Purple was the color of the day last Sunday, when the Islander restaurant hosted 150 revelers and cancer survivors in purple T-shirts, all partying on behalf of the American Cancer Society. With purple balloons and decorations, the group’s official color, adorning the restaurant, Disco Dave’s Duck Day was a time for disco music and good times.
The event was a fundraiser for Disco Dave’s team in the upcoming seventh annual Marco Relay for Life, scheduled for March 13, 2010. After Dave Bierbrauer was diagnosed with stage four cancer a year ago, he had 12 lymph nodes removed. Today, he is cancer-free and hosting a team in the Relay for Life as a way of giving back.
“Disco Dave has it going on with the tunes,” said party-goer Tony Ornowski. “I heard KC and the Sunshine Band all the way in the liquor store, before I even got into the restaurant.”
Bierbrauer, the namesake of the event, in his own purple tee, shared DJ duties with Island stalwart Steve Reynolds, who also served as auctioneer for door prizes, including a $250 Jet Ski excursion for two, donated by Captain Ron’s. The song list leaned toward Donna Summer, the Bee Gees and Grandmaster Flash, with a nod to the oldies coming from tunes such as “This Magic Moment.”
For a $10 donation, attendees enjoyed an extensive buffet put on by Chef Bob, actually Islander general manager Bob Aylwin. In addition, the menu featured a salad bar and a selection of regular, hot and teriyaki-ginger chicken wings, plus Swedish meatballs, spiral veggie wraps, the Islander’s signature flatbread pizza and Aylwin homemade soups.
“The restaurant donated the great majority of the proceeds — they only kept a small portion to help cover their expenses,” said event organizer Marva Sutt, a 39-year survivor who lost both her parents to the disease, about the American Cancer Society. “We made over $1,800. And a lot of the staff at the Islander donated their time, too.” Jim Sutt, Marva’s husband and a four-year survivor, worked along with Islander bartender Paige Rhodes-Schmidt to keep the drinks coming.
Marva took time off from selling raffle tickets to get behind the microphone, singing “Crazy” and “Walking After Midnight.” “She did a great rendition of Patsy Cline,” said Aylwin. “I didn’t realize what a great singer she was. We had a great time, too,” he said on behalf of the Islander restaurant. Both Marva and Disco Dave eat here often, and when they asked, I said, ‘Sure.’ We were happy to host the event. Anything we can do to help the Cancer Society, we’re there. It’s great to see the community come together. But I’m not sure what the ‘duck’ thing is all about.”
The serious message of the party didn’t seem to prevent anyone from having a good time. Tony Ornowski, whose mom has survived both breast cancer and melanoma, said “You know it’s a good time when people don’t want to leave. You’re getting ready to leave and you run into someone you haven’t seen in years. It’s great to have something in the off-season to help recharge the locals’ batteries.”
His personal food favorite, he added, was the pizza and the potato skins, which he said go great with the Islander’s mojitos, “although I did see a lot of ice-cold beer going down.”
Many in attendance are cancer survivors. “There’s nothing we love better than to raise money for the ACS,” said Marva. Those interested in contributing or forming a team for the Relay for Life, may call her at 774-1411, or Bea, at the Marco office of the American Cancer Society, at 642-8800, ext. 112.