‘The ultimate hen party’ | VailDaily.com

‘The ultimate hen party’

Photo by Allyson Krausen/Special to the DailyThe "pad the bra" centerpiece.

CORDILLERA A group of Cordillera women gathered Aug. 9 at the Ranch at Cordillera and threw what one of the organizers, Mary Calise, called “the ultimate hen party.” It all goes back to 2004 when some men in Cordillera organized a poker tournament in memory of John Talucci, a friend and neighbor who had died of pancreatic cancer a few years earlier. In response, their wives decided to organize their own fund-raiser for the Vail Valley Medical Center Foundation. At last year’s event, about 60 women attended and donated a total of $2,000. The proceeds went toward help women pay for mammograms.This year, the event, now called “Pad the Bra Night” – as proclaimed by the label on the padded, pink centerpiece on the welcome table – the women of Cordillera were asked to bring an hors d’ouevre and a bottle of wine and to donate at least $25.

The guests brought seemingly endless plates of goodies, including shrimp cocktail, gourmet cheeses, petit quiche and baked brie en croute, as well as multiple dessert variations on chocolate, pastries and fruit. A silent auction was added, featuring gift certificates for the Timberhearth Grill, a golf lesson with Tom Stickney, a “My Blankee” robe from Lacy’s Top Drawer, as well as several The Sak bags donated by founder Mark Talucci, son of the poker tournament’s namesake. The hot auction item was champagne brunch for eight hosted by chef Larry Youse in his Cordillera home. Larry is the proprietor of Cincinnati’s Grand Finale Restaurant. His wife Cindy, a painter, donated one of her oils for the auction. Attendees included June Vanourek, Stacy Mengedoth, Judy O’Brien and Ellen Mitchell as well as breast cancer survivors Gretchen Manley, who has been in remission for three years, and Suzanne Boettcher, who has been in remission for 10.

Fun raffle prizes included “Singing in the Rain,” which went to Kay Michelson. Opening up the gift in front of the crowd, Kay modeled the red vinyl rain hat and polka dot umbrella. Margie Kyte, Mary Calise, Carolyn Moorman, Sue Talucci and Sally Foster organized the event, which drew a crowd of almost 100 women and raised more than $13,500. Proceeds will go toward the purchase of a portable ultrasound that will enable Vail Valley Medical Center surgeons to more effectively treat breast tumors.Sue Talucci talked about how, when her husband was ill and her home filled with family members, her neighbors provided a constant supply of dinners and a few even offered their houses, including neighbors she had never met before. “You cannot believe how supportive this community is,” she said.

Kyte agreed. “There is nobody like the Cordillera women,” she said. “They are incredibly giving and turn out in huge numbers. “We’re hoping that all of the women in this valley will do this in their communities,” she added. “All it takes is a willing host, a few bottles of wine and hors d’oeuvres.” Vail, Colorado

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