SARC’s “Mardi Gras Masquerade” Raises More Than $100,000 to Prevent Domestic Violence, Child Abuse and Stalking




On Saturday, September 16, the Maryland Golf and Country Clubs in Bel Air was aglow with a feeling of hope as well as the light from hot air balloons as guests enjoyed an evening of food, entertainment and celebration at the eighth annual Balloon Glow “Mardi Gras Masquerade” Gala. The event had 200 attendees and raised more than $100,000 for SARC, the nonprofit organization that helps victims of domestic and sexual violence, child abuse and stalking in Harford County.

Guests enjoyed a plated New Orleans-inspired dinner, open bar and signature drinks, an exciting live auction and dancing the night away to live music by “Remains of Radio.” The highlight of the evening was an inspirational former SARC client’s story shared by a fellow former safehouse resident, Holly, who suffered years of abuse. They are now both thriving, and Holly’s ability to act as an ambassador to share another person’s story showcased how dramatically SARC’s services can change lives for the better. Holly is the namesake of the organization’s upcoming Holly’s Hope 5K Run and 1 Mile Walk, which takes place on Saturday, October 14.

Another memorable moment was the Saxon’s Diamond Centers’ raffle. Lucky winner Denise Dardozzi took home the grand prize: a $3,000 shopping spree courtesy of Saxon’s Diamond Centers.

From left to right: Greg Pessano, Holly McComas, Genene LaCour and Gregory LaCour celebrated with Mardi Gras flair

This year’s proceeds surpassed SARC’s fundraising goal of $95,000, and the funds will make a significant impact – all proceeds are a crucial aspect of SARC’s annual funding. Due in part to the success of last year’s Balloon Glow Gala, SARC was able to help 1,994 men, women and children in Harford County, provide 1,046 adult therapy sessions and 230 child therapy sessions, assist with 2,510 helpline calls and provide 9,472 safe nights. SARC is proud to report a 97 percent success rate with protective orders, and provided 99 court accompaniments, 247 court proceedings and 937 legal safety planning sessions. Out of the 126 individuals who received safe shelter, 45 percent were children. Since its inception, all of SARC’s services have been provided free of charge thanks to the support of donations and sponsorships from the local community.

According to SARC CEO Luisa Caiazzo, the event would not have been a success without the Balloon Glow Gala’s sponsors, which include: SIAB, Decisive Data Systems; Harford Mutual; Lynch Construction; Harford’s Heart Magazine; Aaron’s; Fallston Group; Jones Junction; Saiontz & Kirk PA; Saxon’s Diamond Centers; APGFCU; Custom Mechanical Services; Horne Concrete Construction LLC; Innovative Insurance Solutions; Oak Contracting; WSMT Insurance; Chesapeake Employers Insurance; McComas Funeral Home; Elegant Restoration; Greene’s Executive Cleaning; Harford Bank; Wegman’s; 84 Lumber; Battelle; Bravura Information Technology Systems; Laurel Bush Family Dentistry; Raymond James; Adam’s Chevrolet; Chesapeake Professional Women’s Network; Cove Electric; Gemcraft; Harford Community College; Harford County Government; Lynch Construction; Rosedale Federal; Susquehanna OBGYN; Gina and Todd Skelton; Grandizio; Wilkins; Little & Matthews LLP; Harford County Public Library; L Property Management; L & L Carpet; University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health; Ciampaglio Potter Associates; Express Employment Professionals; REICO; Schagringas Company; Advance Business Systems.

For additional information about SARC, including the upcoming Holly’s Hope 5K Run and 1 Mile Walk on October 14, visit


About SARC (
Since 1978, SARC (Sexual Assault/ Spouse Abuse Resource Center) has provided hope and resources to victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse and stalking. Services include a 24-hour helpline, counseling, legal representation, a confidential safe house and community outreach and education.

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