How did you determine which charitable organizations you would support?
I try to support as many as I can but have spend many years working and raising funds for the Diabetes Research Institute. When I moved from Boston to Miami my daughter was very involved working on the “Love and Hope Ball”. She said they needed help and would I consider joining the group to raise money and work on their ball. When I came down here, I had decided not to get involved, as I had done this all my life in Boston. However, I succumbed and worked for many years. This group was and still is very important to me, as I had watched my father living with this dreaded disease – he died from complications at the age of 68.
Another charity very dear to my heart is Project Newborn. Two of my grandchildren were premature. One baby was 2 pounds 9 ounces and the other 1 pound 11 ounces. I was determined to do whatever I could for the other babies. I was so grateful that my children lived and are healthy, beautiful adults today. I feel I have accomplished so much along with other hard workers, and we now have a state of the art, unbelievable unit at Jackson Memorial Children’s Hospital.
I worked very hard for AIDS when people did not seem to care. Thank God, people have more understanding and have been educated to the facts of this dreaded disease. I could go on and on since there are many charities that have become a part of my life.
Is there a charitable event you really look forward to attending each year?
Yes. I look forward to attending the Women of Tomorrow ball each year. It began in 2002 and has been chaired by my granddaughter Marisa Toccin each year. I am so proud of her capability and knowledge in running a great party and raising so much money. The Women of Tomorrow Mentor and Scholarship Program was founded in 1997 by Television Journalist Jennifer Valoppi and Telemundo Network President, Don Browne, as a way to inspire, motivate, and empower at risk young women in our public schools. Funds raised from the gala help send hundreds of women to college every year.
What are you most disciplined about?
I do not procrastinate. No matter what sits on my desk, it is done immediately. RSVP’s and thank you notes go out immediately. Packing for trips is done in advance, as are preparations for a dinner party.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Perfect happiness is to be surrounded by those I love. My husband, my children, my grandchildren. I thank god they are all in good health and we can all be together at certain times of the year. How beautiful is that!
What is the most important thing you have learned through the years?
I believe that being thoughtful and to be caring towards others only raises your level of good living. To have people that respect you and actually like you means a great deal to me. I do believe you get back triple if you can be good to others
Do you have a favorite vacation spot?
Yes, I love Capri, Italy. This is my very favorite spot in the world. Donald and I know how to relax and smell the roses there. Usually we have part of our family there and most summers we are together to celebrate my birthday. The Italians are so wonderful and they have become our dear friends.
What can make you laugh?
Nothing makes me laugh more than my dog, Valentino. He is a Cavalier King Charles, now 3 years old. When I come home, he drowns me with kisses and is so happy he cries hysterically. He sits at the table with us (I am ashamed to admit). He has the best manners and loves to sun himself on my lounge when he goes out on the terrace. He thinks he is a person and I have to admit we treat him like he is.
What can make you cry?
I guess I cry when I lose someone I love. I do have trouble coping with death.
Are you where you hoped you would be at this point in your life?
Yes. I could not be more satisfied. I feel I have accomplished so much in my charity work, love from my family, and friends. I feel I have given of myself, but have gotten so much back.
If you were to write an autobiography, what would the title of it be?
“Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets.” Of course this would take a lot of explaining – but love and achievement seems to have been the story of my life.
How does the “seasoned” woman compete in a marketplace that is focused on looking and being young?
A seasoned woman does not compete with youth. She accepts her age and can still look beautiful and elegant, but not young.
What do you have to say to all the young women/men that are ready to take on the future?
My answer to that is – do something you are passionate about. Take a chance – live dangerously. If you love what you are doing, you are one-step ahead of the game.