Celebrity Auction Benefits Juvenile Diabetes

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Briggs and Riley, the manufacturer of Travelware, a high end innovated luggage design company, has teamed up with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Long Island to raise money in the fight toward finding a cure for Juvenile Diabetes.

The cocktail reception, recently held at the Grant Gallery in Soho, was the kick off to a ten day on-line auction for celebrity decorated Briggs & Riley's Wheel-On weekender luggage. The event, sponsored in partnership with EBay, was eighteen months in the planning. Grant Gallery Director, Tatiana Grant, introduced the event and donated ten percent of all gallery sales for the length of the auction.

The celebrities involved went beyond the call of duty as their obligation ended with personalizing the exterior of weekender. Each celebrity filled the luggage with additional items central to the theme of the exterior decorations.


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Celebrated Chef and author Ming Tsai created a Far East theme and filled the suitcase with autograph cookbooks, knifes and other kitchenware.  Kevin Covas the preteen girl's dream from American Idol, and a native New Yorker, created the Road to American Idol and filled the inside with never before seen Idol memorabilia. Morgan Freeman used his immeasurable talent to create and his generosity by adding an autographed suit carry bag.

Other celebrities who donated their time and talent included Bryant Gumbal and Jim Belushi, who both used their love of sports to create exterior sports themes and made the inside a sports lover's paradise with sportswear and sports DVD's. ESPN Sports Anchor John Anderson decorated the bag with golf course and filled the inside with ESPN tee shirts, mugs, and a hat.

Sportscasters Neil Everett enlisted his colleagues and had them all autographed the tote and fill the inside with Sports Center memorabilia. WNBC Anchor Len Berman also used his love of sports in decorating and personalizing the interior with his book, Spanning the World and other sports symbols.  Pro skateboarding entrepreneur Tony Hawk created a skate boarders Mecca.


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Kelly Ripa, of Live with Regis and Kelly, and Leah Remini, of King of Queens, both created a girly girl theme in pink. Nikki Cox of the hit series Las Vegas elaborated on the girly girl theme by adding Disney's Cinderella and the words, Every Girl's A Princess. Ivana Trump, like Morgan Freeman, autographed her bag and used her exquisite talent and sophisticated taste to add multi-colored appliqués to create a collection of fine jewels.

Television dramas were also represented by Sasha Alexander of NCIS and Robert David Hall of CSI. Mr. Hall decorated his luggage with New York Yankees and other sports decals and Ms. Alexander created a West Coast, Hollywood and Napa Valley travel theme. The inside of Ms. Alexander's luggage contained memorabilia from 7th Heaven and Melrose Place.


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Rachel McAdams, best known for the Wedding Crashers, enlisted the aid of an artist friend and the two used the luggage as a canvas, painting it white and creating the portrait of a woman in black with red lips: A very Vogue design.  Shelly Morrison, who played Rosario on Will and Grace, decorated the exterior of the luggage in the theme of never stop living your dreams. She filled the inside with a Will and Grace Script, a hand-knitted scarf and a replica of the gift bags she gave out to cast mates at the holidays.

Legendary New York comic Jackie Mason created a faith-based bag using the Star of David as the centerpiece allowing both his Jewish religious beliefs and his love for New York City to be prominent. Ray Romano, of Everybody Loves Raymond, whose character was a sportswriter decorated his bag with a New York Yankees sports theme. He included an autographed copy of his book, Ray Romano, Everything and a Kite.

Ashley Benson and James Reynolds, both of the soap, Days of Our Lives, filled their bags with a Days of Our Lives script and other soap memorabilia. The exterior designs differ greatly between the two as Mr. Reynolds chose a basketball theme and Ms. Benson designed her bag, with the help of a friend recently diagnosed with diabetes, with a Hollywood theme and added a photograph.


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Jonathan Lipinski, the lovable child star and scene-stealer in the film Jerry Maguire, created a travel-based theme to go along with the luggage. He included destination logos of exotic locales. He personalized the interior with a signed water polo sports ball he used as a child.  Kieren Hutchison and Nicole Tuboila stars of the ABC Family Television Wildfire created a canvas of travel destinations and included DVD's of their shows, One Tree Hill and Wildfire.

Hip Hop Mogul Damon Dash designed the exterior of the luggage with decals of his hip-hop empire. In addition, he went all out filling the inside of the suitcase with his DVD, Damon Dash: A CEO's Point of View and a set of Men's and Ladies High Top sneakers. Geoffrey Zakarian, the celebrated Chef, author and entrepreneur and owner of the elegant Restaurants, Town and Country decorated the front of the luggage with designs from the newer of the two restaurants, Country.

Jim Lehren, Briggs & Riley Vice President of Marketing spoke briefly about the commitment of B&R to the awareness campaign with JDRF. The intent is to find a cure. "The cause," he stated, "the one closest to the heart of the Briggs & Riley family is the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The Walk-A-Thon was just one way we could find to help. This is another way." Innovators in the luggage design business, the B&R family are also innovators in their desire to assist the fight of the JDRF by coming up with new and distinctive ways to create interest, raise money and awareness for the cause of JDRF.

Mary Tyler Moore, a veteran of stage, film, and television has been the International Chairperson of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for twenty years and has lived with Type 1 diabetes for over 35 years. Due to her own diagnosis, she made a lifelong commitment to the goal of finding a cure for childhood diabetes and increased awareness by her many successes in the entertainment industry. 

Barbara Rogus,the Executive Director of the Long Island Chapter spent a few moments discussing the myths surrounding the cause, such as overloads of sweets and candy and inactivity, of the diseases and the long term and short-term goal associated with cure, care and control of the disease. Diabetes affects approximately 30,000 Americans annually of that 13,000 are children.

Briggs & Riley offers a full selection of, Travelware, high-quality luggage collections. Briggs and Riley are committed to establishing permanent relationships with each person who invests in the purchase of their Travelware Luggage. With this commitment comes their "Simple as That" warranty. If through normal life use and simple wear and tear the Briggs & Riley Travelware becomes damaged, they will replace it: Simple as That. The generosity of the Briggs & Riley family extended to everyone who was a part of the kick off reception with a gift of a Boarding Tote and soft suede notebook cover and pen.

Grant Gallery formally of 7 Mercer Street was home to a collection of contemporary Russian art.  Tatiana and Julia Grant have put on permanent display the works of five successful Russian stage designers combining their love of theater and art.

Over $6,000.00 was raised from The Briggs & Riley Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation auction.

Photos courtesy of Terry Maloney and HWH Public Relations.
Mary Tyler Moore Photo courtesy of JDRF website.

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