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Original painting featured on event posters, to be auctioned at Wine Fest event on Feb. 25

(Fort Myers, Fla. – January 6, 2012) — Butterflies and a bright purple kitten are featured in this year’s signature painting created by Olivia Ramsey of Fort Myers for the 2012 Wine & Food Fest. The painting will be auctioned at the Wine Fest Grand Tasting and Auction on February 25.

Olivia ‘Liv’ is 7 years old and an oncology patient at The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. Now in the second grade, she was diagnosed with leukemia in December of 2010. According to her mom, Michelle, she is now in the maintenance phase of her 2.5-year treatment program. “Her first 6 months of treatment were the hardest, but she always handled everything with a smile. If you met her, you wouldn’t know she was battling cancer except for having shorter hair!”

The Ramseys considered moving north, to a cancer treatment center, before meeting Dr. Emad Salman of The Children’s Hospital. “We didn’t know what we had in our own back yard,” Michelle said”The facility is phenomenal. The nurses, the physicians, they are so knowledgeable and they treat you so well. They’ve made us feel comfortable the whole way through and it’s scary ride.”

The doctors and nurses at The Children’s Hospital have become heroes to Liv. “They’ve done so much for me and they’ve helped me a lot. I don’t have to worry. I know that I’m going to be fine,”she said.

Olivia is giving back something of her own as well. She has founded Olivia’s Wagon of Wonder. Throughout the year, she will be giving other pediatric oncology patients all sorts of arts and craft items that have been donated to the Wagon.When Olivia spent time in the hospital she passed the time with doing many art projects and she said wants to help other children do the same thing.

Liv’s original watercolor and acrylic painting will be auctioned off at the Wine Fest’s grand tasting on Feb. 25. Wine Fest Chairman Dr. Steve Machiz says the children’s artwork is typically one of the highest-bid lots.

The Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest is a signature event of the SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit organization that provides funding to local charities serving local children. It begins the evening of Feb. 24, with Chef Vintner dinners in private homes around Southwest Florida for invited guests donating $1,000 to $1,500 per seat. Each dinner will showcase wines by featured vintners and culinary offerings from Southwest Florida’s finest chefs.

Then on Feb. 25, the chefs, vintners, dinner guests and others come together again, at the Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club for the Grand Tasting and Auction. Participating chefs prepare their favorite signature dishes to accompany the wine tastings.

The Auction features exceptional packages of special and unique wines, exclusive trips, amazing dining experiences and more. All proceeds from the auction and event ticket sales will benefit three causes benefiting children’s health care in our area: The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, Edison State College’s Pediatric Nursing Program and an endowment to Florida Gulf Coast University to establish a pre-med student scholarship.

Last year’s event netted $1.6 million resulting in a $1,250,000 donation to The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida and $100,000 to both Edison State College and Florida Gulf Coast University for their respective pediatric nursing and pre-medical education programs.

To view a video about Olivia and an interview with her mother Michelle, or for more information about the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest or ticket sales, visit or call 239-278-3900.