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Tickets available for Rumrunners Celebrity Chef Night

By Staff | Aug 6, 2011

More than 200 tickets have already been purchased, along with all 10 reserved tables, for the eighth annual Rumrunners Celebrity Chef Night, which benefits the Children’s Hospital pediatric oncology and hematology programs.

The 2011 Child of Hope is Caliah Russell, a 4-year-old who is undergoing treatment for leukemia at the Children’s Hospital. Director of Development Duane Higgins said she will be at the Aug. 17 event as a way to say thank you to the guests who are supporting the hospital.

In 1960, the cure rate for leukemia was zero. That rate has increased to 80 percent today.

“Which is why we call it our Child of Hope,” Higgins said, because of the survival rate.

Children who are diagnosed with leukemia between the ages of 3-5 years old typically go through treatment for two and a half to three years.

Higgins said the annual Rumrunners Celebrity Chef Night is going to be the best one yet due to the introduction of a live auction.

The auction will include a private dinner for 10 created by Chef Harold Balink, Chef Todd Johnson and Chef Norman Love.

“We have some fantastic live auction” items, he said.

Tickets for the event are $150, which includes culinary stations and refreshments, along with the opportunity to bid on trips, fine dining experiences, boating and fishing excursions, one-of-a-kind memorabilia and tickets to sporting events.

In the past the event has raised $50,000 for Barbara’s Friends, the Children’s Hospital Cancer Fund, which Higgins hopes to surpass this year. Their goal is to raise $60,000.

He said they already have sold all of the event’s 10 reserved tables, which ranged in price from $1,000 to $5,000. This year the presenting sponsor is Century 21 Sunbelt Realty.

The event also will have a diamond champaign toast featuring a one-of-a-kind piece of diamond jewelry designed by jeweler Mark Loren.

Higgins said individuals can purchase a $50 wrist band that will provide them with a flute of champaign. He said there will be a random identifier in one of the flutes for someone to take home the diamond jewelry.

Last year they sold 75 flutes and the jewelry featured was worth $4,000. Attendees can purchase 75 flutes again this year.

Higgins said he anticipates approximately 300 people to attend.

The celebrity chefs include Chef Johnson and Ralph Centalonza of Rumrunners and The Joint, Chef Fabrizio Aielli of Sea Salt, Chef Balink of Cru and culinary teams from Yabo and Chef Brooke’s Natural Cafe will create culinary delights. Norman Love Confections will provide a grande final dessert extravaganza.

For those who cannot attend the event but would still like to make a donation to the Lee Memorial Health System Foundation can do so through the mail. Higgins said the donation needs to be designated to Barbara’s Friends. The address is 9800 S. HealthPark Drive, Suite 210, Fort Myers, FL 33908.

To register for the event call 239-343-6950.