MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. – Forget going to the Oscars; Gia’s Glam Gala was the glitziest and most prestigious event to be this past weekend … at least in Mount Pleasant.
Princesses, politicians and pachyderms were all in attendance at the party, a fundraiser for “Band of Parents.” The nonprofit group helps raise awareness of -- and funds for research on -- Neuroblastoma.
The star of the hour was little Gia, a 6-year-old Mount Pleasant girl who has been battling the rare childhood cancer since last fall.
The third most common type of cancer in children, most of whom are under the age of five, Neuroblastoma usually starts in the tissue of the adrenal glands, which sit on top of the kidneys.
Her parents, Carmine and Dana Gentile, a police officer and teacher respectively, have made it their mission to help other children like Gia.
The gala was just one of several fundraisers they have organized to benefit “Band of Parents.”
The gala drew about 1,000 people to the Mount Pleasant Community Center in Valhalla Saturday and raised $50,000, Dana Gentile said.
State Sen. Terrence Murphy, R-Yorktown, Westchester County Legislator Margaret A. Cunzio, and County Executive Rob Astorino all came to the bash.
“Everyone had a great day, especially Gia,” her mom said.
There was face-painting, nail polishing, glitter tattoos, treats, a photo booth and a DJ. Participants also got to have hair extensions or to shave their heads for charity.
But what really got Gia, and everyone else, “smiling ear to ear,” Dana Gentile said, was a posse of brave and powerful female figures that included Disney’s Merida of DunBroch and Jasmine.
The princesses hailed from the Moment of Magic Foundation, a Connecticut-based nonprofit that sends costumed college students to brighten the days of children at hospitals, schools, and events like Gia’s.
Elephants are Gia’s favorite animal, and a Larchmont jeweler, who is a close friend of the Gentiles, made hundreds of blue jade bracelets with tiny elephant charms for the fundraiser.
Gino Rubino, with the help of brother and business partner Felix, sold about 150 of the bangles at the gala.
The bracelets are still for sale and can be found at their 7 Addison St. store, or through Facebook.
All the proceeds from sales of the bracelets go to “Band of Parents.”
There will be another fundraiser this weekend in Mount Pleasant.
Gia’s Mystery Night, a comedic “whodunnit” set in the 1920s, is set for 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., Saturday, March 4, at The Partners Gym, 855 Franklin Ave., Thornwood.
It will be performed by New York City-based The Murder Mystery Company.
Gia’s bracelets and bottles of OneHope wine will be available at the event. Guests who aren't able to attend the event can still make a OneHope wine purchase that goes towards a donation, by clicking online here.
OneHope is a California company that sells wine and other products and services to raise awareness and funding for charitable organizations and social causes.
Tickets are $40 online and $50 at the door. To order, visit the gym’s website by clicking here , or call (914) 579-2888.
“Everyone is doing good,” said Dana Gentile, adding that she and her family are “humbled and thankful for all the support” they have gotten from the community.