Arts & Entertainment - November 10, 2010

Four prominent authors at Abilities United luncheon

Submitted by Wendy Keuhnl, a spokesperson for Abilities United, a Palo Alto-based organization that provides services for people with disabilities.

Abilities United is holding its 19th annual Authors Luncheon fundraiser on Saturday, Nov. 13, at the Crowne Plaza Cabana Hotel, 4290 El Camino Real in Palo Alto.

Four prominent authors will give presentations during the luncheon program, which runs from noon to 2 p.m. They are:

• Mac Barnett, a children's author and a rising star in the literary world.

• Julia Glass, author of "Three Junes," winner of the 2002 National Book Award for Fiction.

• Mary Roach, author of the recently released "Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void."

• Simon Winchester, author, journalist, and broadcaster who has worked as a foreign correspondent for most of his career.

Prior to the luncheon, starting at 10:30 a.m., the book salon opens for sales and signings and the Abilities United art show and silent auction will be held.

The luncheon program will open with a presentation by Molly Hale of Menlo Park, a client of Abilities United who was the subject of the documentary, "Moment by Moment: The Healing Journey of Molly Hale," by Dorothy Fadiman, also of Menlo Park.

When Ms. Hale broke her neck in an automobile rollover, she was told she would never move intentionally below her shoulders. After over 14 years of warm-water aquatic therapy and exercise at the Abilities United Betty Wright Swim Center, she is able to drive her wheelchair-equipped van and walk with assistance.

She competes in martial art competitions, enjoys her lifelong love of horseback riding, and travels internationally to teach about living with a disability.

Chair of the luncheon is Gina Rayfield of Portola Valley. She has been involved with Abilities United since 1992, when her daughter, Charlotte, then 1, was referred to early intervention services at Abilities United due to her premature birth.

Ms. Rayfield and her daughter, Charlotte, now a seventh-grader at Corte Madera School in Portola Valley, were the keynote speakers at the 2009 Authors Luncheon.

Tony Heren of Atherton is honorary chair of the fundraiser.

Tickets are available at $125. Call 650-618-3330 or email


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