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OC 'Housewives' gather to raise money for cancer


1463 days ago   Article ID# 1324044
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Beckstrand Cancer Foundation

SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA (OCRegister) - Fans of Bravo's "The Real Housewives of Orange County" got a treat Tuesday night in Costa Mesa.

All five of the reality TV housewives – including newest cast member Heather Dubrow – appeared at a charity event at Victor Paul Salon to raise money for the Beckstrand Cancer Foundation. The Newport Beach-based nonprofit provides financial and psychological assistance for cancer patients and their families.

'Housewife' Gretchen Rossi and her boyfriend Slade Smiley were the hosts of the $50-per-person charity event, which featured a performance by illusionist Anthony "the Magic" Hernandez, singing by Tony Award-nominated actress Susan Egan, a DJ from Playlist 92.7 FM, silent and live auctions and appetizers concocted by members of the Orange County Restaurant Association.

A crew from Evolution Media filmed the gathering for an upcoming episode of "Real Housewives."

"Tonight's event is honoring Grayson, Slade's son, who has cancer," said Rossi, 33, a Costa Mesa resident. "We're here for that, and for the charity, the Beckstrand Foundation, which helps cancer families that have hit hard financial times. It helps them pay their medical bills, which can be so exorbitant."

Grayson Arroyo Smiley, 11, has diffuse fibrillary astrocytoma, a rare form of brain cancer. He has undergone seven brain surgeries.

"I'm very thrilled people that people are willing to give up their time to support something like this," Slade Smiley said. "Everyone's affected in some way."

Smiley's financial difficulties were documented on the last season of "Real Housewives," and much of that had to do with medical care for Grayson, he said.

As large TV cameras rolled and guests arrived, the other housewives came in one by one. Tamra Barney of Ladera Ranch arrived with her boyfriend Eddie Judge; Heather and Terry Dubrow of Newport Beach made one of their first public appearances as an official "Housewives" couple; and Alexis Bellino came without husband Jim.

Vicki Gunvalson, the veteran "housewife" who is the only cast member to be on the show since season 1, attended the event with new boyfriend, Brooks Ayers of Mississippi. After 16 years of marriage, she filed for divorce from Don Gunvalson during the last season of the show.

"I pray for happiness and health and we've got it all," Gunvalson said. "My love tank is full!"

While she's had some disagreements with Smiley and Rossi in the past, she put them aside Tuesday and said, "We're all either stricken or know somebody that has been stricken with cancer. My heart goes out to Slade. Anything I can do to help Grayson, I will. Everything aside, and it's about this little boy. At the end of the day, we are all compassionate. That's why we're here. We love little Grayson. I've known him for eight years now. He doesn't deserve this. It's a tough life for him."

Other notable guests Tuesday night were Michael Costello, a fashion designer who appeared on season 8 of "Project Runway" and will appear on "Project Runway All Stars" early next year; Lil Spitzer, the executive director of the Beckstrand Foundation; and Henry DiCarlo, meteorologist for the KTLA 5 Morning News.

While the housewives would not reveal too much about the next season, certain clues were evident: Rossi was wearing a friendship bracelet given to her by longtime nemesis Barney; Rossi has had her late fiancé Jeff Beitzel's name removed from her ring finger; Rossi was not wearing a ring on her ring finger (contrary to rumors that she's engaged again); Barney is a patient of Dr. Terry Dubrow, getting her tattoo of ex-husband Simon Barney's name removed; and Barney's boyfriend Judge broke his pinkie finger during a recent mud run.

"You'll see a lot this season, a lot of relationships have evolved and changed," Smiley said. "There's been a major attempt at mending broken fences. There is still some conflict within the women, but they all came together for Beckstrand."

While no official announcement has been made yet, season 7 of "The Real Housewives of Orange County" is expected to premiere on Bravo in February.

Copyright 2015 OCRegister   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 1463 days ago   Article ID# 1324044

Beckstrand Cancer Foundation    Visit Website

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