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Last month, the Melanoma Foundation of New England (MFNE) celebrated their 15th year with their annual Shades of Hope fundraiser at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston.

This year’s Shades of Hope wins the most improved event award in my book – the evening was intimate yet very well attended, the food was varied and delicious and the open bar flowed all evening long.

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The evening kicked off with a Champions of Hope VIP reception with an exclusive auction prior to the main reception opening. There were lots of really great silent auction items available while guests enjoyed rolling food stations including a raw bar with shrimp cocktail and tuna tartare, a mini taco station, and dim sum. Guests enjoyed jazz music by the George Farrell Group during the cocktail reception, and then were ushered into the seated program by Pitch Slapped a cappella group.
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The program began with a welcome from Executive Director Deb Girard and emcee Heather Unruh, co-anchor of WCVB-TV evening newscasts. Board President Amy Walls thanked her fellow board members for their work in making the evening a success prior to introducing Melanoma survivor and Miss New Hampshire, Bridget Brunet. Ms. Brunet shared her story about how her use of indoor tanning booths caused her Melanoma and highlighted her advocacy work informing young women of the dangers of using indoor tanning booths.

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Auctioneer Dan Flynn then stirred up the crowd with his personable and humorous live auction program which was a definite highlight of the program. He was followed by a touching speech by Melanoma advocate Tracy Cockerham, who lost her son to the disease, prior to Kathy and David Donahue presenting the Suzanne Donahue Keeper of the Hope Award in memory of their daughter to honoree Thomas P. Reilly.

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Following the program, guests rounded out the night with dessert and dancing to the jams of DJ John Zucco. Overall, this years event was superbly planned and executed, no doubt a testament to the hard work of the MFNE Shades of Hope Board and SD Events. You will definitely want to put this charity event on your list for next season.

Happy Shading (Yourself – from the Sun),