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The 2011 Joie de Vie Gala, a benefit for the Cancer Patient Support Fund, will be held on Sunday, October 16 at Ironstone Vineyards.

Gail Witzlesteiner, SRMC’s Director of Develpment and Public Relations, was Wednesday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”.

The Cancer Patient Support Fund assists local cancer patients with their unmet financial needs. Gasoline prices continue to be high, so many patients have needed help with transportation getting to their treatments. While the current economic crunch has been challenging, it has added an even greater burden to those who are too ill to work. In addition to assisting with transportation needs, the Cancer Patient Support Fund helps to pay for groceries, utilities, rent, housecleaning and medication co-pays.

This, the 11th annual Joie de Vie Gala, includes a silent auction, dinner, presentation and entertainment. A silent auction featuring items such as art, dinners, services and vacation opportunities will be held to raise additional funds.

The Joie de Vie Gala is sponsored by Front Porch, Robert D’Acquisto, MD, Mihoko Fujita, MD, Black Oak Casino, Blue Mountain Minerals, Clarke Broadcasting Corp., Cutler-Segerstrom Insurance Agency, Charles Habekost, DDS, Genentech, Sierra Emergency Medical Group and Yosemite Title Company.

Mary Webb Laveroni of Groveland, who died at the age of 97 on May 21, 2011, will be posthumously honored at the Joie de Vie Gala. Her family will be presented with the prestigious Irving Symons Award, recognizing her long-term, outstanding community service.

Mary was passionate about community education and health, and was instrumental in bringing many services to the Groveland area throughout her life. She was a 77- year resident of Groveland and worked for the US Forest Service for 18 years. Mary helped secure water from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir for Groveland Community Service District (GCSD) customers who were using iron-rich water from the Del Monte Mine. She was a founding member and charter director of GCSD for 26 years, 15 years as the chair. Mary also served actively on the Big Oak Flat-Groveland school board, was chair of the Southern Tuolumne County Planning Commission, The Tuolumne County Education Board, and the Columbia College Community Advisory Board. She was a founding director of Southern Tuolumne County Historical Society, as well as their president for many years.

Through a charitable remainder trust established in 1986, Mary selflessly donated the land and financed the construction of the Groveland Family Medical Clinic, thereby ensuring health care services for the residents of the Groveland area. In 2002, she donated additional land for the Groveland Ambulance Station. In 2003, Wayside Park was renamed “Mary Laveroni Community Park” in her honor.

As well as raising a family, Mary and her husband George, operated the Iron Door Saloon, a hardware store, two sawmills and lumber businesses for nearly 50 years.

The Irving Symons Award, named after the late Irving Symons, recognizes longtime, outstanding community service. Former recipients include Irving Symons, Frank Salel, H. Randolph Holder, Robert Cutler, Pete Kerns, Pete and Sue Kleinert, Joe Martin and Chuck and Willy Evans.

The Joie de Vie Gala Committee is chaired by Sally Kerns and members are Kimberly Darr, Kimberly Habekost, Kathrina McRee, Anne Patel, Debbie Peterson, Tracy Russell, Shirley Sarno, Darrell Slocum, Julie von Savoye and Gail Witzlsteiner

If you would like to make a difference in the life of a cancer patient as well as pay tribute to a life of service, attend or contribute to the Gala. Please contact the Foundation Office at 536-5029 for more information.

The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard each weekday morning on AM 1450 KVML at 6:47, 7:47 and 8:47am.

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