Red Sneakers for Oakley Hosts Evening to Support Food Allergy Awareness at Club Colette in Palm Beach, FL

On Tuesday, November 23, Red Sneakers for Oakley hosted the sold-out Fourth Annual Fundraising Benefit at Club Colette to support food allergy awareness. Almost all the attendees wore their “most spectacular red shoes or sneakers.” Many thanks to the generous donors who contributed to this inspiring event, which raised over $280,000 to support imperative food allergy awareness, education, and programming.
The exclusive guest list enjoyed an amazing evening to celebrate the important cause of food allergy awareness. Each year in the U.S., 200,000 people require emergency medical care for allergic reactions to food. This means, every three minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room. And a staggering 32 million Americans have food allergies, 5.6 million of which are children. 
Red Sneakers for Oakley was established by Robert and Merrill Debbs after the death of their 11-year-old son Oakley due to a fatal allergic reaction to nuts. “No child should die from the simple act of eating,” proclaims Merrill Debbs. 
An outpouring of community support rallied around Oakley’s parents in support of their mission. The Benefit was graciously sponsored by The Winklevoss Family, The Stefanski Family Foundation, The Wilder Regalbuto Family Trust and The 1994 Robert W. Johnson IV Charitable Trust. Red Sneaker sponsors included The Waldele Family Fund, Bill and Emma Roberts, Bill Benjamin and Joanne Benjamin Mann, AllerGenis, The Connors Foundation, Samuel and Hillary Difeo, The Bridget Koch Foundation. Activist sponsors included David and Kristen Lambert, Richard and Pipa Vogel, Thomas and Marina Purcell, Frank McDougald. The Educator sponsors included Susan Allen, Jennifer T. Bradley Trust, Kit Pannill and The Mullen Family Foundation. Benefit underwriters included Dr. Irma Morales, Robert and Merrill Debbs, Louis Taylor, Timothy and Annie Jones and Maureen Donnell. Event decor was graciously donated by Richard Grille Events.
Additional attendees included: Mortimer and Charlotte Curran, Charles Poekel and Lynn Giordano, Ambassador Robert W. Johnson and Suzanne Johnson, Sarah and Grace Miller, Lamont Harris and Toni Corellis, Stanley and Gay Gaines, Kaitlin and Bridget Koch, James and Whitney Garner, Ben and Elizabeth Gordon, Wilbur and Hilary Ross, Eric and Whitney Bylin, George and Calvert Moore, Jonathan and Somers Farkas, Elizabeth Meigher, Jason and Wilder Regalbuto, Karen Klopp, Hilary Dick, David Aronberg, Chuck and Amanda Schumacher, Peter and Soraya Geisler, Todd and Missy Savage, Jay and Natasha Steinle, Elizabeth Meigher, Christine and Chris Orthewein, Thomas D’Agostino and Daniele Rollins, Ashley Ramos and Albert and Christina Pisa.
Thirteen-year-old allergy awareness activist Louis Martins traveled from Orlando with his violist Eric Diaz to play a piano concert for which he received a standing ovation. Former two-time Super Bowl champion Eli Manning kicked off the fundraising with a heartfelt video message encouraging guests to lace up their red sneakers and give from the heart.
A live auction followed by a paddle raise, successfully run by Auctioneer Jay Zeager, drew participation throughout the entire room, with a friendly bidding competition for a 2021 Vespa graciously underwritten by Dana Koch. Other auction items included a two-night stay at The Colony Hotel (donated by Andrew and Sarah Wetenhall). The winning bidders were Sophocles and Silvia Zoullas, Jeff and Mei Sze Greene, Vanessa Rooks, Patrick and Lily Dillon, Bridget Koch, Betsey Maloney, VIP Bags included items from Caroline’s Cakes, Auvi-Q®, WellToo Wipes, and Amanda’s Own Confections.
About Red Sneakers for Oakley: Red Sneakers for Oakley is a 501c(3) non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers of food allergies through the creation of educational programs, community outreach and advocacy. For more information, please visit or email
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Contacts: Ashley Wilson Capps at Red Sneakers for Oakley (561) 323-4037
Photo Credits: ©Capehart Photography     
Source: Red Sneakers for Oakley