YMCA Gala Centers on Diabetes Intervention and Prevention


Staging two successful and acclaimed children’s diabetes camps over the past two summers prompted the Marco YMCA of South Collier to take it a step further.

The Y decided to pour the proceeds from this year’s annual gala into the cause and ensure that it continues indefinitely.

Photos by Quentin Roux | Keynote speaker John Riley talks about the various functions and services embraced by the Marco YMCA of South Collier.

The gala, held at the JW Marriott this past Friday evening, had the appropriate theme of Make Magic Happen, and young diabetes campers Madison Good and Veronica Fernandes were official guests of honor.

About 150 guests applauded as keynote speaker John Riley of Riley Philanthropy—joined on stage by Core Health Partners’ Paul Thein—reiterated the value of YMCAs everywhere. “In our community, we are a convener of voices, a hub of collaborative services, promoters of education and health, providers of everything from basic needs to physical and social activities.”

Riley continued, “In my opinion, the Y is the most important piece of the social fabric of the island, but also of other communities throughout South Collier County.”

These communities, as he said, benefit from food, clothing and education, and number in the thousands.

Turning to the focal point of the gala—diabetes and its implications—Riley said childhood cases are growing at an epidemic rate.

“With your help, we will add a second camp session this summer,” Riley added, “and we will incorporate diabetes prevention and intervention into all of our other summer camp sessions.

“And that’s what your dollars support tonight.”

Marco Y representatives Morgan Joseph, Monica Ramos and Stephanie Pepper enjoy a photo.

The evening featured a live auction that included packages to see Hamilton on Broadway, and also a weeklong getaway in Costa Rica. 

Silent auction items included a signed Patriots helmet, an authentic guitar belonging to Paul McCartney of the Beatles, and a host of smaller items that quickly attracted bids.

Co-chairs of the evening were Jayme Lowe and Jennifer Stonebreaker, and committee members were Linda Cassens, Joe and Debbie Contarino and Fritzi Holmes. Convener was Ashley Lupo (Board Chair), and magician Gary Goodman provided mirth as well as magic.

For more on the Y’s wide variety of programs and activities for adults and children, visit marcoymca.org or call 239-394-9622. Follow on Twitter at ymcamarco, on Facebook at marcoymca, and Instagram at ymcamarco.



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