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Bert's Big Adventure takes ill children on a dream vacation

Trevor Beaty's favorite Disney character is Tigger, because "he's my best friend and he bounces on his tail." His favorite song is Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" and his favorite movie is "Cars."

The 5-year-old from Kennesaw is just like any other kid, except that he has acute lymphocytic leukemia. Most commonly diagnosed in children, the disease is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow.

While he can't cure Trevor's disease, WWWQ-FM's Bert Weiss hopes to make Trevor's childhood more than a battle with blood cells and cancer. "The Bert Show" host's foundation, Bert's Big Adventure, kicks off its fifth year this weekend with a trip to Walt Disney World. The group is providing an all-expenses paid vacation for 14 metro-area children, ages 5 to 12, who are battling a chronic or terminal illness.

"These kids are fighting a battle with time," Weiss said. "This trip is all about these families getting away from the doctors and the hospitals and making memories. It's about letting them just be a family."

The morning-show host got the idea for the program while he worked with the Dallas-based group Kidd's Kids. In 1996, the group took 100 sick children to Walt Disney World, and that trip forever changed him.

"I decided from that trip that if I ever had a show of my own, I would do the same type of program for the kids in that area," Weiss said.

For these children, the trip won't be a run-of-the-mill Mickey Mouse adventure, Weiss said. Instead, the kids will receive celebrity-like treatment, starting with the red carpet bon voyage reception the group got when they departed for their four-day adventure, via Delta Airlines, on Thursday.

"The kids have a plane all to themselves and we pull out all the stops. This is an over-the-top trip," Weiss said.

The Bert's Big Adventure medical committee chose the 14 children from a list of 120 applicants. They based their decision on medical conditions and financial needs. Children attending this year's trip range in age and background, from a 12-year old girl with an ovarian germ cell tumor to two sisters, one with brainstem glioma, the other suffering from cystic fibrosis.

Bert's Big Adventure is completely funded by "Bert Show" listeners and others in the community, Weiss said. For more information, visit www.bertsbigadventure.com.

Inaugural flight auction aids

March of Dimes

The March of Dimes foundation is hosting an eBay auction ending Wednesday for two first-class seats on the inaugural flight of a new Continental Airways Boeing 777.

The package also includes travel to and from Seattle, a one-night stay at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel, dinner with senior Continental executives and a tour of the Boeing factory. Dates of travel are March 22 and 23 and proceeds from the auction will benefit the March of Dimes. For information, visit www.marchofdimes.com/flight.

Jazzercise for breast cancer cure

The Sugar Hill Jazzercize group recently raised more than $2,000 for an upcoming Jazzerthon fundraiser. A three-hour event, Jazzerthon for the Cure will be held today at the Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead to benefit the Atlanta affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation. About 500 Atlanta-area Jazzercisers will meet for the event, each donating $150 toward the breast cancer research foundation. The Sugar Hill group will be taking about 30 member to the event. For more information, visit www.sugarhilljazz.net or www.komenatlanta.org.

Art gallery to host dinner for Darfur

The CARE foundation will host a benefit reception for the Darfur Emergency Relief Fund from 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday at Mason Murer Fine Art Gallery, 199 Armour Drive, Atlanta. Tickets are $250 for the event, which will feature guest speakers, dessert, entertainment and an art exhibit. All proceeds will go to the Darfur fund. Call 404-879-1500, e-mail info@masonmurer.com or visit www.masonmurer.com or www.care.org/darfur.

Fine wine fest will benefit hospice

The Atlanta Fine Wine Festival will be held from 2-6 p.m. Saturday as a fundraiser to benefit Hospice Atlanta. The festival will feature more than 300 international wine vendors and will be held at the Mason Murer Fine Art Gallery, 199 Armour Drive, Atlanta. Tickets for the festival are $100 in advance, $120 at the door and can be purchased online at www.atlantafinewinefestival.com. Call 404-520-3113 or visit www.AtlantaFineWineFestival.com.

Art Institute to host benefit dinner

The Art Institute of Atlanta's senior art practicum class will host a benefit dinner and wine pairing at 7 p.m. Saturday. The dinner will be a fundraising event for the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association of Georgia. A silent auction will begin at 6 p.m. Tickets are $65 per person. Reservations are requested. Call 770-689-4851 or 800-275-4542, ext. 4851.

Line dance aims to support community

A Line Dance-A-Thon will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Wild Bill's, 2075 Market St., Duluth. The event will raise money for local YMCAs and the Partnership with Youth program, which provides financial assistance to youth, teens, families and seniors in Gwinnett County. A $15 donation is requested to participate. Call 770-513-5953.

Muslim community donates beef

to food bank

The Atlanta Community Food Bank received a donation of 1,550 pounds of fresh ground beef on Feb. 1 from the Atlanta Turkish Muslim community. The donation was part of the culmination of the Eid al-Adha national Muslim holiday and was a collective effort from more than 200 members of the Cosmos Foundation of Georgia. To date, the foundation has provided more than 5,000 pounds of food for the Food Bank.