Tea and Sympathy…..and Fun


Jenna, Ali, Therese and Linda Gibb as they arrive at Haute Tea

October 31, 2017

As a fundraising event for the Diabetes Research Institute, this particular event brings together ladies (and a few gentlemen) from around the country who feel passionate about supporting the scientists who work diligently to find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. The Gibb family has supported this Institute for decades, and I attend to see the girls and chat with them, as I try to get photos for the fans and bring awareness, and hopefully, donations to assist in the fight to stop diabetes.


Ali Gibb looking fab!

Most of the Gibb girls were in attendance, Linda, Jenna and Ali wore white dresses and Therese wore black and a huge smile. They spread the love, chatting with scores of people and checking out the auction items. Their attendance at these events sends a message of support and love. Linda was honored for her years of service to the DRIF two years ago, and the next generation continues to follow in her footsteps, as they work on committees and volunteer their time.


Aren’t they impressive looking?


I have attended this event four times now, and it’s always a joy to watch the ladies as they walk into the ballroom wearing spectacular hats and heels (there are prizes for the best) and chatting with old friends and meeting new acquaintances. Everyone has a mission on this day, and it’s to enjoy the wonderful company, food, fashion show and auction of beautiful items and trips that go beyond what one would expect. Often the trips are extravagant, and auction items are lovely.


Jillian Posner–a powerhouse event chair

On the surface, it’s a “fun”, “upbeat” and “happy” atmosphere, but there is an underlying note of seriousness and determination that the attendees are thinking about. As always, there are stories shared by many in the room who live with diabetes or have children who suffer from this disease. It’s an emotional time when the hundreds of supporters reflect and remember why they are there and how they can continue to help. Everyone, including all the Gibb ladies, was there to raise funds so that Dr. Ricordi and his brilliant scientists and staff can do their jobs.

It’s important to remember that the DRI has partnerships around the world and thousands are working to find a cure.


Therese Gibb, all tall and impressive looking–a vision in black

One of my goals in this story became apparent to me as I watched the staff of the DRIF rush around and take care of last minute details before the guests arrived. They are focused, sometimes frenetic and always professional.


Barbara and Jill….the founder and the Sr. VP.–two amazing ladies


I need to give them a shout-out, for without this amazing team, none of the events that raise thousands of dollars for research, would happen. I have noticed in the past that no matter has harried or pressured they are, there still is a camaraderie and a positive attitude that permeates the air and brings a smile during times of stress. It’s a big challenge to pull off scores of fundraising events in a year’s time, and this event is a blockbuster among them.


Lauren, Sr. Director of Marketing and Communication–and truly a sweet soul.

Lori Weintraub, Sr. Vice-President, is a force to be reckoned with. She’s the type of woman who has unwavering resolve to reach her goals. Lauren, Nicole, Karen, Jill, Joelle, Jessica and all the others staff members who work at the DRIF are equally special, and I hope that those of you who wonder how you can help this Gibb charity will think of how hard they work and rush to the Diabetes Research Institute Facebook page and website to see all of the wonderful choices you have to give.

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Beautiful Jenna Gibb

Yes, there was music. Yes, there was a fashion show. Yes, it was more impressive than  ever. Yes, the food and the flowers were stunning. The DRIF has done it again, with panache.

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The musicians had fun, too!

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Nieman Marcus fashions—-elegant


So beautiful I didn’t want to mess it by eating….

Thanks to the hundreds who bought the tickets and those of you around the world who will support the DRI in the future. I always think of what Dr. Giacomo Lanzoni said to me when I visited him in his laboratory at the DRI.  He shook his head as he commented about meeting with patients and said, “We can feel their love and support, but we also feel their suffering.”

It’s time to end the suffering, don’t you think?





About morobinbarrystories

Anne Jakowenko, the blog author, has been loving the Bee Gees for decades while raising her sons and teaching college students Speech Communication and English skills at her alma mater, Syracuse University, where she received her Master’s degree. She has also taught for SUNY Oswego and Barry University. Currently, Anne is teaching for the State College of Florida while she continues to collect stories for her book, My Life with the Boys.
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