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Joan Mangum’s Society Scene—Thalians Raise $250,000 For UCLA’s Operation Mend

THE THALIANS–Members of The Thalians Board of Directors headed by President Kira Reed Lorsch (center) and Chair Emeritus Ruta Lee (front row, right) joined forces with representatives of UCLA’s Operation Mend at The Thalians annual holiday party at Bel-Air Country Club. Others in the photo are Frank Sheftel, Dr. Irwin Lehrhoff, Stephanie Hibler, Barbara Cohen-Wolfe, Dana Katz, Joseph Paulk, Michelle Asker, Patrika Darbo, Troy Simon, Todd Katz, Dr. Jo Sornborger, Larry Wolfe, Dr. Thomas Strouse, and Andrew McDonald. Photo by Greg Doherty.
JWCI  AUXILIARY LUNCHEON–At the John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary’s annual “Membership/Luncheon Boutique” in The Beverly Hills Hotel, honoree Jane Seymour (left) is congratulated by Dr. Sheryl Ross. Photo by Vince Bucci

Posted Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 1:26 pm

The Thalians ( got the season off to a rollicking start with a star-studded holiday party Saturday night at Bel-Air Country Club. Hosted by President Kira Reed Lorsch, who emceed along with the always hilarious Chair Emeritus Ruta Lee, one of the highlights of the night was the presentation of a $250,000 check to support mental health programs at UCLA’s Operation Mend, which was established to treat U.S. military men and women severely wounded during service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This donation fulfilled the group’s pledge to raise $1 million for Operation Mend, which was accomplished by numerous donors including the Robert H. Lorsch Foundation and The Thalians’ 2018 “Angel” Madeline Gussman of Beverly Hills. The group has now embarked on a campaign to bring in a second $1 million for the charity.

Among those dancing to the music of the Jimmy Carnelli Orchestra and enjoying the lilting ballads sung by Freda Payne and Frank Stallone were Sandy Krause and Bill Fitzgerald, Tiffany Ladner and David Hurtado, Elaine and Peter Kares, Temy and Howard Lehman, Robin Blake and Stephen Stewart, Ann Jillian and Andy Murcia, Dana and Todd Katz, Sherry Hackett and David Loftus, Diana and Randy Hill, Alyson Godell and Kenneth Phillips and Toni Greene.

Still more were Arline and Henry Gluck, Andrea and Christopher Gialanella, Carol and former Sheriff Lee Baca, Gloria and John Gebbia, Jezlan Moyet and Andy Waldman, Bernardo Puccio and Orin Kennedy, Susan Smith and Richard Eglin, Carol Connors, Katherin Kovin-Pacino, Roni and Gary Damsker, Judy Diamond, Jacqueline Burdorf, Pat and Bill Anton, Judy Tenuta, Jane Wooster Scott, Barbara and Larry Wolfe, Mary and Gary Damsker, and many more.

Founded by the late Debbie Reynolds, The Thalians has raised more than $35 million for mental health charities through the years.

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The John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary honored Anita Swift with the Angel Award and Jane Seymour with the Public Service Award at its annual “Membership Luncheon/Boutique” in The Beverly Hills Hotel. Before the luncheon, the 300 guests enjoyed a boutique featuring fine and costume jewelry, clothing, accessories and other items with vendors donating a portion of their proceeds to the JWCI.

Auxiliary president Martha Harper introduced the Swift family to the stage to present their mother with a surprise award. Anita, who is the granddaughter of John Wayne and past president of the auxiliary stated: “I know how proud my grandfather would be that we remain one of the most successful cancer research centers in the world. The breakthroughs made here continue to have a global impact.”

Auxiliary VPs of fundraising, Marisol Zarco and Katie Lewis, gave a toast in honor of the afternoon’s honorees and all auxiliary members for their support and dedication to the institute.

Cynthia Hunt, the group’s treasurer, presented a check for nearly $300,000 to the institute’s Board Chair Patrick Wayne and its director of the Margie Petersen Breast Center and associate professor of surgery Dr. Janie Grumley.

OBGYN, author, and women’s health expert Dr. Sheryl Ross gave the Public Service Award to Jane Seymour for her commitment to caring and philanthropy through her Open Hearts Foundation.

Established in 1982 by two breast cancer survivors, the JWCI Auxiliary has raised more than $19 million to fund a wide array of the institute’s priorities including groundbreaking research, vital new laboratory equipment and the nationally renowned Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program, which trains the next generation of surgical oncologists.


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