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This dance is a surprise

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By AMY SCHERZER, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 26, 2002

DANCE OF OPTIMISM: Robyn Dekeyser surprised her family by dancing Sleeping Beauty's Rose Adagio at the "Stars for Life" benefit for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. They had no idea she would be performing Saturday night at the A La Carte Pavilion. Dekeyser, a 32-year-old mother of a 2-year-old, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was 21 days old.

"They're really making progress on gene therapy," said pediatric pulmonologist David Rosenberg during the silent auction. Several of his young CF patients were presenters at the gala, including Morgan Holloway, 6, Colin Santos, 5, andAaron Joseph, 12. They presented a rose and a plaque to 17 "stars," including Dekeyser, nominated for their community involvement.

Tara Parker, 15, told Richard Weiss' "65 roses" story. Weiss, 40, of South Tampa was about 7 when he heard his mother discussing his diagnosis on the phone. He was sure she said he had "65 roses." Since then, the rose has become a symbol of the CF Foundation. After that story, 65 roses sold instantly at $20 each. Every buyer was entered into a drawing for two tickets on American Airlines. Brooke Ward of Riverview got the lucky rose.

To join the CF Walk-a-thon on May 18, starting in Old Hyde Park Village and continuing 6.2 miles along Bayshore Boulevard, call 258-0266.

FOR THE CHILDREN: She's a woman of few words: Columba Bush, first lady of Florida. "For the Children -- thank you," Bush said when honored with the Helen A. Davis award at The Children's Home annual donor recognition luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Tampa.

The home was at 3302 N Florida Ave. when Davis was president of the board of directors in 1965-66. She and her late husband, Sam, got involved when they adopted their daughter.

"Back then, the board did it all, from haircuts to fixing broken pipes," Davis recalled. "Sam ran Tampa Ship Repair and Drydock Co. and constantly sent workers to do repairs."

Davis remembers driving all over town looking for land, finally persuading city officials to donate 37 acres on Memorial Highway, the home's current location. The site has grown to 89 acres.

"When Ann Murphey (director of development in 1989) called me up in Highlands, N.C., to tell me they named an award for me, I told her no, don't do that, and she said there wouldn't be a Children's Home without Helen and Sam Davis," Davis said.

Other, more verbal lunch speakers included Mayor Dick Greco, who noted that the home was 110 years old and added, "It's nice to be invited to something older than you."

At this moment, 26 children living at the home await adoption.

SPOT OF TEA: Ubiquitous English tomato sandwiches were listed on the menu at the "Raj Tea Party," just above samosas, makka poa, mulligatawny soup and pappadums.

Organizer/hostess Beverly Rogers has never been to India but she loved studying the culture while preparing for the Tampa Yacht Club's monthly theme tea party. Welcoming more than 50 women, she asked them to imagine they were in the viceroy's mansion during the rule of the British raj. But first, she introduced Cathy Franks, wife of Gen. Tommy Franks, and Judy Robb, wife of Adm. "Rookie" Robb. The memsahibs leisurely sampled fresh teas from Delhi, scones and Indian delicacies, a most civilized respite from the usual frantic pace.

WHEN COOKIE MET ALEC: Now that Kim Basinger is out of the picture, Cookie Buchman may be moving onto the scene. The Palma Ceia resident met actor/political activist Alec Baldwin at the Florida Democratic Convention in Orlando April 13 and 14. She and her son Eric, 23, both delegates, heard Al Gore, John Kerry, Joseph Lieberman, Bill McBride, Janet Reno, Darryl Jones and others at the Wyndham Palace in Buena Vista. But meeting Baldwin at a private reception put her over the top.

Maybe Baldwin felt the vibes, because later that night, she heard, "Hello Cookie!" It was Baldwin calling to her across the hotel.

"He remembered my name," said Buchman, still swooning at the thought.

SMORGASBORD OF ART: Guests sampled all genres of art in The Cube last week at "A Taste of the Arts" to benefit the University of South Florida's newly renamed College of Visual and Performing Arts, formerly the College of Fine Arts. Ron Jones continues as dean of about 1,000 arts majors and nearly 150 faculty and staff.

The Cube is a striking venue for a party; USF really should figure out a way to buy it. Dance and theater students made use of the light and space to show their many talents. VIPs got an even better view from second-floor tables. The marimba quartet impressed, but vocalist Kay Lowe wowed with selections from Phantom of the Opera.

Bidders got great deals on artwork by Jeffrey Kronsnoble, Bruce Marsh, Josette Urso and others. Proceeds from the live and silent auctions become scholarships for USF students.

COURT OF HONOR: The Krewe of Venus named attorney Rhea Law "Lady of the Law," and journalist for the Mayor's Paper, Steve Otto, "Court Scribe" April 19 at the President's Masquerade Ball. King and Queen Glen and Tara Freeman gave the honorees an alabaster statue of Venus. Krewe president Sharon Phillips honored charter members still active in the krewe with a sterling silver fleur de lis pin. The band, Mainstream, dedicated the 1965 hit Ride Sally Ride to the krewe, which was founded that year.

THE ROYAL LINE: Here's a prediction you can bet your last beads on. In about 20 years, say 2022, Lauren Gonzmart's adorable 5-month-old twins, Michael and Isabella, will be occupying the throne of the Krewe of the Knights of Sant' Yago.

The grandchildren of King Richard and Melanie Gonzmart and great-grandchildren of the late King Cesar and Adela Gonzmart met some of their future subjects at a Las Damas de Sant' Yago Queen's Luncheon given in honor of La Reina XXX Monica Martino at the Columbia restaurant. Queen Monica was one of the models wearing fashions from several boutiques, including Pink Palm, Material Girls, Adria's and M's.

-- To pass along tips to Amy Scherzer, reach her at 226-3332 or

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