24-hour ‘greet-a-thon’ kicks off today
Laguna Beach greeter Michael Minutoli kicked off his fourth annual 24-hour “greet-a-thon” Friday, March 29, at 7 a.m., and will be continually greeting passersby at the corner of Coast Highway and Brooks Street until 7 a.m. Saturday, March 30, in order to raise funds for cancer research.
Minutoli has become a welcomed fixture at the corner outside of Sapphire restaurant over the last eight years—dancing, waving and greeting folks for three to eight hours a day while sporting whimsical outfits. He dances alongside a statue of Eiler Larsen, one of Laguna’s early greeters.
As in years past, Minutoli’s greet-a-thon aims to raise funds for the Live For Others Foundation, which was established by Tim Vorenkamp, a local young man who passed away from a rare cancer in 2015. Vorenkamp would have turned 21 years old on March 27.
After he passed, Vorenkamp’s parents told Minutoli that their son had admired him and had included having lunch with him on his bucket list. Before attending UC Berkeley as a freshman, Vorenkamp had worked as a host at Sapphire, often observing Minutoli’s antics.
“I didn’t know I was cheering up a kid in pain,” Minutoli said. “A smile and a wave can change someone’s life.”
Minutoli wasn’t able to have that lunch with Vorenkamp, so he decided to find a way to give back to him and his mission to find a cure for synovial cell sarcoma. Each year, his greet-a-thon efforts have grown, and last year, Minutoli said he raised $3,300 for the Live For Others Foundation.
This year brings a couple new additions to Minutoli’s fundraising. On Thursday, he went around the city seeking donations from local businesses. And during today’s greet-a-thon, Minutoli said he’ll have 10 costumes on hand so that folks can dress up and take a selfie or two if they’d like.
On Wednesday, Minutoli was resting up at his son’s home in Corona. He intends to have “more energy than a rocket on the Fourth of July” during this year’s greet-a-thon event.
Those who can’t donate in person but would like to contribute to Live For Others can go online to l4of.org.