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Third Annual Holiday Challenge Luncheon Scores Big with Donors

American Red Cross San Gabriel-Pomona Valley Third Annual Holiday Challenge Luncheon
The event raised over $100,000 in donations from members of the local business community.

The San Gabriel Pomona Valley Chapter hosted its third Holiday Challenge Luncheon on Friday, December 6 at the Sheraton Pasadena Hotel. The event raised over $100,000 in donations from members of the local business community.

Christina Moore and John Ducey, recognized television talent with a host of credits, were the program’s emcees, in which the missions of the American Red Cross were highlighted by guests and video. Keynote speaker Michael Burns, the Red Cross Division Disaster Executive in the San Francisco Bay Area, shared his extensive knowledge about preparedness.

Three businesses were honored for their contribution to the Red Cross’ Philippine relief efforts. The Panda Restaurant Group, the Ferensis Group and Parsons collectively raised almost $350,000.

The youngest speakers of the day were Dawn and David Otasowie, twin children of Osas Otasowie, the Los Angeles Region’s Faith Based Coordinator. They gave their personal accounts of making their own preparedness kits as part of the Walt Disney Company sponsored Pillowcase Project. Disney donates pillowcases for local youngsters to decorate with personal preparedness creative artistry.

An especially moving presentation was one of the luncheon’s highlights. Nancy Reed, who collapsed from an almost always fatal aortic dissection, was saved by a young man who had only recently learned CPR.

Nancy and her husband were enjoying lunch on the patio of the Brookside Golf Course in Pasadena. Suddenly, she experienced indescribable pain in her chest and knew something was very wrong. Luis Cruz, a young man working at the club, came forward to administer CPR, and his actions were instrumental in keeping Nancy Reed alive until paramedics could reach her.

After a seven hour surgery, which doctors told her she had a 50/50 chance of surviving – Nancy recovered. Luis Cruz was honored at the lunch with the Red Cross Lifesaving Award.

The lunch presented guests with an update of the vital services that the Red Cross provides to the community and a review of each of the areas of the Red Cross mission, including blood services and the support that is given to the military and their families. Local members of the armed forces were present to accept guest gratitude for their service.

Former Board Chair Mike Zoeller hosted the table that won the day’s challenge.

View images from the Third Annual Holiday Challenge Luncheon