Jeans, Jewels & Jam fundraiser enjoys rooftop perch

| Sunday, June 30, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

“That's why we started this,” said Jeff Leonard as he surveyed the denim-clad support network of the Cancer Caring Center. “They wanted something different and a different crowd. … I like to wear jeans!”

Echoing the sentiment, no one among the guest list for Jeans, Jewels & Jam was left wanting for a stricter dress code, although there were a few who insisted on verifying ahead of time that a tux 'n' tie wasn't necessary.

“I questioned that at first,” confessed Brandon Devennie, who was joined by his wife, Kellee. “I said, ‘I don't want to be “that guy” who shows up in jeans.' ”

A change in venue to the rooftop deck of the Smith Brothers Agency on Federal Street afforded a literal breath of fresh air for the eighth annual soiree, which drew the likes of executive director Rebecca Whitlinger, Mary Beth Fischerkeller, Mary Prezioso, George Raftis Sr., Carol Kairies, Paul Gruver, Annie Grills, Leanna Schudiske, Victoria Berdnik, Mark Wells, Robin Beruh, Tina McGroder, Natalie Mikula, and Stephanie Samolovitch down to the North Shore.

A slightly schizophrenic weather pattern throughout the day threatened to put a damper on the occasion but, luckily, it never materialized.

“I prayed, prayed, for no rain,” Leonard said, although it didn't seem likely that a move indoors would have resulted in an early night for this crowd of 125. As the clock ticked closer to closing time, no one seemed very motivated to move from their perch.

In-kind donations allowed the majority of the revenue from the party on June 27 to be put directly toward the Center's mission of supporting cancer patients and their families, one that has been making a difference to area residents for the past 25 years.

Kate Benz is the social columnist for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 412-380-8515.

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