At six feet six inches tall, Olympic gold medalist Gary Hall Jr. is difficult not to notice. Whether he's donning hipster black-rimmed glasses or mirrored goggles, the record-breaking freestyler commands attention both on the starting blocks and behind a podium.
Since being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1999, Hall has immersed himself in supporting research to find a cure. "There is nothing left for me to accomplish in the sport of swimming," says Hall, who serves on the Florida board of directors of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation. When he's not training, Hall travels extensively to speak about diabetes, and serves as a role model for children living with the disease.
You can do your part by attending the second annual Circle of Champions Charity Brunch at Joe's Stone Crab (11 Washington Ave., Miami Beach). Munch on claws for a cause and bid on fabulous items in the live and silent auctions today from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Tickets cost $175. Call 786-208-8001, or visit www.diabetesresearch.org. Lyssa Oberkreser
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Keep trash off the beach
We forget how lucky we are to live a short drive from South Beach. As part of the first annual Sun & Fun by the Sea '05, this weekend's beach cleanups sponsored by the Environmental Coalition of Miami Beach (ECOMB) are an opportunity to show your appreciation for all of those hours spent basking in the rays. ECOMB invites people of all ages to hit the sand and push up their shirtsleeves for its anti-litter campaign. Two cleanups will take place, both commencing at Eighth Street and Ocean Drive: today from 9:00 a.m. to noon and Monday from noon to 3:00 p.m. Enjoy the main beach party event Sunday from noon to 5:00 p.m. on Ocean Drive between Sixth and Tenth streets, where you can listen to live music and watch performances by the Clevelander Showtime Team and Mango's Tropical Café salsa dancers. Admission is free. Call 305-534-3825, or visit www.ecomb.org. Christina Kent
Quest for Cash
With the holidays looming and bank accounts shrinking, you could use an extra $20,000 to boost your balance. If you think you have the mad skills to solve ten scavenger-hunt clues and navigate the streets of Broward and Miami-Dade counties to find the checkpoints, then today's Quest Rally USA could be your ticket to a fat Santa sack. "It's a game of skill and strategy; we're not promoting fast driving," says Quest Rally USA founder Jonathan Woolfson. "You can win this in a Hyundai; you don't need a Ferrari." The event location will be announced 48 hours prior to the start. Registration costs $99 for one- or two-person teams. The race begins at 11:00 a.m. Call 954-456-7969, or visit www.questrallyusa.com for details. Lyssa Oberkreser