Lynn’s Spin: OC Baron’s Ball Supports American Cancer Society

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Left to right:  Mardi Mann, Meeting Coordinator, Bobbitt Williams, Underwriting Chair, and Nancy Johnston, Member-at-Large.
Left to right: Mardi Mann, Meeting Coordinator, Bobbitt Williams, Underwriting Chair, and Nancy Johnston, Member-at-Large.

The American Cancer Society is celebrating its 100th year–a significant milestone for any organization, especially a non-profit.

Despite the challenges inherent with the ongoing economic climate, Orange County continues to enthusiastically support ACS. One fundraising event that supports ACS is the OC Baron’s Ball.

Originally known as the Cattle Barons’ Ball, OC Barons’ Ball  began in Orange County 15 years ago when Newport Beach resident and major American Cancer Society supporter Bobbitt Williams volunteered to be the founding co-chair of the first ball.  

Featuring a laid-back Western theme, the event became hugely popular due to its regal black tie ambiance-sans the black tie.

I remember the first Cattle Barons’ Ball I attended and how fun it was to don boots and a cowboy hat instead of squeezing in to a ball gown and high heels. Sure made dancing the two-step a heck of a lot easier!

How lucky I am to be a part of the OC Barons!” says Williams. “I have been involved with ACS for more than 20 years as a former member of the Orange County ACS Board, and I co-chaired the first Cattle Baron’s Ball. It was an honor for me to receive the St. George National Award by ACS for my volunteer work with the Society. I am thrilled to be working on this year’s event with my fellow ACS supporters.”

 Like many, Williams has been personally touched by cancer.

“All of us have friends and relatives who have had their lives touched by cancer,” she added. “Our grandson is a cancer survivor – he was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma six years ago. The funds we raise through OC Barons’ Ball will someday help to eradicate this terrible disease.”

To date, the volunteers of the OC Barons’ League have raised nearly $5 million in the fight against cancer with proceeds going to American Cancer Society’s lifesaving research, educational programs, advocacy, patient services, grants, free transportation for treatment, prosthetics, wigs, peer support, resource referrals, and other needed resources. 

After the League’s name change to OC Barons’ in 2006, the ball changed too with various fun-filled themes like vintage Hollywood and classic Rock n’ Roll. This year’s event, which is scheduled for Saturday, September 28th, will return to its popular roots and original theme “Boots on the Beach,” and will be held at its original venue, Newport Dunes Marina and Resort.  

“Boots on the Beach” is being chaired by long-time OC Barons’ League leader Margo Ferris, along with Kay Burra, League President, and the event committee including Bobbitt Williams, Underwriting Chair; Carol Wilken, Parliamentarian; Mardi Mann, Meeting Coordinator; Nancy Johnston and Susan Johnson, Members-at-Large; and Debbie Douglas of Douglas Strategic Communications, LLC as Public Relations Chair.

In 2013 alone it is estimated that 11,630 people in Orange County and nearly 144,035 statewide will hear the words “You have cancer.”

Because of recent breakthroughs in research and cancer education, more than 63 percent of them will live high quality lives for more than five years past their diagnosis. But the goal is to exceed survival past diagnosis to further support research, patient services, advocacy and educational programs for Orange County families.

The OC Baron’s Ball will feature an evening of gourmet western dining, dancing to Danny Memphis and the Extraordinaires until midnight, midway games, shopping in the General Store, entertainment, and both live and silent auctions.

Tickets to the OC Baron’s Ball start at $200 per person and can be purchased at or by calling (949) 261-9446. Table sponsorships are available at various levels.

Columnist Lynn Selich resides in Newport Beach. Reach her at [email protected].

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