Charity Event Honoring Mark Geragos
It was a season of giving this December as champion Mia St. John held her annual fundraiser benefiting the Mia St. John Foundation (El Saber es Poder, Knowledge is Power). Here’s my recap about one of the most memorable charitable functions in the Southland.
This year’s invite-only event was held at the 10c Restaurant in Los Angeles. The swanky gathering was hosted by the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard and the evening honored world-renowned lawyer Mark Geragos (2017 Courage and Humanitarian Award).
The December 2 “A Night with Champions” was attended by MMA superstar Cris Cyborg (fighting Holly Holm on December 30), boxing champions David Benavidez and Jose Benavidez Jr., noted trainer Jose Benavidez Sr., award-winning actor Kristoff St. John (“The Young and the Restless”), World Boxing Council’s (WBC) Nancy Rodriguez (Senior Executive Director), California State Athletic Commission’s (CSAC) Dr. Paul Wallace, singer Paris St. John, trainer/sculptor Steve Harpst, celebrity doctor Dr. Drew Pinksky, the Step Up team and more.
The night was filled with touching moments including a tribute to the late Julian St. John, son of Mia and Kristoff St. John. The artist passed away in 2014; he had battled schizophrenia and addiction. His paintings live on and a giclée was auction off with proceeds going to the nonprofit Mia St. John Foundation.
Julian’s heartbroken parents have fought valiantly against the hospital and have been true champions for mental health. Mia has won multiple world titles throughout her career and has now become a warrior in helping the homeless and also those with mental illness. There is a Stone Art Gallery in Palm Springs that pays tribute to Julian and Mia also teaches boxing to empower the homeless.
Ray Leonard presented awards to “Fighter and Champion of Human Rights” Mark Geragos (who was not able to attend). Mark’s wife Paulette accepted his honors during the fundraising dinner.
During the bash there was also a special auction, prize raffle, onsite boutique shopping (Claudia Ollis/Two Piece) and a live dance and vocal performance by Paris St. John. Guests enjoyed the Armenian and Lebanese cuisine at the 10c eatery while mingling with the celeb guests and boxing champs between breaks. The patrons also were gifted with backpacks and goodie bags (Life and Hope/Aurel Davidyan and Andrei Vlad, Dr. Laurence Rifkin, etc.).
Boxing brothers David Benavidez and Jose Benavidez Jr. told me they enjoyed meeting hero Ray Leonard and were also happy to pose for pics and sign autographs for the attendees. The siblings are both training for upcoming fights but the family wanted to take time to support this worthwhile cause with the WBC. David is scheduled to face Ronald Gavril in a February 17 rematch and Jose looks forward to lacing up in early 2018 as well.
As I met many of the guests during the night one theme became clear. All of the ticket holders mentioned the most important thing of the night was giving back. Mia St. John is known for her boxing career but the powerhouse has also become one of the most giving humanitarians as she continues to impact those in need.
Photos by Michele Chong