Ladybug Bash Showcases "Stars & Cars" to Benefit Atia's Fund! (Plus Video!)

Ladybug Bash Showcases "Stars & Cars" to Benefit Atia's Fund!  (Plus Video!)

It was a night filled with celebration, hope and inspiration for the second Annual Ladybug Bash held this year at Grossinger City Autoplex.  Host and organization founder, Dina Manzo, greeted each and every guest on the Red Carpet in a stunning champagne colored gown by Rivini.  Dina, as I’m sure you know, just finished filming the second season of HGTV’s “Dina’s Party” which is about Dina’s many event planning adventures.  She is also the former star of the Real Housewives of New Jersey.  This one woman powerhouse founded Project Ladybug in New Jersey in 2007 with the wish to bring financial and emotional support to children undergoing rigorous cancer treatments and their families.

Atia Lutarewych, the four year-old pint-size namesake for Atia’s Project Ladybug Fund, was there on this night, in full remission after battling cancer for two years beginning at the tender age of 17 months.  WGN Morning News’ “Around Town” reporter, Ana Belaval, was one of the hosts for the evening that also included Alpana Singh, host of WTTW’s “Check Please.”  (Btw, Alpana will become a restaurateur this summer when she and her partners open The Boarding House restaurant at 720 N. Wells).  This year’s Ladybug Bash themed “Stars & Cars”, also included Ms. Illinois 2012 Amber Podell, Miss Illinois 2012 Nancy To and Mrs. Illinois 2012 Jennifer Cruz.  There were a lot of crowns and gowns in that room!

The food stations were never ending with something delectable on all three floors from restaurants that included Bistronomic, Orso’s Italian, Sunda, Uncle Julio’s, Wildfire, Market, D’s Sweet Berries, D’Casa, Burger Bar, Currents on the River, Hubbard Inn, Le Chocolat, Paradise Cantina and Punky’s Pizza & Pasta.  There were also dazzling vintage GM cars illustrating automobile luxury over the years that included a 1937, 1958 and 1973 Cadillac plus a 1927 Buick.  Entertainer Angelo “Packy” Ciarvino performed “A Tribute to Dean Martin” that included funny impersonations of Jerry Lewis, too.  All throughout the venue, Ford models showcased chic designs from AKIRA, one of Chicago’s premier fashion houses while guests perused the extensive silent auction.  Dan Colantone, of Tone Productions DJ Services, donated his musical talents as well as the Mike Jeffers Trio/Jazz Band and singer/songwriter Erica Iozzo.  Celebrity impersonator, Debborah Hopkins, was stunning as Marilyn Monroe!

Grace Melon, a young cancer survivor, gave a riveting account of her long and arduous journey with a Broadway-worthy performance following.  Grace’s first round with leukemia began at the age of two.  She was treated for two and a half years and was cancer free from age 5-12 when the cancer returned in July of 2008.  She is now cancer-free, a freshman in high school and a professional actress, having signed on with Gray Talent Group at age 13.  She has also initiated her own project to help kids with cancer.  It was a wonderful night of fun for a great cause with proceeds benefitting the mission and ongoing programs offered by Atia’s Project Ladybug Fund at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital.   (

Check out this fun video on’s “Candid Candace Chicago” !


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  • I love Candid Candace! Great Show! Good Cause!
    New Blog on the History of the Ladybug:

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