A sold-out crowd of 1,500 business and community leaders saw an animated video about Mercy Hospital’s proposed new patient tower and heard about other expansion plans during the 23rd annual Mercy Health Foundation’s O’Night Divine Charity Ball.
The event was held Saturday (Dec. 3) at the John Q. Hammons Convention Center in Rogers.
During the evening, Dr. Steve Goss, president Mercy Clinics NWA and Eric Pianalto, president Mercy Hospital NWA, shared, via video, Mercy’s plan to deliver access to health care by means of a $247 million expansion that includes new clinics from Pea Ridge to Springdale, and about the tower expansion on the main campus in Rogers that will take the hospital from 208 beds to 350 beds.
Part of the hospital expansion will be in the womens’ and children’s services area.
Jeri Power, nurse manager on the women’s and children’s floor at Mercy Hospital, said as the hospital moves to a 17-bed NICU and their labor facility expands from 10 to 18 beds, the hospital will need more equipment. At the ball, she stood beside a fetal monitor and an Omni/Giraffe infant warmer in the grand hall of the convention center and explained to guests the necessity of each.
The direct appeal, known as the “Dickey Ray Club”, and led by local philanthropist Dick Trammel, was expected to raise $150,000 to purchase additional monitors and warmers. Clark Ellison, regional vice president of the Mercy Health Foundation, said the signature fund-raising gala was expected to raise over $1 million for the hospital. Last year $1.05 million was raised.
Mercy Health Foundation’s stated mission is “to secure financial support enabling Mercy to provide affordable, quality healthcare in a faith-based environment to every individual, regardless of financial means.”
At the VIP reception before the event, Vista Productions was recognized as Mercy’s the Outstanding Philanthropic Organization of the Year. Greg Blair received the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year and the Pete and Shirley Esch were the Outstanding Family of the Year.
A live auction during the evening included a FOREVERBED mattress and couples spa day; a trip to Hershey, Penn. for four; four club level tickets to a Dallas Cowboys home game; a $10,000 shopping spree at Blakeman’s Fine Jewelry; a trip to the Professional Bull Riding world finals in Las Vegas; a Razorback Basketball experience with Coach Mike Anderson for eight and a St. Louis Cardinal package for 20.
An online auction, a new addition this year, included several travel packages and four Hatchimals, a toy popular with children this Christmas. The online auction continues through midnight Monday (Dec. 5).
Tickets for the Mercy Ball were $250 and sponsorships went up to $50,000.