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The Diamond Centennial Red Cross Ball


There is so much hurting going on in the world. Children are dying from starvation, disease, and as casualties of war. Human suffering is something that should not exist given how wealthy some people are, while others can’t get enough to eat to survive. Drought, famine, war, and poverty are things that we can all do our bit to bring to an end. I believe strongly that the Red Cross is integral in ‘fighting the good fight’ to reduce human suffering, and one way in which they have done that is through hosting the fundraising event the Diamond Centennial Red Cross Ball.

The event was held at the spectacular Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida on February 4th, 2017. Guests included foreign ambassadors, dignitaries, philanthropic leaders from various parts of the world, nobility from as far afield as England, Italy and France, as well as a number of U.S. celebrities and business personalities. The white tie ball was organized to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first International Red Cross Ball as well as to acknowledge 100 years of service of that Red Cross in South Florida.

Red Carpet Guests

Mrs. Janet Cafaro, wife of Mall developer J.J. Cafaro, chaired the event and among U.S. guests to attend the red carpet occasion were the President and First Lady, Donald and Melania Trump. It is not the first time Donald Trump has attended a Red Cross Ball however it is the first one as President. Trump has in fact hosted several throughout the years and so is a familiar face at the yearly event. Lingerie designer Rhonda Shear attended, as did Donald and Renee Scott, Douglas Jencks and Carolyn Jaeger, Irene Athans, Gen. Carter Clarke, Judi Richards, Carla Mann, Joe and Terry Mendoza, Lois Pope, U.S. Congressman Brian Mast, Jack Frost, U.S. Congresswoman Lois Frankel and Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill.

As with any occasion of this caliber guests were greeted by a receiving line before being ushered to the pool area for cocktails and a fireworks display, with musicians dressed in Hapzburg costumes playing classical music in the background. After cocktails the crowd moved inside for the speeches, dinner and dancing.


Mar-a-Lago’s Grand Ballroom was resplendent with snow-white table lines, gold-rimmed dinner service and all-white flower bouquets to resemble 18th-century Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors, with the service staff in period costume of powdered wigs and Marie Antoinette dresses or satin knee breeches, lending additional authenticity to the “Vienna to Versailles” theme. Lavish touches of gold were carefully placed throughout the magnificent ballroom.

Those to speak were Janet Cafaro, chairwoman, Patrick Park, honorary chairman, and Donald Trump, President of the United States. The President gave a short but succinct speech that talked of the great humanitarian work undertaken by the Red Cross and how important it was to the world for the organization to continue to do all that they can.

Though it was by all standards a lavish affair it is important to remember the purpose of the Ball is to raise funds for the Red Cross to continue their humanitarian efforts, and guests were being asked to ‘dig deep’ to help the cause, which by all accounts they did.