Big Stars Shine at grand Gala of Love Gala
By Debbie Hall
With big names such as Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli and Tony Bennett gracing the stage during past Power of Love galas, it is the efforts of Camille Ruvo who helped to grow the event.Ruvo, together with her husband Larry, is the co-founder of Keep Memory Alive, the fundraising arm for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Now in its 21st year, the Power of Love gala is an annual celebration of life that was created to raise needed funds for the clinic and its many programs.
While Ruvo got involved due to the health of her father-in-law, “being a caregiver runs in my family as it runs in most families,” she stated. “The diseases we focus on such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and other brain disorders all take a huge toll on the caregivers as well as the patient,” she explained.
Ruvo admits she loves fundraising including its challenges and creativity. She also performs many other duties with Keep Memory Alive and watches over fundraising to make certain it continues to grow. Watching the rapid decline of her father-in-law Lou and the tremendous toll it took on her family certainly motivated her to help others in a similar situation.
“Once my father-in-law didn’t recognize us, we realized while he is no longer with us, the disease remains,” she stated. Once he passed away, her mother-in-law Angie required back surgery due to the lifting and caring for her husband. “She hurt herself trying to take care of him and I can only imagine how she felt mentally.” Ruvo has also been a caregiver for her 93-year-old grandmother (Olga) who needed a heart valve replaced. After experiencing the intensive care unit and witnessing the other caregivers, she realized how important but also stressful on families who love a member enough to want to care for them.The first gala started with just 35 people and with the efforts of Ruvo has grown to be a widely anticipated Las Vegas event. It was a dinner at Spago supported by Wolfgang Puck and they wanted it to be over the top and not just another fundraising event. The gala has grown to grand event from a restaurant to the MGM Grand Garden.
Ruvo actually trademarked “A Penny for Your Thoughts” and held a penny drive challenge in two middle schools collecting change. It also engaged the children and brought awareness to children about brain health and diseases of the brain. This year, the Cannery Casino matched monies raised during the challenge.
Ruvo has been a resident of Las Vegas since a teenager, attending Clark High School, Clark County Community College and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She has been involved in numerous philanthropic endeavors including the Andre Agassi Capital Campaign Board and The Meadows School. Her most recent contribution has been to Catholic Charities where she served on the board for four years and then became president of the executive board.
The Power of Love gala will be held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and is an exceptional evening of music and philanthropy. Philanthropic leader Ronald O. Perelman will be honored and Andre Agassi will be awarded the Keep Memory Alive Community Leadership Award. The celebration will also feature Jon Bon Jovi (and surprise guests) as well featuring luxury auctions, exquisite wines (such as Dom Perignon), tantalizing cocktails and delectable cuisine prepared by Wolfgang Puck and Michael Mina to raise funds and awareness for Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. For additional information about the gala or A Penny for Your Thoughts, call 702.263.9797 or visit keepmemoryalive.org.