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OPINION | Carin Schoppmeyer: Charity ball raises $1.4 million for Mercy Health Foundation NWA

Mercy Charity Ball yields $1.4 million by Carin Schoppmeyer | January 1, 2023 at 1:00 a.m.
Karen Roberts (from left), Latriece Watkins, Silvia Azrai Kawas, Bethany Stephens, Melody Richard and Laura Phillips gather at the O' Night Divine Charity Ball to support Mercy Health Foundation Northwest Arkansas on Dec. 3 at the Rogers Convention Center. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)

The O' Night Divine Charity Ball was again divine for Mercy Health Foundation Northwest Arkansas. The foundation's 1,300 guests brought in $1.4 million at the 29th annual gala fundraiser Dec. 3 at the Rogers Convention Center.

A direct appeal that evening yielded nearly $240,000 to benefit Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Organizers said: "In our Level III accredited Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), our tiniest, most fragile patients are cared for by critically trained nurses and doctors around the clock.

"Our care teams participate in ongoing clinical training to ensure they're prepared to respond to any situation that may arise. A crucial component of that training is neonatal resuscitation. With your help, Mercy will be able to provide our nurses and doctors with an advanced newborn training simulator, the SimNewB, as well as other training resources. These new technologies train clinical co-workers on all aspects of newborn airway management."

"Mercy is blessed by a generous Northwest Arkansas community, and through the Charity Ball, we engage with our donors and community partners to advance health care," says Clark Ellison, vice president of development, Mercy Health Foundation Northwest Arkansas. "We also share exciting news as we embrace a new giving campaign called Just Imagine. Just Imagine will create an even higher level of care and more access for a healthier, growing community."

Gala guests also heard about the health system's $500 million expansion project announced in July. Organizers say: "Our goal remains focused on removing the barriers that prevent access to lower-cost, high-quality health care in in our fast-growing community. We looked at the ever-increasing population of our region and assessed how we can best serve the current health care needs of Northwest Arkansas, but we also took it a step further to forecast what the needs of the region will be in the future."

Project plans include doubling the number of physicians and advanced practice providers; a new state-of-the-art cancer center; expanding the emergency department; increasing the number of operating and isolation rooms; building out the top two floors of the new tower of the hospital in Rogers; introducing new clinic locations; and increasing access to ambulatory services that include urgent care, infusion and imaging.

The first indoor, in-person charity ball for the group since 2019 included a VIP social, patrons' dinner, direct appeal, live entertainment by Morgan Evans and the Go Polar After Party featuring DJ Kirby.

Presenting sponsors for O' Night Divine were Walmart/Sam's Club; Lee and Linda Scott Family; Mike and Susan Duke; and Melba Shewmaker; and founding sponsors were Anheuser-Busch; Celebrate Arkansas; DaySpring; DroneUp; General Mills; and WhyteSpyder.

Save the date for the 30th annual O' Night Divine Charity Ball on Dec. 2, 2023.

May the new year bring many blessings to you and those you love.

For more event photos -- nwadg.com/photos/society.

Columnist Carin Schoppmeyer can be reached by email at [email protected]

  photo  Eric and Elda Scott, with daughter Amelia, help support Mercy Health Foundation Northwest Arkansas at O' Night Divine on Dec. 3. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Eric Pianalto, Mercy Arkansas chief strategic growth officer (from left); Clark Ellison, Mercy Health Foundation Northwest Arkansas vice president of development; Ryan Gehrig, Mercy Hospitals Arkansas president; and Dr. Scott Cooper, Mercy Clinic Northwest Arkansas president, welcome supporters to the O' Night Divine Charity Ball. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Mechelle Meredith-Ehardt (from left), U.S. Sen. John Boozman and wife Cathy and Laurice Hachem visit at the Mercy Health Foundation of NWA Charity Ball on Dec. 3 in Rogers. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Lori Knutson (from left), Terry and Walter Harris and Alice Walton attend O' Night Divine in support of Mercy Health Foundation of NWA on Dec. 3 in Rogers. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  George and Cheryl Westmoreland enjoy O' Night Diving on Dec. 3 in Rogers. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Frankie Rankin (from left), Clark Ellison and Allison McElroy visit at O' Night Divine. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Dalilah Donis and Ben Blakeman enjoy O' Night Divine. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Diane and Wayne Callahan enjoy the O' Night Divine Charity Ball on Dec. 3 in Rogers. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Dalilah Donis and Ben Blakeman enjoy O’ Night Divine. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
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Print Headline: Foundation furthers healthcare

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