Event-goers enjoyed a night of touching stories and thrilling circus acts on Feb. 25 at Feld Entertainment Studios.
The second the ringmaster started speaking, everyone knew something spectacular was about to happen. It seemed out of place, the lamp post-esque pole he stood next to, which stood several feet high at the back of the reception room — and guests were about to discover its purpose.
Renowned circus performer Bello Nock appeared, and when it was determined that he couldn’t open the curtain to the dining room, most could anticipate his next move. Bello climbed to the top of the tall post, as if it were as easy as climbing a flight of stairs, and after clowning around a bit, he opened the curtains and unveiled the breathtaking dining room/circus ring on the other side.
The 332 event-goers at the Big Top Gala — Circus of Yesteryear enjoyed a memorable evening on Feb. 25 at Feld Entertainment Studios to raise money for the American Cancer Society. After perusing the silent auction table, posing in the photo booth and trying on several authentic circus costumes from the Feld Entertainment Studios costume shop, they headed to the dining room for the main event.
What ensued was an evening of clowning performances by Bello (with a special appearance by Honorary Chairwoman Jennifer Steube), high-wire acts by the Amazing Annaliese and the Daring Daniel, a live auction led by Michael Klauber and a video recounting the touching story of cancer survivor Gianna Lesselroth to remind guests how impactful their donations could be.
The now 4-year-old Gianna was less than 5 months old when she was diagnosed with pre B infantile acute lymphoblastic leukemia in December 2012. On Sept. 24, 2015, after trying and failing to find her a donor, her now 6-year-old brother Logan underwent a risky blood cell stem transplant surgery to help his sister.
Gianna has been cancer-free since Oct. 17, 2015.
To read more about the Lesselroths and a Lakewood Ranch resident who was particularly inspired by their story, click here.