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D2L gala brought out the big spenders

Doin' It for the Kids

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One of Charleston's most over-the-top parties defended its title Thursday night, as Darkness to Light hosted its seventh annual Circle of Light Gala. The event raises money to spread awareness about child sexual abuse. Guests were received into the main tent to the songs of Sinatra as they found their way to one of over 50 tables, featuring customized menu place cards. The scrumptious three-course meal was prepared by 14 of Charleston's most renowned chefs. At various points during dinner, two large projection screens on each side of the stage became illuminated by interviews with each of the evenings' guest chefs about why they annually donate their time, talent, and staff to the event. The most heartfelt testimonial came from Fred Neuville of Fat Hen, who spoke about his family's adopted additions and the need to keep all of our children safe from abuse. Eventually the music slowed and the chatter hushed, and the main white stage in the middle of the tent became the focus of the night, as speeches were made by D2L CEO Anne Lee and Olympic swimmer Margaret Hoelzer, winner of the Voice of Courage Award. Lee lauded Hoelzer, who, shortly after winning a pair of silver medals at the Beijing games, spoke publicly about her own childhood experiences with sexual abuse. After raising over $50,000 with the live auction, guests headed to the Studio 54 tent to dance the night away under an array of disco balls. —Angela Hanyak

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