Birthday Bash raising money for Special Olympics

Special to The Sun

Broker Associate Hannah Martin of The Premier Property Group will host her third annual Birthday Bash benefiting Special Olympics of Florida — Walton County. “La Lumière: A Masquerade Affair," presented by Destin Plastic Surgery and Duckies Shop of Fun, will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. Feb. 10 at St. Joe Club & Resort’s LakeHouse on Western Lake in Watercolor.

Martin moved to the South Walton area 10 years ago where she began selling real estate. Soon thereafter she connected with a successful Realtor in the area, Jimbo Holloway, and then went to work for Holloway as an assistant. Shortly after, he grew into a mentor and confidant for her — helping shape her career and guide her to success, as she became a Realtor. They are now partners and are currently with The Premier Property Group in Watercolor.

Holloway and his wife Pam have three beautiful children. William, their son, has Down syndrome, a condition in which extra genetic material causes delays in the way a child develops, both mentally and physically. Three years ago, Holloway approached Martin to ask if she could help raise seed money for Special Olympics of Florida — Walton County. She immediately saw this as the perfect opportunity to give back to a family and the community that had been so gracious to her for years.

Since this happened to be around Martin's birthday, she decided to throw a birthday bash in honor of the Special Olympics — Walton County. She, along with her friends and Special Olympic volunteers, planned a party in less than two weeks with the goal to raise $5,000. By the end of the night, they had exceeded their goal and raised more than $10,000 for Special Olympics of Florida — Walton County. Martin instantly realized the potential of even larger achievements provided more time to plan and additional community involvement.

Because of this inspiring insight, Martin became more involved with the Special Olympics during the following months. She took part in the fourth annual Field Day, and through that intimate experience she would fully come to know and appreciate the athletes she was raising money for.

The second year quickly followed, and with the help of key benefactors, Martin launched a memorable-themed Great Gatsby Party. Friends, loved ones, co-workers and the community came out to help her raise $55,000 in one night.

“As an area business owner and community partner I like to broaden my horizons,” said Dr. Bill Burden of Destin Plastic Surgery, a presenting sponsor. “When I see someone pushing their limits and working towards improving themselves, I take notice. I try to support them. I try to emulate them. Special Olympics exemplifies the human spirit pushing limits to achieve excellence and to show a special love. Hannah’s event has consecutively been successful and I’m excited to see it build. If you want to be somebody, you need to be here.”

“La Lumière: A Masquerade Affair” will be unlike any of the past fundraising events. For a $100 donation to attend, the masquerade-themed event will include dinner, drinks and entertainment for all, including gambling tables with roulette, blackjack and craps. Those looking to try their luck can do so by purchasing raffle tickets in exchange for chips. Mr. Big and The Rhythm Sisters will be back on stage along with live Cirque du Soleil-style performers. Heavy hors d'oeuvres, oysters on the half shell by 30A Oyster, wine, cocktails, spirits and local brews from Idyll Hounds Brewing Company will be available for guests to enjoy. Epic Photo Co.’s interactive photo booths will commemorate the masked affair.

The night of giving will also include a live auction, raffles and an impressive silent auction including local art, private catered dinners and luxurious getaways including a week-long stay at Tucker’s Point in Bermuda. The all-inclusive getaway boasts all access to resort amenities including private Clubhouse and Owner's Lounge, Honor Bar with infinity edge pool, Complimentary Membership Fee to Tucker's Point Golf, Beach & Tennis Club for duration of stay, complimentary resort-wide shuttle service, discount at all resort restaurants and bars and 20 percent discount at Sense Spa. The package, donated by Royal Destinations and Elite Alliance, is valued at over $28,000.

“I started giving to Special Olympics because it was an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of great people,” said Bryan Pritchett, owner presenting sponsor Duckies. “I did some volunteer work for the organization when I was younger and working with the kids is supremely rewarding. These kids show their happiness and appreciation without holding back. They can help remind us who we should be. I am continually amazed by the efforts of people like Hannah that live to make others' lives better through events such as this.”

Guests are highly encouraged to dress in the masquerade theme. Personal Stylist Amy Giles of Wardrobe Made Simple is available prior to the event to style guests. Twenty percent of proceeds from styling sessions with Wardrobe Made Simple will benefit Special Olympics of Florida — Walton County. Merry Beth Myrick Designs will be crafting hand-made pieces and custom-made bowties special to the event, with 25 percent of proceeds benefiting the Special Olympics Florida- Walton County.

"Walton County’s Special Olympics program gives people with disabilities in our county opportunities to experience the joy that competition brings in developing physical fitness, skills and friendships with other Special Olympics athletes, coaches, volunteers and the community,” said Michael Schumacher, Special Olympics Florida — Walton County fundraising chair. “Thanks to the funds raised from events such as Hannah’s, our athletes are able to participate in Athlete Leadership Programs and Healthy Athletes initiatives."

Tickets are $100 in advance and $125 at the door. For ticket purchases, sponsorship or for more information, please visit www.hannahmartinsparty.com/ or call Crystal Smith at 850- 714-4271. To date sponsors include Destin Plastic Surgery, Duckies Shop of Fun, Churchill Oaks, The Premier Property Group, Royal Destinations and Elite Alliance and St Joe Club and Resorts.