100 Women Making a Difference

Judy Ranan & Dr. A. Purush RaoJudy Ranan & Dr. A. Purush Rao

On Thursday January 27, 100 fabulous women (and a few lucky men!) gathered at the Santa Monica home of philanthropist Mary Gwynn to kick off the event-packed 2011 fundraising calendar for the Los Angeles chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The intimate gathering was hosted by Gwynn and Deborah Aal Stoff, producer of the film Sweet November, starring Charlize Theron, and whose interest in CF began several years ago while producing a movie based on the book written by Frank Deford, of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.” The book – Alex, The Life of Child – chronicled the story of his young daughter who died of Cystic Fibrosis, which remains North America’s number one inherited disease killer of children and young adults.

Featuring the culinary creations of Warren Schwartz, Executive Chef of LA’s Westside Tavern, guests heard an inspiring presentation from Dr. A. Purush Rao of USC Medical Center who spoke about the recent advances made in CF treatment as a result of well-funded research, much to the credit of the CFF and the Los Angeles chapter executive directorJudy Ranan. Ranan’s husband George Perkins is the executive producer of ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” and has produced films such as Teen Wolf starring Michael J. Fox, Extremities starring Farrah Fawcett, Who’s Harry Crumb? starring John Candy, and Metro starring Eddie Murphy.

Actress Brenda Strong of “Desperate Housewives” and Tiiu Leek, former news anchor/reporter for KTLA-5 (who happens to be Punch Pacific’s mom)Actress Brenda Strong of “Desperate Housewives” and Tiiu Leek, former news anchor/reporter for KTLA-5 (who happens to be Punch Pacific’s mom).

Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disease that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive tract and is one of the most common chronic lung diseases in children and young adults, often resulting in early death. It has been around since the Middle Ages when babies died in infancy or early childhood from what was called “salty skin.” Swiss pediatrician Guido Fanconi named the disease in 1936 and in 1949, Dr. Dorothy Hansine Andersen finally discovered that CF was a genetic disease caused by a recessive mutant gene. With this knowledge and ongoing research doctors have found better treatment options whereby “CF people” (as Dr. Rao likes to call them) can now live into adulthood, often going to college, having careers and full lives, even children of their own, but life expectancy is still cut short.

The Scene The Scene

The 2011 Fundraising calendar is event packed and includes some truly unique experiences, including the much-anticipated Wisteria Lane Block Party in April, which will give attendees the opportunity to party on the actual set of the ABC hit’s Wisteria Lane, enjoying an old-fashioned barbeque, a silent auction, mingling with celebs, and rocking out to the music of The Band from TV, comprised of James Denton (“Desperate Housewives”), Greg Grunberg (“Heroes”, “Alias”), Adrian Pasdar (“Heroes”), Scott Grimes (“American Dad”, “ER”), Hugh Laurie (“House”), and Bob Guiney (“The Bachelor”, “Date my House”). Tickets and sponsorships for the event are now available by visiting the event website at www.WisteriaLaneBlockParty.com.

Co-hosts of the evening, Mary Gwynn (on left) and Deborah Aal Stoff
Co-hosts of the evening, Mary Gwynn (on left) and Deborah Aal Stoff

In May, the CFFLA will host the 22nd Annual Culinary Evening with the California Winemasters on “Midwest Street” at the Warner Brothers Studio Backlot in Burbank, offering another unique behind-the-scenes locale and fabulous food and wine.

Other 2011 initiatives for the LA chapter include nine “Great Strides” Walk-a-Thons between March and October and the chance to play some of Southern California’s finest and more exclusive gold courses, including the Dave Taylor Golf CFF event at Moorpark Country Club in June.

Chef Warren Schwartz with his sous chefsChef Warren Schwartz with his sous chefs

For more information on these & other events and how to get involved, please visit the CFF website at www.cff.org/chapters/losangeles.

About Lindsay Taub:
Lindsay Taub is an LA-based writer/editor who covers travel, lifestyle, culture, music/arts, food, wellness, and more. She calls Los Angeles home when she's there, but prefers to leave the city for the mountains and open spaces as often as possible. She loves cooking, gardening, live music, hiking with her three rescue dogs, and rustic luxury. Follow her on instagram/twitter @lindsaytaub and follow the Pacific Punch @ThePacificPunch or email lindsaytaub58@gmail.com. Learn more at www.lindsaytaub.com and www.voyagevixens.com .***
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