Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Flood Sisters Gala & Fashion Show at Trump Tower

The Flood Sisters Kidney Foundation of America held an unforgettable gala and Love.Give.Life. fashion show at Trump Tower to raise awareness and funds for kidney disease and organ donation. 

The event was hosted by PIX 11 News 4-Time Emmy Award Reporter, Kirstin Cole and The Flood Sisters

The gala honored Michael Dellorso, kidney transplant recipient, Andrea LaPierre Battista, kidney donor as well as the Montefiore Transplant Team.

Speakers included 12 year old Acacia Puleo, 3 organ donor recipient, Andrea Samson, 20 year old in need of a kidney donor and the Montefiore Kidney Transplant Team.

Guests were invited to an elegant dinner and fashion show with top NYC designers such as EILEEN FISHER, Norma Kamali, Dana-Maxx, NY Rangers Goalie, Henrik Lundqvist's Crown Collection and GUESS

The gala also featured a silent auction with luxury items from Ferrari USA, DryBar, A look from designer, Dana-Maxx, Late Night With Seth Meyers, ELTAMD SKINCARE, Vineyard Vines, BARE SKIN & LASER and more.

The Flood Sisters started the organization after helping their father find an organ donor a few years ago. After saving their father's life Jennifer, Cynthia and Heather Flood created The Flood Sisters Kidney Foundation of America to save many others in need. 

According to The Flood Sisters, "Our story is simple. It is a message that conveys the courage to go beyond the norm and act upon it. It is only through courage, persistence, hope and love that we can start saving lives together."

Visit to learn more. 

The gala started with red carpet photos and interviews. The Flood Sisters were interviewed by PIX 11 News 4-Time Emmy Award Reporter, Kirstin Cole.

“Our organization is all about strangers coming forward and wanting to help someone. With a lot of exposure out there, a person sharing their story with the world that’s how donors contact us. It all started from our dad, from Craigslist and that was all due to exposure so it’s very important to get the word out there and there’s amazing people in the world that will come forward and want to test for someone and save someone’s life," said Jennifer Flood.

My good friend and attorney, Robin Herman was my unofficial photographer for the evening. We both wore THEIA dresses for the occasion. My dress was from their Resort 2014 collection and Robin’s was from Spring 2015. It was so much fun getting dressed up in THEIA. They're my absolute favorite dress company for high-profile and important events. Don O'Neill, THEIA's designer certainly knows how to make a woman stand out in every beautiful piece that he creates. 

Robin and I even beat our own record of getting ready for the gala. It took us about 45 minutes, as opposed to the hours we spend getting ready for events like these. This was mostly my fault as I misread the start time of the red carpet. ;) 

The gala featured a silent auction that included items from Ferrari USA, DryBar, A look from designer, Dana-Maxx, Late Night With Seth Meyers, ELTAMD SKINCARE, Vineyard Vines, BARE SKIN & LASER and more.

The first gala honoree was Michael Dellorso, a kidney transplant recipient. The Flood Sisters were instrumental in helping Michael find a donor, employing many of the same strategies they used to help their father. They were ultimately successful in their mission and Michael was their 7th successful transplant match.

Andrea LaPierre Battista, Michael’s heroic kidney donor came to speak next. 
“I want to thank the Flood Sisters for honoring me tonight. Back in December I saw the news report for Michael on Channel 11 about a 15 year old boy who was in search of a kidney for Christmas", said Andrea.

Andrea ultimately decided to donate one of her own after finding out she was a match. Without hesitation she mentioned how if it was one of her own children she would want someone to do the same for her family.  

A sweet 12 year old named Acacia Puleo came to speak next. “I’m so happy to be here with you tonight. I want to thank you so much for having me it’s really an honor. I’m here for a few main reasons. The first reason is because this is getting me out of doing my math homework. The second reason is because I want to be here to honor and support all the many participants in the world of organ donation, starting with the donors and their families, the doctors and nurses, recipients and their families and ofcourse the financial donors. I just celebrated my 13th birthday last week and if it weren’t for all of those people that I mentioned I wasn’t supposed to make it to my 2nd birthday", said Acacia.

Andrea Samson, a 20 year old in need of a kidney donor came to share her story. "I’m 20 years old from Northern NJ and my medical issues started when I was about 3 years old. I was always a very active child and one day I wasn’t so active. My pediatrician found that my blood pressure was 200 over 100 which was double what should have been", said Andrea. 10 years later Andrea received a transplant from her father in 2009 and now needs another one. 

The last honoree was Christine Gallo, who assisted the Flood Sisters every year with the fundraising event, but sadly recently passed away. Her parents came to accept her award on her behalf.

Bob Grant of Grant Financial Group, who was Christine’s last employer came to honor Christine. 

“I’ve been blessed to know Christine Gallo for the past 15 years. We spent more time together, probably then we did with our friends and family. She was instrumental in the growth and development of our business. She was beautiful and incredibly talented, deeply caring, funny and fun loving. I gave her a book called The Return to Love by Marianne Williamson and highlighted a quote that I would like to share with you tonight," said Bob.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It’s our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”  

"We ask ourselves who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually who are you not to be," Bob enthused. You’re a child of god, you playing small doesn’t serve the world. It’s only through courage, persistence and love that we can start saving lives, together.”

One of my favorite moments was catching up with my lovely friend Audrey Froggatt, a seriously amazing and talented photographer, and owner of Famed Studio, a full service photo studio right in the heart of the city. 

The second half of the evening commenced with an exciting fashion show with designers such as EILEEN FISHERNorma KamaliDana-Maxx, NY Rangers GoalieHenrik Lundqvist's Crown Collection and GUESS. I situated myself in the best possible spot to capture this fun action shot, as well as many others.

After the fashion show came the noteworthy dinner which included a classic shrimp cocktail appetizer and salad, as well as a choice of filet mignon, grilled atlantic salmon or pasta primavera for an entrĂ©e. Dessert was a warm brownie a la mode. 

I was so happy to see PR and events queen Bridget O’Brien. Bridget has coordinated some of the biggest events around the city and owns Bridget O’Brien PR and Events, an independent, full-service public relations and press agency, specializing in the development and delivery of high-profile media coverage and strategic branding. 

Bridget helped to flawlessly execute the incredible Flood Sisters gala that evening. Having worked in PR I know how much is involved in putting an event like this together is, and Bridget coordinated the whole thing like the seasoned PR pro that she is. 

A special thank you to Cynthia Flood, her sisters, and of course Bridget for having me be a part of this phenomenal evening. I was so moved to hear stories from the donors, doctors and of course the incredibly brave recipients. I didn’t know that much about organ donation, but I do now. The Flood Sisters are an amazing organization and I sincerely encourage you to visit their website to learn more about them and their mission to save lives. 

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