DOWNEY -- The Rancho Los Amigos Foundation will honor Matt Rezvani of BP America and Rancho patient Jay Cramer at its 26th Annual Amistad Gala, which will be held Saturday, March 31 at the Westin Long Beach Hotel.Downey civic leader Beverly Mathis will chair the black-tie event, entitled "A Mardi Gras for Miracles". Los Angeles Fourth District Supervisor Don Knabe will be the honorary chair and master of ceremonies. "The response to this year's gala has been overwhelming," Beverly said. "Everyone seems to love the Mardi Gras theme, and we are pleased that we have already sold nearly 50 tables for the event. We are also very thankful for the major gifts we have received for the event from the Annenberg Foundation, BP and Supervisor Knabe," she said. This year's recipients of the Amistad Award, Rancho's highest honor, have each made huge positive impacts at world-renowned Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center. "Matt Rezvani has been a great friend to Rancho for many years," said Rancho Los Amigos Foundation Board Member Carmen O. Perez. "He has come through with major gifts for our patients time after time, which is a key reason why he is receiving the Amistad Award for Community Service," she said. "We greatly appreciate his friendship, his leadership and his heart. He is truly a great friend." Rancho Occupational Therapist Michele Berro expressed the staff's overwhelming support for the Amistad Award for Individual Achievement that will go to Jay Cramer. "Jay has been an incredible friend to Rancho," she said. "He is the Director of our Performing Arts Program, manages the Patient Resource Center and serves as a peer mentor for our patients. He even sits on our Patient Advisory Council. I can't remember a patient who did more to help improve the lives of those we serve." Rancho CEO Jorge Orozco agreed. "Jay suffered a life-changing spinal cord injury six years ago, and after his rehabilitation at Rancho, he has been a life-changing force for many of his fellow patients," he said. "Everyone at Rancho values Jay and his many vital contributions to the hospital." Another person who is highly valued by the Foundation and the hospital is the renowned philanthropist and humanitarian Wallis Annenberg, who is the Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of the Annenberg Foundation. "Wallis Annenberg loves Rancho, and Rancho loves her back," said Rancho Los Amigos Foundation Board President Connie Martinez. "She has a deep understanding of Rehabilitation Medicine, and has provided generous grant support that has made an immeasurable difference to Rancho and its patients over the last decade. We are in awe of the breadth of her vision and her unwavering support, and we are particularly thankful for the major gift she has made to the Amistad Gala that will make many miracles for our patients." In addition to making miracles, the Amistad Gala is expected to be one of the Foundation's most fun events ever. "We have some of Downey's most creative people helping us transform the Westin into a magical Mardi Gras environment," Beverly said. "The incomparable Mia Vasquez of Saywell Florist is doing the flowers and the design for the ballroom, and the fabulously talented Judy Glover from Downey will again be creating the most beautiful and fun silent auction in Southern California. The event will also have audio-visual support and special lighting from David Raybould and Rainbow Sound & Lights from North Hills." Amistad will also feature a opportunity drawing and a live auction with Supervisor Knabe serving as auctioneer. "We wish to thank our number one supporter, Supervisor Knabe, for everything he does each year to make the Amistad Gala a wonderful night for the Rancho family and all our friends," Connie said. "He and his family have a special relationship with Rancho, and we are thrilled to know that he is always fighting for our patients." The Foundation has created a video trailer for the event, which can be viewed from the home page of the Rancho web site (rancho.org). "The Zydeco music will put you in a Mardi Gras mood," Beverly said. "We are planning to do the same thing at the gala by creating a roomful of Mardi Gras spirit, serving a delicious Mardi Gras menu, and making it a true Big Easy evening for all our guests!" For further information, call the Rancho Los Amigos Foundation at (562) 401-7053 or visit rancho.org, facebook.com/rancholosamigosrehab or twitter.com/ranchorehab.
********** Published: March 08, 2012 - Volume 10 - Issue 47