If life is a carnival, the 21st annual Rainbow Gala on Saturday provided the perfect setting. More than 780 guests at the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) gala walked into a ballroom transformed by Bonnie Walker into a tented wonderland of red and blue, with circus-themed accouterments including live goldfish centerpieces. Festive atmosphere aside, the evening raised serious money — more than $1.4 million — to help fund a cure for Type 1 diabetes. Many in the crowd had a personal connection to the disease, including Maureen Barunas, whose son Ryan has diabetes. He was there to see her honored for nearly 25 years as a JDRF board member and volunteer. Maria Metro (with David) and Cindy Paul (with John) co-chaired the evening, with Rob German (with Anne) as corporate chair. An extensive silent and live auction kept guests busy between dancing to Gary Racan and the studio-e Band (hard to sit still!) and a dinner of filet and macadamia-crusted sablefish. Among the many were board chair Nan and Steve De Turk, Sue Zitelli, Debbie and Mike Barbarita, Bonnie and Tom Van Kirk, Dr. Stan and Nikol Marks, Kitty Gleason, Bill Caroselli, Sue Fitzsimmons, Evan and Holly Frasier, Roseanne Wholey, Morgan and Kathy O’Brien, Ellen Marks and emcee Larry Richert.
By Marylynn Uricchio / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Photo by J. Monroe Butler II.