Champions for Hope Gala benefits St. Jude's

| Sunday, June 30, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Inspiration and fearless courage were found within the smallest of packages during the St. Jude Champions for Hope Gala.

Benefiting the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the June 28 event at the Duquesne Club was punctuated with heartfelt “St. Jude Stories” from area families, including the Simkovics and Boomer-Braziers.

Billy Hartung and students from the Center for Theater Arts promised that they'd “leave a handprint on your heart” by the time they had sung their little hearts out. The promise was well-delivered for the likes of honorary co-chairs Tom Bradley, Jim Krenn, Justin Hartwig, the Hon. Jack McVay and Janine Palmer, Tim McVay and David Bush.

Merril Hoge shared a powerful testimonial regarding his own battle with cancer.

“I was grateful that I got to bear the cross and not my kids,” Hoge said. “I don't think there's any greater gift than when you get to save others.”

Rounding out the who's who were Corina Diehl, Sarah Galiotto, Brian Hart, Dr. Reshma Paranjpe, Mary Prezioso, Anthony Incorvati, Jodi Ward, Joseph Totten III, Robert Braithwaite Jr., Bridget Guarascio, Dr. Linda Koumpouras, Christie Smith and Debbie Kane.

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

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