Color of Hope is every shade of green

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 101 views 

ROGERS — Glorious greens in a wide spectrum of hues provided a feast for the eyes at Friday night’s (Aug. 10) Color of Hope Gala. The fifth annual affair, one of the largest fundraisers for Arkansas Children’s Hospital, was held at the John Q. Hammons Convention Center.

Some show-stoppers: A pleated lime green gown, an off-the-shoulder pistachio-colored dress, a knee-length teal number and an olive-colored frock. Neile Jones, an emcee for the event, dressed in black but offset her outfit with a pair of heels in emerald green.

One standout: a guest wearing a pair of fern-colored skinny jeans.

The bold and bright event included cocktails, dinner and a silent auction. Organizers were expecting as many guests as they had last year, which was about 1,200. Tickets were $200 each or tables of 10 for $2,000.

Arkansas Children’s Hospital operates the Centers for Children in Lowell, with 18 clinics in this region that specialize in cardiology, genetics, hemophilia, urology and more. The clinics prevent families from traveling to Little Rock frequently for the care provided by ACH.
 
During the gala, Jack Sinclair, executive vice president of grocery merchandise at Walmart corporate headquarters, took a moment to connect with the audience. It was all but certain the event would garner at least the $920,000 raised last year.

“On behalf of all the people in Arkansas and the children of Arkansas that it will benefit, I thank you,” he said.

Co-emcee Brad Reed, anchorman of the Fox News Edge, Channel 24, helped provide potential donors with an image of those whom the gala would benefit.

“They need a chance for life,” he said of the children aided by the hospital.

Scarorough, senior vice president of the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Foundation, said he was impressed and delighted with the attendance and the generosity of vendors and suppliers who turned out for the gala.

“As much as we’ve done, it’s still not where it should be,” said he said.

Also during the program, audience members got the chance to know the Gillooley family, whose little girl, Ireland (now 2) received a heart transplant at only a few weeks old.

“At first, we weren’t worried, but soon we grew concerned because she wasn’t eating,” said Angela Gillooley, Ireland’s mother. “She didn’t seem right … then [she]started turning colors and was not moving.”

Ireland’s physician, Dr. Elizabeth Frazier, told the couple it was unlikely that they’d find a donor.
 
“We had no good surgical transplants on the horizon for Ireland. She was a small baby with a complex disease,” she said. Angela and her husband, Josh, told the crowd it was the scariest time in their lives.

“We decided to go to church,” said Josh Gillooley. “We were there about 10 minutes when we got a phone call saying that they had a heart for her.”

After many hours of surgery, Ireland emerged with a new heart. Her skin was pink again, signaling her health.

“Just knowing everything was going to be OK was perfect,” said Josh.