story and photos by Ruby Dean
The 12th annual A Night in the Caribbean fundraiser for the Gregory Kistler Treatment Center was held Saturday, May 3, at Golden Living, with approximately 275 guests attending an evening of bidding, dancing and celebrating the center.
Last year’s event raised approximately $55,000 with hopes of matching last year’s amount or surpassing that amount.
New this year to the event was the Cork for a Cause. Patrons paid $20 for a numbered cork which was matched to a bottle of wine. For the second year, a photo booth was a popular attraction to guests. Guests also had the chance to bid on over 200 silent auction items. A live auction also was held.
The drawdown, a 50/50 split the pot was also a big hit. Tickets were $20 but participants could buy back their already drawn ticket for $10 and be re-entered in the drawing for an additional chance. The last name drawn out was the winner.
Food was catered by Mickey Sellard, executive chef at Golding Living. The main entrée was the traditional Bahaman-basted whole roasted hog. Dessert consisted of choice of cheesecake tarts or bananas, pretzels, strawberries, Oreos and marshmallows which could be dipped in chocolate.
An open bar staffed by Top Shelf Bartenders served Mojitos and a signature drink Fuji Breeze appropriately named for the occasion.
Following the meal, the room and the dance floor came alive with Salsa and Latin jazz music from Tulsa-based band Grupo Salsabor.
Sarah and Jason Rogers know firsthand how important the benefits of the Kistler Center are. Their daughter, Allie, was born prematurely when Sarah was only 28 weeks along in her pregnancy. Allie only weighed 2 pounds 4 ounces. She began therapy at the age of 3 months and continued until 15 months. Her parents said that At 2 ½, she is at her milestones with others her age, and one would never know she was born premature because of the physical therapy received through the center.
The Kistler center provides rehabilitative services for children in the Fort Smith area regardless of the family's financial means. Parents and family members also receive support from a community environment built around the camaraderie of caregivers, therapists and other families in the same situation. The center offers physical, occupational and speech therapy to children with special needs.