The Friends of Barbara came up $14,000 short of their $40,000 goal when they staged a Bal Masque on Friday night to raise money for a liver transplant for Barbara Jernigan of Newport Beach.
The benefit event at the Hotel Meridien netted $26,000, said chairman Katherine Logan. "We had hoped for 400 guests (220 attended) and to make more money on our live auction items. "We need an angel," she said after the event. "We don't know what we'll do next, but we'll think of something. We must."
Jernigan, 50, is the founder of the PMS Center of Orange County, which conducts counseling and treatment for pre-menstrual stress at its headquarters in Irvine. She is suffering from primary biliary cirrhosis, an incurable liver disease. If she does not soon have a liver transplant, she will most likely die within a year, says UCI Medical Center hepatologist John Hoefs.
Logan said Jernigan needs $60,000 to cover the difference between what her insurance will pay and what she is able to pay.
The Friends raised $17,000 at their first benefit in November. Proceeds go directly to the American Liver Foundation's transplant fund in Cedar Grove, N. J., where they have set up a trust fund for Jernigan, Logan said.
Jernigan plans to have the surgery at Pittsburgh Presbyterian Hospital in Pennsylvania, where the procedure is less expensive than California. "Providing there are no complications, Pittsburgh has said it will cost $100,000," said Jernigan, adding that estimates here have ranged up to $500,000.
As guests waited for Jernigan to arrive for the party, they sipped cocktails and discussed why they became involved. "We're her friends," said Cerise Feeley, "so when Mimi and Tom Crosson (close friends of Jernigan) came to us and said, 'Barbara needs a liver transplant, and she needs one right now,' we said, 'We hear you loud and clear. We'll be underwriters, donors, anything.' "
Said Audrey Patterson: "I'm here because of that woman's beautiful spirit. She's a woman with a big problem and she still smiles."
Arriving in a sleek black limousine loaned to her by Rita and Reed Sprinkel, Jernigan alighted to the hugs and kisses of friends. She wore a white Grecian style gown and carried a mask, which Logan had made for her.
"I'm very excited," Jernigan said. "This committee has been unbelievable. I feel guilty when I realize how much they've done. People are so giving, loving and kind. I never knew. . . ."
Highest auction bid was $750 paid by Calvin Lee for a fox fur jacket donated by Tina and Matthew Schafnitz.
Guests paid $125 each to attend.
Committee members included Lois Bronell, Dagmar Chaplin, Carolyn Fletcher, Barbara Cockrell, the Crossons, Francine Garton, Maggie Mellin and Drew Renner.
Also serving were Toni Armistead, Penny Baskin, Julia P. Chase, June Crockett, Helen Fairfield, Darlyn and Jack Knorpp, Jan Landstrom, David Lauren, Lea Pascoe, Bojie Rusch, Judie Steiner, Karen Vinci, Dr. Richard Weiss and "CC" and Claude Whitney.