Hope Floats: Denise Rich’s Charitable Causes

She recalls Gabrielle’s own marrow transplant, for which she was the closest donor. But even as a five out of six match, Rich’s bone marrow didn’t take. “They didn’t exist as much in those days, but by going to a bank you can get a much better match and the person has a much better survival rate.” And with surviving on everybody’s mind, the approximate 900 guests of the 2010 Angel Ball on Oct. 21 at Cipriani Wallstreet will be addressed by a survivor—Survivor Africa winner Ethan Zohn will speak about his experience with cancer.


Entertainment Tonight’s Samantha Harris will host the gala, and in tribute to Gabrielle’s belief that music and laughter somehow aid in the healing process, the evening will feature special live performances by 23-year-old rising star Shontelle as well as chart toppers like the legendary Patti LaBelle, Ne-Yo, Josh Groban, and Sam Moore. And New York hallmark DJ Cassidy will intermittently punctuate between performances his beats. “It’s not supposed to be sad,” Rich says. “It’s a celebration of life and hope.”

The Angel Ball will also auction off donations from first-rate sponsors like jewelry designer Lorraine Schwartz, who has also funded a research program in memory of her mother; Continental Airlines; Donnie Toresco of Toresco Enterprises Inc.; and artist Romero Britto, who will provide limited edition sculptures to adorn every table and to have auctioned as well. These heart-shaped sculptures have Rich dubbing the event, “art with a heart.”

Rich, who grew up in small-town Worchester, Mass., likens the support for the foundation to the support seen in a small community. “Cancer breaks down walls,” she says. “There are people from all over the world, from different religions and origins. It’s so wonderful to see them interact and get together.”

Despite her daughter’s outcome, Rich carries much hope for the fight against the disease. “I will keep going until one day there is a cure for cancer. Then I will throw a huge party and invite everyone who’s ever helped us and just party all night.” She does realize, of course, that she already provides a party of such amazing proportions for the supporters of her cause, but imagine, Rich says loudly, just how much better that final fete will be.