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The Gala for Life -- Little Rock's first big, formal event of the season -- spared no glitz, glamour or, thanks to the presence of Asa Hutchinson, governor.

Benefiting the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences' Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the event took place Sept. 7 in the Wally Allen Ballroom, Statehouse Convention Center.

Decorated in keeping with the surname of its husband-and-wife chairmen, Tricia and Dr. Loverd Peacock, the ballroom of the Statehouse Convention Center bore tables swathed in vibrant purple, green and teal.

Guests in their black-tie best mingled in the lobby and partook of libations that included red and teal signature drinks. They later enjoyed a four-course dinner featuring 5-ounce grilled filet mignons and lump crab cakes, soft polenta and grilled asparagus.

Master of ceremonies Daniel Robinson appeared briefly in an outfit befitting Elton John (or a cast member from the 1983 Dan Ackroyd movie Doctor Detroit), welcomed guests and introduced the Peacocks, who acknowledged sponsors, supporters and institute staff.

Dr. Kent Westbrook, institute co-founder, made a special presentation to "Randy Hankins" -- the real name of KTHV's Craig O'Neill, who recently retired from his role as master of ceremonies for multiple area fundraisers. O'Neill, one of the individuals who helped get the annual gala going, was lauded via a hilarious audiotape of his old phone pranks from his days in radio.

The program also included a special appeal, complete with a video testimony, for contributions for the institute's bone marrow transplantation program.

The performance highlight of the evening was flamboyant Elton John impersonator Craig A. Meyer.

With the help of his band and backup singers, Meyer filled the dance floor with all of the British pop star's best hits including "Tiny Dancer," "I'm Still Standing," "Bennie & The Jets" and "Crocodile Rock." Local jazz trumpeter Rodney Block, with his band and singer Bijoux, also performed before, during and at the end of the evening.

All gala proceeds will remain in Arkansas for cancer research. The institute is seeking approval from the National Cancer Institute to become one of its Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers.

Gallery: The Gala for Life

High Profile on 09/16/2018

Print Headline: Gala for Life: Rockefeller Cancer Institute fundraiser benefits cancer research

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