Babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Mercy Hospital in Northwest Arkansas will have an additional lifeline as a result of the 24th annual Mercy Health Foundation’s O’Night Divine Charity Ball held on Dec. 2 at the John Q. Hammons Convention Center in Rogers.
A sold out crowd of 1,575 business, community and government leaders attended Mercy’s signature fund-raising gala to raise over $1 million to provide cardiac monitors for the hospital’s NICU. Hospital staff said the new machines will give doctors the ability to make clinical decisions by monitoring heartbeats, how fast babies are breathing, how much oxygen is getting to their body and blood pressure.
Clark Ellison, Mercy Health Foundation regional vice president, said because of the hospital’s expansion, the NICU needs more equipment.
“We are going from a ward type NICU, where it’s one room with multiple beds in it… to 15 private rooms. … We need that equipment to be able to provide one in each of those new rooms,” Ellison said.
During the evening, Mercy presidents, Dr. Steve Goss and Eric Pianalto, gave the crowd an update on the $247 million expansion, called “Opening Doors, Our Commitment Continues to NWA” that was announced in April, 2016. It includes construction of a new 150-bed patient tower on the hospital campus, seven new clinics, 100 new primary and specialty care providers and 1,000 new jobs.
Pianalto said the capital campaign had already raised around $15 million and recognized and presented gifts to key donors: Melba Shewmaker, Mike and Susan Duke, Johnelle Hunt, and Wal-Mart. Dan Bartlett and Karen Roberts accepted the gifts for Wal-Mart and the Wal-Mart Foundation.
As part of the Opening Doors campaign, two large red doors were on display at the ball to represent the doors of the House of Mercy in Dublin, Ireland, where foundress Catherine McAuley started Mercy Hospital in the 1800s. Pianalto said the doors the hospital is opening in Northwest Arkansas are three-fold: access to quality health care, economic development and improved quality of life.
During the evening the Nick and Connie White family was recognized as Family of the Year. The Mike and Susan Duke Family Foundation was recognized as Organization of the Year, and Karen Roberts, executive vice president and general counsel at Wal-Mart and hospital board member, was recognized as Volunteer of the Year.
Guests participated in a live auction, which included a trip for four to Hershey Chocolate Town; a dinner and exclusive tour of the art vault at Crystal Bridges; an African safari; and a week at a vacation home in Park City, Utah. Country singer Chris Lane headlined the entertainment for the evening. Earlier this year he was nominated for the 2017 iHeartRadio Music New Awards Best New Country Artist and ACM Awards for New Male Vocalist of the Year.
Savvy Shields, Miss America 2017, and Jake McBride from iHeart Radio/KIX 104 co-emceed the event. Tickets for the evening were $250 per person, with sponsorships ranging from $6,000 to $50,000. Presenting sponsors for the gala were Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club, and the Lee and Linda Scott family.
Mercy Northwest Arkansas (www.mercy.net) employs 2,000 people and includes the 208-bed Mercy Hospital in Rogers, Ambulatory Surgery Center in Bentonville, multispecialty facility in Bella Vista and 30 Mercy Clinic locations in NWA. Mercy NWA is part of Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems in 2017 by Truven, an IBM company.