A Night Out: Leukemia Ball

By: Mary Clare Glover

What: The Leukemia Ball

Where: Washington Convention Center

When: Saturday night from 6:30 PM until about Midnight

Ticket Price: $1,000

Attire: Black-Tie Formal

Who: Washington's business community came out in full force for the gala's 20th anniversary, which raised $3.5 million for the National Capital Area Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Major sponsors included Northrop Grumman, American Airlines, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Mercedes-Benz, and Sprint Nextel. ABC Weatherman Tony Perkins emceed while legendary comic Bill Cosby performed stand-up and roots-rock band Hootie and The Blowfish played many of its 1990s hits.

The Scene: The entrance of the Convention Center was flanked with the evening's two raffle prizes—a Mercedes-Benz GL450 Sport Utility Vehicle and a Mercedes-Benz C230 Sport Sedan.  Professional dancers waltzed alongside the cars as volunteers directed patrons up the escalator to the silent auction. Among the many silent auction items were a 14-day Mediterranean cruise valued at $20,396, a Lance Armstrong autographed road bike, tickets to the Super Bowl, a free LASIK procedure, and a "chance to be immortalized" by having your caricature mounted at The Palm Tysons Corner.

The Washington Redskins donated scores of autographed memorabilia—as the silent auction closed it looked like Joe Gibbs brought in more money than any of his players with $500 for an autographed football. Chris Cooley wasn't far behind, netting $450 for an autographed jersey. If the bids were a popularity contest, Sean Taylor would have come in last—a mini-helmet with his signature went for a mere $150.

Funniest Moment: About ten minutes into Bill Cosby's routine, an over-served guest loudly declared her love for the comic. Cosby sarcastically asked the woman if she had been drinking and told her date to bring duct tape with him next time.

Most Touching Moment: Leukemia survivors went from table to table thanking guests.  After the program and awards presentation, a five-year-old Leukemia patient was brought on stage and said, "Thank you for helping me get better" to the sold-out crowd of 2,500.

Food: A salad with green, yellow, and red tomatoes was followed by a surf-and-turf entree of steak and shrimp with mashed potatoes and carrots. Dessert was a too-rich-for-my-taste chocolate cake garnished with berries.

Gift Bag: A gift certificate to Oasis Winery, $250 towards a piece of custom jewelry at Adeler Jewelers, and a tub of jewelry cleaner.

Ratings:
Bold Face Guests: 3.5 (out of 5)
Swankiness: 4.5 (out of 5)
Food/Drinks: 3 (out of 5)
Overall Exclusivity: 4 (out of 5)

Total Score: 15 (out of 20)

More photos below.