Dikembe Mutombo Gala
by: Ms Misha Morê 

   Houston's well-known sports stars and celebrities gathered at the Royalton at River Oaks Thursday, July 20th, 2006 to support Royalton resident Dikembe Mutombo in his efforts to raise funds for the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital. There were over 500 attendees gathered in the Royalton's penthouse, ballroom, and pool area.

   The event kicked off at 6pm with a VIP Reception in the Royalton's spacious penthouse, where Dikembe circulated the party, personally thanking guests for attending the fundraiser. The party then moved downstairs at 7pm into the Ballroom, where guests were treated to a fashion presentation from Lucho and Betsey Johnson and a live art demonstration by artist Shelley Shanks. Hors d' oeuvres were graciously provided by the Alden Hotel's 17 Restaurant, Arturo's Uptown Italiano, and Yao's Restaurant and Bar; with cocktails provided by Landy Cognac and Cognac Ferrand USA, Finlandia Vodka, Amstel Light, Heineken, Heineken Light, and Woodford Reserve, and fine wines by JOM USA.

   The other special guests at the fundraiser included Dikembe's fellow Rockets teammates Tracy McGrady and Bob Sura; Houston Dynamo players Brian Ching, Zach Wells, Adrian Serioux, and First Lady of Philanthropy, Carolyn Farb.

   The other attendees included Kitte Rayborn, Hector Villareal, Monsoon Taghdis, Royalton Developer Laurence Hallier, Isabelle Hallier, David Casares, Dr. Hassan Chahadeh, Kamran Nezami, Dr. Norman Rappaport, Alicia Smith, Laura Comer, Dena Pawlowski, Rose Mutombo, Clerenda Harris, Rachel McNeill and hubby Dr. Wayne Franklin, Lloyd Gite, Maurine Ford, Wanda Holomis, Bill Sadler, Clerenda Harris, and The Power Dancers. The press/media attendees were Channel 11, Channel 13, Channel 17, Channel 22, Channel 39, The Houston Chronicle, Houston Business Journal, Envy, Gloss, H Texas, Rumbo Spanish magazine, Yellow, Houston Modern Luxury, Icon, BarStool, Houston Go, and Goch Social Gazette.

   The fundraiser was funded by title sponsor University General Hospital, who shares a common dream with Mr. Mutombo. UGH is a new hospital located at 7501 Fannin Street, on the south side of the Texas Medical Center with a scheduled opening date of September 27, 2006. The other sponsors were Thompson & Knight and Stewart Cadillac. GLOSS Magazine served as the press sponsor.

   The fundraiser brought awareness to this incredible charity that raised over $100,000 through ticket sales, a silent and live action, and a raffle. A live auction was conducted by Courtney Zavala, with packages that included items such as a front row Rockets package that included dinner with Dikembe after the game, a 1969 Camaro donated by Autodynamics, and a Marrakesh bed valued at $8,000 donated by High Fashion Home. Silent auction items included sports memorabilia, travel packages, and his and hers specialty packages.

   The Royalton at River Oaks offers unparalleled access to Houston's premiere venues of downtown, midtown, and the Upper Kirby district. Standing at a towering 32 stories high, it holds some of the most incredible views of the city's skyline. Best of all, The Royalton's defining asset is a sculpted iconic crown set atop the building for all of Houston to recognize them as 'the best life has to offer.' For more information, visit http://www.royaltonhouston.com

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