By Michelle Colesanti

For the past two years, Marcia Minutello and daughter Laura-Lee have locally organized Night of a Thousand Stars, a special event benefitting those 16 and older with special needs. Along with their families and caregivers, they get to experience something that they might not otherwise get the opportunity to do. The mission of this organization is to create an event for people who do not often see or participate in a dinner-dance in an elegant and formal way.

The previous events were a huge success. In the past Margo Ellis attended with her two special needs children and always looks forward to the annual event.

“I would like to register my son and daughter again. We have planned on this since last year. Everything is in order down to the nail polish for my daughter,” Ellis said.

This year’s Night of a Thousand Stars, with a Masquerade Ball as its theme, is due to take place at River Hills Country Club on Saturday, October 24, but the organizers recently found out that its major sponsor will be unable to come through with the funds needed to secure the venue, and other items needed to make this event a success.

Marcia said, “We know that some people don’t understand the reason for the event; I guess to most people an event such as this seems somewhat frivolous in the scheme of things, but to our guests, it represents something that they might not have a chance to experience in their whole lifetime.”

The Night of a Thousand Stars Foundation is hoping that a major sponsor will step forward to help offset some of the expenses. It also needs donations and help with other aspects of the preparation. Volunteers will also be needed if the event does take place.

Some of the items on the wish list are as follows: funds toward venue rental, paper goods for 400 people, food (funds for food), corsages and boutonnieres, masks, funds for favors, miscellaneous items for caregiver swag bags, and printing supplies.

For more information or to help sponsor or contribute donations toward this event, contact Marcia at 662-7555 or email Fiphotog@aol.com.

Donations of any size are appreciated and checks can be mailed to Night of a Thousand Stars, 1706 Shady Leaf Dr., Valrico, FL 33596.