When the NCH Hospital Ball takes place at the Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort on Saturday, October 26, it will mark the event’s 55th year, the longest running fundraiser in Naples. What does this mean to our community? Since the year 2000 alone, this longstanding annual tradition has raised more than $5 million to provide area residents and visitors with the highest quality medical care.
The 2013 Hospital Ball promises to be more significant than ever, with this year’s proceeds helping to expand and enhance NCH’s Pediatric Emergency Department (ED).
“The North Naples ED was opened just before my arrival in July of 1994,” recounted Dr. John Lewis, NCH Emergency Services Chief. “The ED was initially designed to accommodate a volume of approximately 15,000 patient visits annually, but it very quickly grew to have greater than 50,000 visits routinely. From the time it first opened, we struggled with capacity during season.”
The area’s rapid population growth has resulted in a younger patient demographic. In fact, more than 25 percent of the patients treated at the North Naples ED are under 21. This past year NCH served a record nearly 17,000 children, a 33 percent increase since 2008.
The newly enhanced Pediatric ED will create a friendly and calming environment for children and their parents during times of crisis. In order to meet the needs of our youngest patients, plans call for 24-hour care using the latest pediatric technology and equipment. Our team of specialized doctors and nurses will be equipped to treat a broader range of medical issues with the highest quality of personalized care.
“We are also thinking of the families,” explains Michele Thoman, Chief Nursing Officer, NCH Healthcare System, Administrator, NCH North Naples Hospital. “When you are treating children in an emergency situation, you are treating whole families. Money raised for this project will help usto create a family waiting area, an observation area and a play area for siblings.”
In addition to a major fundraising effort, the annual Hospital Ball is one of the highlights of the Naples social season, attended by many physicians, community leaders and friends of the hospital.
The NCH Ball Committee has been hard at work planning a spectacular evening that will include fine cuisine, a rousing dance band, and live and silent auctions offering once-in-a-lifetime experiences. The NCH Ball committee gathered at the home of Ball Chairs, Senator Garrett and Diana Richter, to launch the planning and sponsorship efforts for the event. Diana Richter said to the group, “We all share a common bond—a giving heart.” She also explained that though no one ever wants their child or grandchild to need the services of an ER, everyone appreciates the peace of mind knowing that NCH is there.
This year’s Ball Committee is hoping that the entire community shares “a giving heart.” For more information and for ticket purchases, contact the NCH Foundation at 239.624.2000 or visit www.nchmd. org/hospitalball.