- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Despite an economic turndown and a recent study questioning the effectiveness of mammograms, the Cancer Research Foundation of America's 2002 gala was as successful and festive as ever this year, drawing a crowd of more than 1,000 deep-pocketed guests (at a minimum $375 per person) Friday night.

"We throw a … good party, and everybody is touched by cancer," foundation President Carolyn Aldige said after calling the report confusing and a disservice to women across the nation. "[Mammograms] are not a perfect tool, but it's all we've got."

Mrs. Aldige expected that the event would raise at least $1.6 million, tying last year's fund-raising total.

The stately National Building Museum was beautifully candlelighted and draped in earth-colored sheers for the event, hosted by Spanish Ambassador Javier Ruperez and his wife, Rakela.

Mrs. Ruperez said she drew on Antonio Gaudi, the Catalan architect, as her inspiration for the "Las Sensaciones de Espana" theme. Many of the tables were covered with carnation petals in different patterns and shades, mimicking the complicated curves and mosaics for which Gaudi was famous. Centerpieces featured mini palms and oncidiums.

Much of the dinner was Gaudi-inspired as well, with a "Salpicon Gaudi" appetizer (a melange of shrimp, lobster and crabmeat with colorful vegetable ribbons) and mosaic design of multicolored sauces brightening the "Trio de Dulces Espanoles" (petits fours) for dessert.

Guests welcomed by gala chairman Karen Fuller included Sen. Conrad Burns and Phyllis Burns, ABC News correspondent Sam Donaldson, Frank and Marcia Carlucci, Kennedy Center Vice President Ann Stock, Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall Jr. and Ruth Leffall, news anchor Andrea Roane, Fred and Marlene Malek, Singaporean Ambassador Heng Chee Chan, Colombian Ambassador Luis Alberto Moreno, Belgian Ambassador Alex Reyn and Irish Ambassador Sean O'Huiginn.

Rep. Billy Tauzin, a Louisiana Republican who has attended the gala for 16 years, said he wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Like so many others in attendance, Mr. Tauzin has been touched personally by the disease. His 82-year old mother has been diagnosed with cancer three times over the years. Each time, she has fought it off with the help of early detection and effective treatments.

"She's a miracle," Mr. Tauzin said. "She's an example of what this foundation is all about."

During Mardi Gras, the 82-year old Enola Martinez Tauzin partied until 4 a.m. in Thibadoux, La. Her son and 19-year old grandson, Michael, were worn out by midnight.

"She's so alive. She competes in javelin and shot put," Mr. Tauzin said. "When I can't get a hold of her, I know she's either at the casino or in church."

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