutes. When it was all over, the audience had raised $1.7 million for a total of $2.1 million. In the live auction, Masonite International Corporation contributed $5,000 for each item that sold for its market price. Its $50,000 match brought the live auction total to $156,000. Items like a trip to Spain to run with bulls and a Bishon Frise puppy kept the bids high. Guests also bid on beach getaways and private dinners with chefs in the silent auction, which raised $56,000.
Proceeds from the ball will enhance Moffitt's patient care, research and education programs. Furthermore, they will benefit the Magnolia Lodging Program. This program lessens the intense emotional and financial burdens that cancer patients often experience, by offering families a comfortable place to live while they are undergoing lengthy treatments at Moffitt - regardless of their ability to pay.
Known for its live performances by top recording artists, this year's Magnolia Ball featured Huey Lewis & The News, a heartwarming patient testimonial and a league of supporters.