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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Cadillac XTC is one of the vehicles at Greater Lehigh Valley Auto Show, March 21 - 24, Stabler Arena, Lehigh University, Bethlehem. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Cadillac XTC is one of the vehicles at Greater Lehigh Valley Auto Show, March 21 - 24, Stabler Arena, Lehigh University, Bethlehem.

Children's Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital beneficiary of Greater Lehigh Valley Auto Show Preview Party Gala

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 by The Press in Focus

The Children's Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital is the beneficiary of the Preview Party Gala, 6 - 9:30 p.m. March 20, Stabler Arena, Lehigh University, 124 Goodman Drive, Bethlehem, which kicks off the Greater Lehigh Valley Auto Show, March 21 - 24, presented by the Greater Lehigh Valley Auto Dealers Association (GLVADA).

Tom Kwiatek, executive director of GLVADA, made the announcement at the Hackerman-Patz House at Lehigh Valley Hospital -- Cedar Crest.

Joining Kwiatek for the Feb. 19 announcement were two teenagers who received care at the Children's Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital.

Mackenzie "Mac" Storm, 17, a standout high school football player at Northwestern Lehigh, was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome. The potentially deadly muscle disorder strikes quickly and can paralyze within hours.

In addition, Storm was diagnosed with reflex neurovascular dystrophy, a condition in which the brain registers every sensation as pain. The primary treatment is intensive physical therapy.

"Before this happened, I said I wanted to be a video game programmer," he said. "Now I want to be a physical therapist or a minister. This changed my life forever."

Also at the announcement was Jessica Schappelle. The 16-year-old junior at Sun Valley High School, Aston, Delaware County, was training for a new high school cross country season last summer when abdominal pains hit.

She had developed two ovarian cysts, one which was removed through robotic surgery at Children's Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital. Twenty-four days after her surgery, Jessica began to run and get back in shape.

Preview Party Gala Chairperson Lynn Rothrock said the theme of the gala is "America's Highway." The annual Preview Party Gala provides a sneak peek of the Greater Lehigh Valley Auto Show.

Kwiatek said new at this year's Auto Show are: a luxury car pavilion; Community Days, which allows area nonprofits to sell $10 tickets to the show and then earn back $5 for each ticket sold; a Harley-Davidson showcase; children and family activities sponsored by LVHN, including Radio Disney, Kid's Safety Zone, Med-Evac demonstrations; DaVinci Robot; and Lehigh Valley Health Network's surgery robot and robotic simulator March 22 and 23.

Cetronia Ambulance's 2nd Annual Great Ambulance Chase 5K Race, held in conjunction with the Auto Show, starts at 8 a.m. March 24 at s Stabler.

Todd Haldeman, incoming president of the GLVADA board of directors and owner of Haldeman Ford Lincoln Mercury, Kutztown, said the association's 50 dealerships, based on a 2011 economic impact study, contributed $65.6 million in state and local taxes.

Haldeman said dealerships employ 2,550 directly and 1,325 indirectly, accounting for 9.8 percent of area retail employment.

The gala includes live entertainment, cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and desserts.

Gala tickets: GLVAutoShow.org/gala/

Good Cause is a column about fundraisers and galas for Lehigh Valley nonprofit organizations. Email press releases and event coverage requests to Paul Willistein, Focus Editor: pwillistein@tnonline.com.