Dr. Forbes “Denny” Porter of the NIH Honored

The evening’s performances include a touching tribute to Dana Marella with Adrienne Pluta and Bailey Outerbridge singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow, accompanied by Alexander Constantine, on the keyboard.

Friday, May 30, 2014 at the Palace Theatre in Stamford, CT

Kenny Pic -w- Logo in White

On Friday, May 30, 2014 stars and musicians converged at the Palace Theater in Stamford, Connecticut for Dana’s Angels Research Trust’s annual gala benefit concert.  The evening opened with the singing of Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Adrienne Pluta and Bailey Outerbridge, with Alexander Constantine on the keyboard, accompanying a video tribute to Dana Marella, the namesake of the foundation, who sadly lost her battle with this rare childhood disease last summer. Today Show co-host, Kathie Lee Gifford, with her husband, football Hall of Fame legend Frank Gifford, returned for their ninth year as hosts of the night.  The Giffords also hosted a beautiful patron party at their home overlooking Long Island Sound the evening before, Thursday, May 29, 2014, for especially generous supporters of DART.  At the Friday gala, Dr. Forbes D. Porter, Clinical Director of the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, MD was honored with DART’s Guardian Angel Award.  Dr. Porter’s efforts for Niemann-Pick type C disease include important clinical research with children, and leading the current FDA clinical trial of Cyclodextrin with Niemann-Pick type C disease patients. The awards portion of the Friday’s gala evening concluded with WCBS-FM’s Scott Shannon introducing Kenny Loggins.

Following the awards, guests were treated to an electrifying concert by master singer-songwriter Kenny Loggins and his band that had the Palace Theatre rocking and the crowd on their feet.  Mr. Loggins sang an unforgettable collection of songs like Angry Eyes, Danger Zone, I’m Alright, Your Mama Don’t Dance and Footloose – the night’s theme.  Mixed in were some favorite ballads including Danny’s Song, Celebrate Me Home, at which point Mr. Loggins came down from the stage, stood on the arms of a seat in the front row, leading a theatre filled chorus.  Mr. Loggins closed out the evening dedicating the beautiful song Forever to DART Trustee Andrea Marella in tribute to the Marella’s daughter Dana.

The evening began with a gala reception where people mingled enjoying cocktails, hors d’ouevres and a pasta bar by the World famous New York City Italian restaurant Rao’s.  Guests also participated in a silent auction, and an exciting live auction featuring one-of-a-kind luxury items. One of the fabulous auction items, a villa in beautiful St. Barth’s overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, sold for $11,500. Also included in the auction was dinner at Rao’s, hosted by real-life “French Connection” detective Sonny Grosso himself, which went for a total of $20,000 – two bidders paying $10,000 each and 4 tickets in the Mara Family Suite to a NY Giants game that also sold for $10,000. Dana’s Angels Research Trust raised over $400,000 benefiting the medical research to find a cure or treatment for Niemann-Pick type C disease, a disease that affects children and is at present incurable. Each year celebrity guests attend the event, which has raised over $3,750,000 dollars to date.

Additional notable guests included Maria Pope Kessel, DART’s Event Chairperson, and Kerry Kessel, Lois Pope, Sonny Grosso, Lynn and Frank Mara, Eileen and Steve Bartels, Nancy and Bob Selander, Dan and Jennifer Gressel, Liz and Keith Fleischman, Marlene and Alan Gilbert, Lori and Frank Mercede, Lena and Jonathan Moffly, Anna and Tom Povinelli, Stamford Mayor David Martin and his wife Judy, and many more.

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