License to Thrill

November 21, 2013  |  Posted by Joe Gabriele

During any given assignment, James Bond found himself pinned against impossible odds, matched against villains with names like Mr. Big, Dr. Julius No and Sir Hugo Drax – left to rely only his own strength, courage and wits to save his life and maybe the lives of millions.

James Bond succeeded each time. And, more so, he looked GOOD doing it.

Well, the man numerically known as “007” doesn’t have anything on the dashing young dudes and elegant little ladies who hit the runway on Tuesday night at The Q – decked out for Medical Mutual’s “Big Shots & Little Stars” fundraiser to benefit Flashes of Hope and the Children’s Tumor Foundation.

The theme for this year’s event, presented by KeyBank, Penske Cleveland and Richard Horvitz & Erica Hartman-Horvitz, was focused on the style and charm of James Bond. And Tuesday night’s participants were all-in.

The event tipped off around 5:30 p.m. with a red carpet reception, with Cavaliers players and coaches lined up to greet guests. Upon arrival, everyone gathered for a pre-program cocktail reception on the Quicken Loans Arena concourse.

Before the fashion show, celebrity auctioneer Tom “T-Bone” Bounds – with an assist from Jed Hunter of Pennske and Cavs in-game hosts, Nicole and Ahmaad – auctioned off some fantastic items, including a private dinner prepared by four of the area’s top chefs, a portrait of Sean Connery on the set of “Thunderball,” and finally, the experience of taking a road trip to Atlanta with the Cavaliers.

When the bidding was done, the evening’s heavy-hitters took the stage – Dan Gilbert and Flashes of Hope founder Allison Clarke took the stage.

Dan’s oldest son, Nick, was born with neurofibromatosis and he was the 2011 National Children’s Tumor Foundation Ambassador. Allison founded Flashes of Hope when her son, Quinn, was recovering from cancer surgery over a decade ago.

Then just four years old, Quinn was recovering after having a part of his hip removed at a local hospital. While he was coalescing, his two-year-old roommate in the pediatric ward was not so lucky, passing away not long after.

Quinn lamented to his mom that his friend was gone and there was no photo of him.

Now, Allison Clarke works diligently to make sure this doesn’t happen again. And Flashes of Hope, a national nonprofit that changes the way children with cancer see themselves through the gift of photography, was born.

After Dan and Allison spoke, more than 1,400 guests in attendance watched an inspirational short film on the Ramer family – a family that saw not one, but two of its children diagnosed with cancer. The story was driven by their middle daughter, 11-year-old Lauren, who faced down the challenges her and her younger brother were facing with humor, and the determination to help others.

At that point, it was time for the Big Shots and Little Stars to hit the catwalk – and this is where participants got to do their James Bond thing.

For the event, the Big Shots were dressed by Kilgore Trout. The Little Stars, by Tuxedo Junction and Catan’s Fashions. The Bond girls were clothed by Catan’s Fashions and Fringe. And all of Tuesday’s costumes were created by Jenniver Sparano. The team from John Roberts Salon designed the hair and make-up.

Emceed as always by Cavaliers play-by-play man, Fred McLeod, the first duet – Randy Paine and Dakota – set the stage, with Randy donning the James Bond jetpack from “Thunderball.”

The Cavaliers and Monsters were well-represented among the Big Shots.

From the Lake Erie Monsters, it was Paul Carey, Bryan Lerg, Calvin Pickard, Guillaume Desbiens and Sami Aittokallio – the last three rocking their Movember mustaches.

All of the Cavaliers players were on hand and each escorted Little Stars of all sizes along the arena-length stage. Andrew Bynum carried toddler Capri while Tristan Thompson and teenage Zyhir took the opportunity to vogue for the cameras like fashionistas on a runway in Milan.

Kyrie Irving and Victoria did a fantastic silhouette routine behind a projected screen before they strode along the catwalk and Dion Waiters and his Little Star, Zion, looked like they were made to model.

Each member of the Cavaliers ownership group – Dan Gilbert, Nate Forbes and Jeff Cohen – escorted Little Stars and models across the stage. And interspersed with Tuesday’s moonlighting models were the real McCoys – female models dressed as some of the iconic Bond girls, like Honey Rider, Pussy Galore and Tiffany Case.

When it was all said and done, the annual “Big Shots and Little Stars” raised over $950,000 to benefit Flashes of Hope and the Children’s Tumor Foundation.

It was a tremendous night for all involved.

The Big Shots, ranging from Kyrie Irving to the Queen of England (or at least a reasonable facsimile of Her Highness) came up big on Tuesday night. And the brave Little Stars like Karlie, Cael, Madisyn and Jazmine came up even bigger.

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