Monday, January 24, 2022

Marco Comes Out to Support Cancer Research

Photos by John Wissocki | Jeannie Machline, Sue Olszak, and Annilee Kathein.

For over a hundred years now, the American Cancer Society has been on the front lines raising money for cancer research and providing much needed educational information regarding Public Enemy #1. You’ll rarely find a family that hasn’t been touched by the disease or have had friends that have been affected by it 

Since 1947, the American Cancer Society has been responsible for investing $4.7 Billion in research. The additional research funding has allowed many advancements and expanded treatment protocols, improvements to the quality of life for cancer patients and great strides in the early discovery of many forms of cancer, allowing for earlier treatment regimens to improve survivability from cancer. 

For 37 years, the Marco Island Community has supported its own chapter of the American Cancer Society and have been extremely generous in the support of their objectives. Corey Grado, who had previously served as a volunteer in the Naples Chaptersaw the value of what could be accomplished here on Marco and was a driving force, along with her husband John, in establishing the Marco Island Chapter of the American Cancer Society. 

On March 6th of this year, the JW Marriott threopen its doors for the 35th year as they welcomed the Gala to raise funds to continue the fight against the ravages of cancer. The Imagination Ball, which the event has become known as the last 8 years, was held in the elegantly transformed Banyan Ball Room of the JW facilities on Collier Boulevard. Imagining a World Without Cancer has become the theme of the event, and the 2020 Gala did NOT disappoint any in attendance.  

For the second year in a row, Phoenix Roofing was the Presenting Sponsor for the Gala. The Seminole Casino stepped forward to sponsor the Pre-Event Cocktail Reception as the Diamond Sponsor. Rick’s Island Salon and Day Spa would graciously be the Photography Sponsor. Sharing the honors as Silver Sponsors was the First Florida Integrity Bank, Corrie Grado, John R. Wood Properties, Paradise Found Restaurant and Bar and the Rotary Club of Marco Island Sunrise. The Law Offices of Hodge and Snyder sponsored all the Volunteers. The Coastal Breeze News was the Media Sponsor for the evening. Cornerstone Builders of Southwest Florida and Frank Guido were the Contributing Donors for the evening’s activities. 

The highlight of the evening would be the presentation of the prestigious Grado Award for outstanding service to the community. That award was established to honor John and Corrie Grado who have been responsible for raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the fight against cancer in children over the years. 

Sadly, John away passed in November of 2014, but his wife continues the ongoing crusade to raise money regarding John’s passion to help children overcome their battle to overcome cancer. She now serves on the Board of the Imagination Ball. 

This year, the Grado Award was given to Jacquie and Curt Coon for their support of the American Cancer Society and their efforts to give back to the community they now call their home. The couple arrived here 11 years ago and opened CJ’s on the Bay at the Esplanade complex and would soon turn it into a center for community activities here on the island. 

“It feels good to be part of the solution, regarding the great work being done by the American Cancer Society. It gives us great pleasure knowing so many of the survivors that have won their battle,” said the Coons. 

Over 250 guests enjoyed a great evening of fun that included a silent and live auction which was run by Rich Gallo. He served as the auctioneer for the event and is well known throughout the State of Florida and nationally for his work with non-profits. 

The EMCEE for the event was by Amanda Cox, who serves as the Director of Sales and Marketing for the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort. She guided attendees through the entire evening with grace and charm, as the island came together once again for the wonderful cause of “Imagining a World Without Cancer.” 

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