On Sunday, September 11, about 800 supporters of the Arthritis Foundation gathered at Riviera Garden Park for the 35th annual Taste of the Town event. Proceeds from the event all go toward supporting the services, activities, and funding provided by the Santa Barbara office of the Arthritis Foundation.
At this idyllic spot, guests could sample food from about 40 vendors and taste wine, beer, and spirits from about 35 beverage purveyors. The Dave Tover Band provided delightful jazz music throughout the afternoon. Guests mingled, dined, and relaxed at tables adjacent to the picturesque lily pond.
This event followed another fundraiser, the Connoisseurs’ Circle dinner on Friday at Bacara Resort & Spa, where 200 guests enjoyed a three-course culinary delight.
The Arthritis Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of the 53 million people with arthritis in this country through education, advocacy, research, and support. Executive director Michal Wiesbrock noted that while arthritis is often thought of as an old people’s disease, it afflicts persons of all ages. In this country, 300,000 children have arthritis.
The Santa Barbara office holds public forums throughout the year, provides educational materials to healthcare providers and patients, holds fundraising events, and funds attendance at camps for children and teenagers with arthritis and their families.
It holds two Juvenile Arthritis Family Fun Days per year where children with juvenile arthritis and their families can meet each other, hear from experts and engage in fun activities. The next event will be held on October 9 at the Natural History Museum.
The other major fundraising event is the Walk to Cure Arthritis which is held in the Spring.
Part of the funds raised at the event go to send children and teens with juvenile arthritis to Camp Esperanza where they engage in traditional fun camp activities, receive education, and have the invaluable opportunity to spend time with others suffering from the same condition. The location of the camp changes yearly.
This year’s Youth Honoree was Erin Mahan, a senior at Dos Pueblos High School with Ankylosing Spondylitis, a form of arthritis that affects the spine and other joints. Mahan exuded enthusiasm when talking about her experience at Camp Experanza this summer,“it was a truly amazing experience. I met so many strong kids and teens going through similar challenges and I made lifelong friends.”
This year’s Medical Honorees were Dr. William Gallivan and his wife Karen Gallivan, RN, who work together in their Santa Barbara office and have been volunteers with the Arthritis Foundation since 2011. They were co-chairs of the 2013 Santa Barbara Walk to Cure Arthritis.
The event honorary co-chairs were Tina Takaya and Richard Yates, co-owners of Opal Restaurant & Bar, and the event co-chairs were board member Amye Leong and John Stampe.
For more information on the Arthritis Foundation, go to arthritis.org.
By Gail Arnold