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An Event with Heart


Guests dressed to impress for an evening at the Morgantown Event Center on Saturday, February 9, 2013. On this night, they greeted each other with excited smiles at the thought of events about to unfold—an unforgettable evening filled with excellent food, wonderful company, and top-notch entertainment.

It might sound like a common scene in Morgantown, but something about this night was different. Something about it was special. It wasn’t just about dancing the hours away—it was about celebrating the people who work tirelessly to save the lives of children in our area and giving back to them so that they can continue doing what they do best. The event was the annual WVU Children’s Hospital Gala, the premier fundraising event of its kind.

The 10th annual WVU Children’s Hospital Gala included a live auction with prizes like trips to Mexico and the Outer Banks, tickets to Pittsburgh Penguins games, a home furniture package, and more. Performances by female R&B group En Vogue and party band Jessie’s Girls got everyone out of their seats and onto the dance floor. “The dance floor was packed the entire evening. Everyone had such a great time,” says Cheryl Jones, director of the WVU Children’s Hospital. This year’s gala also set a new record for attendance in the event’s history.

While guests indulged in a night of dining, prizes, and dancing, the real reason for the event—raising money for the hospital—was never far from their minds. Over 10 years, the annual galas have raised more than $1.5 million for the hospital. Last year’s gala alone raised more than $300,000. And while it’s too early to know how much money was raised this year, there is no doubt that the proceeds from the gala will be infinitely beneficial for the little patients of the hospital.

Proceeds from ticket sales, the live auction, and other parts of the event will go toward purchasing lifesaving medical equipment to take care of critically ill children at the hospital. “All of the equipment is very, very expensive because it is tailored to the needs of the pediatric patients,” Cheryl says. “The funds from the gala are very important to us.”

The theme for this year’s gala, “An Affair of the Heart,” made perfect sense to Cheryl, who sees the endless care and compassion at the hospital each day. “All of the providers who work in the hospital—nurses, physicians, staff, pharmacists—we really have an affair of the heart,” Cheryl says. “We do this every day, and we’re very passionate about the work we do.”

“It may sound cliché,” Cheryl says, “but miracles really do happen here every day. They really, really do. Babies who are so fragile and ill will walk down our hallways in a few years totally healthy. Children come here and they are so ill, and then they get better.” The hospital gives infants and children with life-threatening illnesses from West Virginia and beyond a place to find hope and health, and the annual gala is the perfect opportunity for the community to come together to celebrate those successes.

She says the gala reinforces what the WVU Children’s Hospital is all about. “It’s so fulfilling to see so many members of the community come out and support the work we do every day.”

The event was made possible by a team of dedicated individuals who worked for months to plan and execute every fine detail of the gala. “Our gala committee led by Beth Clements and Ed Keepers did a fabulous job. Without these community leaders helping us organize the gala, we wouldn’t be able to put on such a fine event. We are so grateful for their time and talents,” Cheryl says.

PICTURED FROM TOP: Cheryl Jones, RN, director of WVU Children’s Hospital, and Dr. Stephan Paul, chief of pediatric hematology/oncology, talk during the cocktail reception for the 10th Annual WVU Children’s Hospital Gala. Jordan Beland, 2013 Children’s Miracle Network Champion Child for West Virginia, eagerly awaits the start of the 10th Annual WVU Children’s Hospital Gala. Jordan celebrated his 13th birthday the day before the Gala.

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