World Cup fever hit the annual DENNY Foundation Masquerade Ball last week when auctioneer Simon Kersten, of Colliers International, attracted some spirited bidding for a Barcelona jersey featuring the signature of Argentinian star Lionel Messi.
It was donated by Alfredo Mousinho-Esteves, who was present when the 2012 jersey was signed by the Barcelona team.
Mr Mousinho-Esteves, a football star himself, wanted to do something to help the Illawarra community that has been so kind to him.
"I try to do my bit in terms of charity," he said.
"I had this jersey and I thought this would be a good opportunity. I have been supporting the DENNY Foundation for the past couple of years and this was one way I could help."
The winning bid of $1400 was made by Val Perkovic, of Style Maintenance Services, who helped take the total for the night towards $17,500.
"I support this because it is a fantastic charity," Mr Perkovic said. "I don't know Alfredo but I think he has done a fantastic thing."
The Masquerade Ball is the major annual fundraising activity for the foundation that helps more than 500 people in Wollongong and Shellharbour each week.
Its volunteers particularly help teenagers and young adults.
The foundation is also committed to helping to relieve poverty and provide support and advocacy to individuals and families affected by mental illness, depression, drug and alcohol addiction, and loss by suicide. Volunteers, with the support of businesses which donate items, also provide meals.
Businesses help out
Support has been coming in from many parts of the business community since the Illawarra Mercury ran a story on cancer victim Bronwyn Johnson last week.
The next Business In Heels networking event in Shellharbour on July 29 is raising funds to help the 40-year-old mother of two children, aged 9 and 11, afford a new treatment that could be her last resort.
Donations can be made directly under her name at every local branch of The Greater and Monique Field wants to help collect more at Business in Heels next week.
Meanwhile, Alison Perizi, of Covert Cuisine, is planning to donate the profits from the September 6 Gourmet Galaxy dinner to the cause and Envy Jewellery is having a fundraising showcase at breast cancer survivor and author Tanya Curran Brown's hairdressing salon Serendipity Hair by Tanya on Wednesday at 5.30pm.
Lorraine Lehman-Jones, of Envy, and Ms Brown were both encouraged by The Greater Wollongong branch manager Craig Mowbray's decision to use Dry July to help Mrs Johnson and her family.
Squeeze Business Networking (by 4Networking Australia) is a new business event being held at Hotel Illawarra. The next event starts at 7pm on Wednesday. Hosts are Emma Perrow, of Simple Fitness and Coaching, and personal coach Jude Dowsett, of Hey Happy Jude.
Unity Walk & Run
Local singer Jennifer Grey is organising Wollongong's first Unity Walk & Run for Parkinson's NSW. A Unity Walk & Run has been run by Parkinson's NSW for four years at Homebush but Mrs Grey wanted to give more Wollongong people a chance to be involved. The city's inaugural Unity Walk & Run is being held at Stuart Park on August 31.
New board members
Wollongong City Council has welcomed three new members to its Economic Development Advisory Board. Mark Sleigh, Louise Meyrick and Peter Robinson were appointed to the board by the council at its July 14 meeting.
Pride awards tickets
More than 300 people have already bought tickets to the annual Pride of the Illawarra Awards at the University of Wollongong on August 8.
Family, friends and the general public are invited, and bookings can be made online at prideoftheillawarra.com.au.
The Illawarra Business Chamber is having a booth at the UOW Spring Careers Expo on August 7 to offer members the opportunity to be represented, at no cost. The chamber sees it as a great opportunity for them to promote their business and educate graduates about opportunities that exist in the region.
Flanagan's at Thirroul is hosting a special winemaker's degustation evening on Saturday with a seven-course menu matched with local wines from Gerringong's Crooked River Wines.
Bookings can be made at email@flanagansdiningroom .com.au with further information on 4268 1598.
JCI trivia night
Junior Chamber International Illawarra (JCI Illawarra) is hosting a trivia night at the Masonic Lodge in Gwynneville on July 31 to help local families in need. Proceeds go to Wollongong charity Need A Feed.
Further information at jciillawarra.org.