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    March of Dimes 2012 Signature Chefs Auction raises over $252,000

    Ginger Feldman, Executive Director, (616) 247-6861, gfeldman@marchofdimes.com

    Paul Jr. Design Chopper Winner Announced

    Grand Rapids, Michigan, November 26, 2012 —

    Great food, great company and a great cause was celebrated at the March of Dimes’ 16th Annual Signature Chefs Auction at DeVos Place on Monday, November 19. Presented by Foster Swift Collins & Smith PC, the event featured dishes from West Michigan’s top chefs as well as unique live and silent auction packages and raffle items. This year’s auction raised over $252,000 to help Michigan’s babies.

    One of the evening’s most anticipated moments was the drawing for the March of Dimes custom chopper. The one-of-a-kind motorcycle was designed by Paul Jr. Designs of Discovery Channel’s American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior. Hudsonville-based Lamar Construction, a longtime supporter of the March of Dimes, commissioned Paul Jr. to build the bike. Carl Blauwkamp, President of Lamar Construction, drew the winning ticket during the event.

    Henry Gehlmann of Orange Beach, Alabama bought his ticket this past summer while visiting Port Huron, Michigan. Henry's name was chosen from over 11,000 raffle ticket purchasers to win the Paul Jr. Designs Custom Designed March of Dimes Chopper. More information and pictures will soon be released about the winner and delivery of the bike. The entire promotion of the bike is estimated to have raised $228,000 for healthy moms and babies.

    The evening was emceed by Christian Frank and Michele DeSelms of WXMI Fox 17. Guests were treated to tasty dishes from participating chefs and restaurants including Twisted Rooster, Applause Catering, Mia & Grace, The Chop House, Louis Benton, Olives, Bostwick Lake Inn, Charlies Crab, Amore Trattoria, Six One Six Spinnaker, PF Chang’s, The Melting Pot, and FooDesign. Hudsonville Pike 51 Brewery provided two custom brews for the evening and wine sponsor, Henry A. Fox, served a great selection of wine. Attendees were invited to bid on hundreds of unique auction and raffle items, ranging from wine tastings and spa packages to weekend getaways, golf outings and art. Big ticket items included The Catering Company’s Polynesian Pig Roast package for 30 complete with a tiki bar, Pacific Island dancers and flower leis. The top selling package was Louis Benton’s around the world dinner party for 60 which sold for a record breaking bid of $10,000.

    Funds raised by Signature Chefs Auction support the March of Dimes’ mission to improve the health of babies through lifesaving research and programs, such as prenatal education for doctors and nurses at community hospitals, the March of Dimes NICU Family Support Program at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and the First Steps "Welcome Home Baby" program, which provides essential supplies to encourage safe sleep among newborn babies.

    Locally, the March of Dimes plays a vital role in many lives. Guests had the opportunity to hear the powerful first-hand account of the Goodell family of Grand Rapids, this year’s Ambassador Family. David and Amber Goodell, along with their son Christopher, welcomed baby Alice into the world in June 2011 at 35 weeks. She was delivered prematurely due to a condition called gastroschisis, which caused her abdominal organs to develop outside of her body. Alice underwent surgery just days after birth and recovered in a surprisingly short four weeks in the NICU at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Thanks to more than nine different March of Dimes programs and birth defect research funding, including $1.49 million toward gastroschisis, Alice is now a happy, healthy 16-month-old. "Alice is our miracle and this entire experience has been a lesson in gratitude," says Amber Goodell. "Not everyone is as fortunate as us and as a result, we will be lifelong supporters of the March of Dimes."

    If you would like to make a donation or join the planning for next year’s event, please call (616) 247-6861 or www.signaturechefsauctiongr.com to find out how to get involved.

    The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies®, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org.




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