The first Central Virginia American Diabetes Association Garden Party was held June 4 at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.
More than 200 guests enjoyed cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, a gourmet buffet dinner, music by the Kings of Swing, dancing, and silent and live auctions at the Bloemendaal House.
“I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was 5 years old,” said Rhodes Ritenour, board chairman for central Virginia. “The people who serve on our board, the volunteers who serve with us, and the individuals who have supported the ADA financially through our Garden Party give us hope that we will cure this disease. And they give us hope that we can live a good life until we find that cure. Our goal is to make the ADA Garden Party a spring tradition in Richmond. … That tradition started tonight.”
A highlight of the evening was guest speaker Hunter Bratton, a 12-year-old dirt bike competitor and Virginia’s 2011 Tour De Cure youth ambassador. Tour is a national cycling ADA fundraiser.
“I don’t let having diabetes stop me,” Hunter said. He humorously recounted the numerous times his insulin pump has been mistaken for a cellphone, pager or other electronic device and emphasized the need to educate the public.
Jayne Dewysocki-Shearer, who co-chaired the event with Mike Barrett, said: “We had high expectations for tonight. Our expectations were exceeded. Everything and everyone came together. We raised a lot of awareness and money for diabetes. Tonight’s event illustrates the mountains you can move when you get hard-working volunteers together with gracious benefactors to fight a disease.”
About $90,000 was raised.
Kyle T. Hause Jr. was auctioneer, and Diane Walker of Fox News was the party hostess. Former Miller Rhoads Snow Queen Donna Strother Deekens held court in Kids Korner.
Lead sponsors were Owens Minor, Bon Secours and Fox News.