Pictured: Dalila Fridi, Kat Fitzgerald, Melissa Mansfield, Tamara Allen.
The Lesbian Community Care Project ( formerly the Lesbian Community Cancer Project ) is moving its annual fundraising event—billed for many years as the Coming Out Against Cancer Ball—from the South Shore Cultural Center to the Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park. The new location inspired this year's theme and name: "The Garden of Eve." The annual event has solidified itself as one of the top fundraising efforts for LBT women in Chicago. The change in venue allowed organizers to rethink the timing of the event from winter to spring. The green house will guarantee that mid-Summer heat that can only be guaranteed in a temperature set room. Since early 2008 LCCP partnered with Howard Brown Health Services on Sheridan Rd.to restructure the organization into a health program partner tenant for LBT women.
The mission of LCCP to bring health care services to a diversity of women of different background is highlighted in the four women chosen to co-chair this year's event. Kat Fitzgerald, Dalila Fridi, Melissa Mansfield and Tamara Allen have billed themselves "the fab four."
Location is everything to LCCP organizers, but the importance of this once a year event described by Fridi as, "One of the, if not the only event women have to come together." is about bringing diversity. "We have lesbians from the north side, south side, west side, everywhere that you will never see anywhere else, and that's what Chicago is missing, [ more ] events for women."
The merger of Taste of Every Palate and the Coming Out Against Cancer Ball doesn't substitute Howard Brown's annual fundraising Gala at the Palmer House in October but is seen as way to bring in more dollars for services all women can use at Howard Brown who cannot afford going to a hospital. "Women who don't have insurance can come here and this is something that the community outside of the LGBT community needs to know, that we are not marginalizing," explained, Fridi who is a Silver Sponsor for this year's event and a longtime supporter.
Each-co-chair shared her excitement about the prospect of in the Garden of Eve as a genesis for future events for women in Chicago. Many women now travel from different areas of the Midwest to attend this type of event, said HB development director, Jenny Mack.
Kat Fitzgerald, a Windy City Times photographer who is also the founder of Labrys Chicago, is providing musicians and entertainment.
She will have double duty that night as co-chair and photographer. "I have to do something, I can't sit still. It's capturing the emotion of everybody else having fun and I have fun doing that." Fitzgerald said she uses Howard Brown services and knows she is an example of how more people with money can support LCCP. "I was looking for a new general practitioner and I thought well wait, I'm lucky enough that I do have great [ health ] insurance, why not bring it here and help support Howard Brown in another way by having my insurance here."
Co-chair Tamara Allen, who promotes and produces other all women's events, shared her excitement. Aware of the climate inside this years venue she expressed no worries, "As far as the humidity I don't think there's anything I can do about it", said, Allen and added, "Don't think you're going to go home early, because we have an event there and an after party."
Aside from raising money Fitzgerald is most excited about the venue and timing, "Where else can you go walk through a jungle, or a desert, or a waterfall; have music in the background sipping martinis or water you want to sip?"
"The Garden of Eve" gala will take place Saturday, May 16, at the Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park, 6-10 p.m. For more information visit www.howardbrown.org .