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Hearts of Gold Sparkle at PCFLV Gala

The Pediatric Cancer Foundation of the Lehigh Valley raised $321,000 at their 2024 Hearts of Gold Gala March 23. Nearly 350 guests enjoyed cocktails, dinner, dancing, and a live auction of children’s artwork conducted by auctioneer Jason Douglas Houser.

The nonprofit’s sold-out fundraiser was again hosted at the Centennial Catering and Conference Center in Center Valley. The event brought in $72,000 more than 2023’s gala.

Realtor and Truffle Bar owner Ryan Dietrick, along with educator and PCFLV gala chair Cecilia Grabias presided as emcees.

Executive Director Michelle Zenie Rounds said, “This year is an important year in the history of PCFLV - it marks our 20th birthday!” She expressed gratitude to those who turned out to support their mission to help children battling pediatric cancer and their families.

Zenie Rounds mourned the loss of the five young patients who lost their battles against cancer. Among them were Presley, ¬Laura, Hailey, Sophia and Ian.

The Heart of a Warrior Award was presented to Allentown residents and Weichert realtors Pat and Stephen Spitzer for their continued support of PCFLV through their cornhole tournament and various sponsorships.

Olivia Radcliffe and her nurse and mentor Emily Hartman shared the mic as keynote speakers. Now 22 and living in Berks County, Radcliffe described her journey surviving pediatric cancer with the help of Hartman and others on her medical treatment team. Inspired by the care she received, Radcliffe graduated from Temple University in 2022 and works as a full-time nurse at the Children’s Cancer Center at Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital.

Hartman, a registered nurse, is Patient Care Manager at the hospital’s Children’s Cancer Center. She spoke of how she was inspired by Radcliffe’s courage in battling cancer and her compassion in helping other children deal with similar circumstances.

“The Infiniti Circle,” a mosaic created by Radcliffe and Hartman, fetched $20,000. The winning bid was awarded to President Dennis Hower of Teamsters Local #773 based in Whitehall.

Easton-based singer-songwriter Lilly Moss Hercik sang “Some Angels Weren’t Meant to Fly” The 18-year-old survivor of Acute Lymphoblastic Lukemia wrote the song she performed halfway through the auction. The mosaic she created of the same title sold for $20,000.

Also, up for bid or purchase were gift baskets donated by area businesses and individuals, bottles of wine in a wine pull, as well as glass centerpieces created by the ArtsQuest Glass Studio.

“We are so thrilled as Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital to be the ‘Presenting Sponsor’ of tonight‘s gala,” says Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital President Anne Baum. “Our Children’s Cancer Center cares for many of the kids and families that benefit from the services that PCFLV provides to the community.”

Among the long list of additional sponsors are Rob and Kristen Bennett, Structural Metal Fabricators, Teamsters Local #773, FGX Creative, Ai Orthodontics, FTTS (Forward Thinking Technology Solutions), AmericaVen and ASR Media.

The Pediatric Cancer Foundation of the Lehigh Valley provides free programming and services to local children with cancer and their families.

PCFLV is located at 4501 Crackersport Rd., Allentown. Information: 484-221-9294; pcflv.org.

Educator and PCFLV gala chair Cecilia Grabias and realtor and Truffle Bar owner Ryan Dietrick take turns as emcees.
Serving as greeters are Andrew “Squishy“ Bosco, in front, and in back, from left, Isabell Tackas, McCoy Rapa and Emily Farannte.
press photos by ed courrier Assisting at the wine pull table are, from left, Dakota Luzader from Saucon Township and Nikki Krnican from Emmaus, along with PCFLV board member Kim Cramsey and volunteer Jeff Gallagher.
Event sponsors Rob and Kristen Bennett from Allentown with son Bryce's “True Colors” acrylic. The 11-year-old cancer warrior was diagnosed with medulloblastoma at age 2 but is currently doing well. The winning bid for his painting was $2,500.
“Hulk's Body Adventure” by cancer warrior Colin Neville from Allentown fetches a winning bid of $1,600. Holding up his artwork during the auction are his parents Tom and Lindsay. The 9-year-old is off treatment and doing well.
At left, PCFLV Executive Director Michelle Zenie Rounds announces The Heart of a Warrior Award goes to Allentown residents Pat and Stephen Spitzer, at right.
From left, keynote speakers Olivia Radcliffe and Emily Hartman hold up their mosaic “The Infiniti Circle” as auctioneer Jason Douglas Houser works the audience for bids.
From left, Bethlehem-based singer-songwriter Lilly Moss Hercik and her mom, Natalee Hercik enjoy their caricature drawn by Donna Needs from Zionsville.