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OPINION | Carin Schoppmeyer: Mercy Ball raises money for healthcare in River Valley

Appeal gives patients wheels by Carin Schoppmeyer | January 22, 2023 at 1:00 a.m.
Britta Erickson (from left), Luke Perkinson, Kathryn Hollister, John Mathis, Terry Hollister, Trevor Mullins, Christine Mason and Aaron Ragsdale help represent Choctaw Casino and Resort Pacola, presenting sponsor of the Mercy Health Foundation Fort Smith Charity Ball on Dec. 9 at the Fort Smith Convention Center. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)


Mercy Health Foundation Fort Smith welcomed 1,100 supporters Dec. 9 to the Fort Smith Convention Center for the return of the first live Charity Ball since 2019. The black-tie optional ball helped the nonprofit organization raise more than $600,000 and included a champagne welcome, dinner, auction and direct appeal, live entertainment by Mitch Rossell and the After Party with Limelight presented by Emerald City Band.

"Every dollar raised stays right here in the River Valley, ensuring that our families, friends and neighbors have access to the compassionate, high-quality health care they need and deserve," organizers say.

The direct appeal that evening focused on Mercy's oncology patients and "ensuring all patients can get the care they need, regardless of transportation barriers. All funds raised are supporting the creation of a dedicated oncology transportation program," organizers say. Guests exceeded Walter O. Caldwell Foundation's gift of $35,000, bringing the total to $90,000.

"Charity Ball is a great way to celebrate the work the foundation does year around. We were so thrilled to be back in person. The energy in the room was off the charts. We are continually blessed by our community's heart and support for Mercy's mission and the health of our region," says Patrick Pendleton, executive director of Mercy Health Foundation Fort Smith.

"Mercy Fort Smith has been an integral part of the health of our region since the first Sisters of Mercy arrived here in 1853. Today, we serve nearly a half-million people, providing comprehensive primary, specialized, and acute medical services for a significant portion of Western Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma. Since 2008, Mercy has invested more than $200 million in the River Valley region, including the creation of Mercy Clinic, the completion and integration of the Orthopedic Hospital, the Cooper Clinic integration, the creation of the Rehabilitation Hospital, and much more -- all to grow medical access in a region historically and significantly underserved. Now, we're embarking on a new initiative to transform emergent and critical care services. Construction is already well under way on an approximately $180 million, 165,000-square-foot emergency department and intensive care unit tower that will enable us to care for 75,000 patients per year," according to a news release.

Choctaw Casino and Resort Pocola was the gala's presenting sponsor.

Other sponsors included McCarthy; Newton's Jewelers; Diamond Center; WW&L; Pernod Ricard; KFSM; Uncork'd Wine, Crafts, Tapas; Homewood Suites by Hilton; Quest Diagnostics; William Thomas and May Pittman; and Hennesey Foundation.

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

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

  photo  Kelly and Marilyn Newton (from left), Lucy and Michael Lundy and Kevin and Dr. Lisa Newton help support Mercy Health Foundation Fort Smith at the Charity Ball on Dec. 9 at the Fort Smith Convention Center. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Braden Clark and Ava Williamson (from left) Mercy Health Foundation Board Chairman Scott Clark and wife Deborah stand for a photo at the Charity Ball on Dec. 9 at the Fort Smith Convention Center. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Tom Wiley (from left), Cady and Adam Shaw, Christine and Richard Baker and Stacey and David Tuck help support Mercy Health Foundation Fort Smith at the Charity Ball on Dec. 9 at the Fort Smith Convention Center. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Doug and Kathy Babb (from left), Sr. Judith Marie, Donna Stec and Sr. Rebecca visit at the Mercy Charity Ball on Dec. 9 at the Fort Smith Convention Center. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Mercy Hospitals Arkansas President Ryan Gehrig and wife Kristen (from left) and Drs. Terry and David Hunton, Mercy Clinic Fort Smith president, help welcome guests to the Charity Ball on Dec. 9 at the Fort Smith Convention Center. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Les and Monica Smith enjoy the Mercy Charity Ball on Dec. 9. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Les and Monica Smith enjoy the Mercy Charity Ball on Dec. 9. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Bryan Warner (from left), Tyler Knoke and Troy Bonner attend the Mercy Charity Ball. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 


At a Glance

Charity Ball

Who: Mercy Health Foundation Fort Smith

What: The annual benefit ball helped the foundation raise more than $600,000.

When: Dec. 9

Where: Fort Smith Convention Center

Next: Charity Ball, Dec. 8, 2023

Information: (479) 314-1133 or mercyhealthfoundation.net/communities/fortsmith/

 



Print Headline: Mercy Ball supports healthcare

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