Celebrity Fashion Designer Michael Costello Debuts New Collection at 16th Annual DesignCare Benefitting The HollyRod Foundation
West Hollywood July 19th, 2014. Holly Robinson Peete & The Peete Family hosted celebrities and friends at The Lot Studios in Hollywood, for the 16th annual DesignCare, a celebration of fashion, philanthropy and music, to benefit the HollyRod Foundation, the glamorous evening of fashion and music benefited the HollyRod Foundation. Along with a cocktail reception and silent/live auction, the event featured a runway show by celebrity fashion designer Michael Costello, which showcased the collection that will be presented at Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week in the fall! Guests were also treated to a special musical performance by a cappella style R&B group known for their "Vocal Play," Naturally 7, who had attendees on their feet grooving to an unforgettable rendition of Stingís "Englishman in New York."
Holly told the audience how DesignCare got started, when her husband Rodney told her that they needed to use their platform to help those who couldnít. Her father, Matt Robinson, writer/producer and original Gordon on Sesame Street, was diagnosed with Parkinson at age 46. "There was no internet them. I went to one of those things called libraries and found that it was neurological and it was incurable," Holly said. Then the Peeteís first boy, R.J., was diagnosed with autism. "Back then, in 2002, one in 2000 kids were diagnosed. Now itís one in 66," Holly stated.
The HollyRod Foundation has just opened an R.J. Center for underserved families with relatives with autism and it has given 2,000 iPADs to these children as research shows games and programs based on this platform can help children with speech and learning disabilities. At this gala, AT&T gave a check of more than $19,500 raised during the web campaign "Speak Hope", and the funds raised at the 16th annual DesignCare helped raise fund for two more RJ Centers.
The event honored remarkable people such as Serena Esformes, fashion designer & Founder of SMAK Apparel, who received the 2014 HollyRod Young Compassionate Entrepreneur Award. She is donating a portion of the profits from her line to the HollyRod Foundation. FedEx got the 2014 HollyRod Corporate Compassion Award. The company, with 300,000 employees and $46 billion in annual revenue, is actively hiring people with autism. Pamela Wiley-Wells, Ph.D., Founder of LA Speech and Language Center received the 2014 HollyRod Angel on the Path Award. She founded her center 40 years ago with $5,000 in savings and she has helped thousands of children with speech disabilities, as well as their parents, like Holly, who found Pamela through the challenges of RJís childhood.
Also honored with the 2014 HollyRod Angel on the Path Award was Izzy Paskowitz, Founder of Surferís Healing. His son was diagnosed with autism at age three and one day he realized that bring him on the water to surf with him, could calm the boy. So he founded Surferís Healing , a non-profit that organizes a worldwide day of surfing for autistic children, which last year had 4,500 children participations. Ben Petrick, author and former Major League Baseball player living with Parkinsonís received the Matthew T. Robinson, Jr. Award of Courage. Ben was forced to retire from baseball at only 27 years old because of Parkinson, and now heís dedicated to bringing awareness and raising funds for the disease.
Anthony Starego, first varsity football player with autism was awarded the 2014 HollyRod Autism Champion Award. Anthony went through 11 foster families in his first three years of life. Despite being diagnosed with multi-symptom autism and many learning disabilities, his love for sports made him work hard until he was able to compete and has proven to be a phenomenal football placekicker, making a game winning kick which gained him national notoriety on ESPN.
Celebrity guests included Holly Robinson Peete, Michael Costello, Naturally 7, Dwyane Wade (NBA Player), Russell Simmons (Def Jam Records), Candace Cameron Bure (Make It Or Break It), Laila Ali (All in With Laila Ali), Sugar Ray Leonard (Former Professional Boxer), Alex Meneses (The Cleveland Show), Leeza Gibbons (America Now), Tommy Davidson (Comedian), Octavius J. Johnson (Ray Donovan), Mayte Garcia (Army Wives), Charlotte Ross (Hit The Floor), Daisy Fuentes (Model), Amy Yasbeck (Life On A Stick), Jason Priestley (Call Me Fitz), Mohamed Hadid (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills), Melissa Carcache (Every Witch Way), Shaun Robinson (Host, Access Hollywood), Billy Bush (Host, Access Hollywood), Lisa Gastineau (The Gastineau Girls), Chaz Dean (WEN), Cleo King (Mike & Molly), Byron Allen (Comedian), Elise Neal (Belleís), Heather McComb (Ray Donovan), Challen Cates (Big Time Rush), Peter Savage (The Deer Hunter), Blanca Blanco (On Air), and many others!
The HollyRod Foundation was founded in 1997 by NFL quarterback Rodney Peete and actress Holly Robinson Peete. The foundation is dedicated to providing help and hope to those living with autism and Parkinsonís disease. Efforts of the HollyRod Foundation are providing a better quality of life through support and resources for individuals and their families. For more information, please visit www.HollyRod.org. You can find them on Twitter at @HollyRodFDN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HollyRodFoundation. DesignCare is sponsored by American Airlines, AT&T, Target, SMAK and Wen by Chaz Dean.