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White Tent Event Raises Money for Pediatric Center

October 28, 1987|PAMELA MARIN

They called the evening "California Dream," but for one guest, this year's "Fund$y"fund-raiser for United Western Medical Centers marked a personal dream come true.

"I've been waiting three years for this night," said Dr. Stephen Johnson, director of pediatric services at Western Medical Center in Santa Ana. "I'm nervous; I'm excited. This is so great!"

The $150-per-person benefit, held in an enormous white tent on the grounds of the Santa Ana hospital, raised estimated net proceeds of $165,000 to help offset the cost of the hospital's new pediatric care center.

The center, which opened Oct. 16 and occupies the entire third floor of the hospital, includes 26 pediatric beds and eight pediatric intensive care unit beds. Total cost was approximately $4 million, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Joking that he'd been "director of a non-existent unit" for the past three years, an obviously delighted Johnson said the new accommodations include room for parents to stay overnight with their ailing children.

"Our whole idea is family-oriented care," Johnson said. "Most hospitals kick parents out--they give 'em five minutes on the hour with the kid and that's it. We feel that parents are an important part of the healing process, and we want them around."

The 10th annual Fund$y (for "Funds Serving You") was sponsored by the Westmed Gold Club, a hospital support group. The black-tie gala began at cocktail hour as 650 guests strolled down a red carpet and into the 20,000-square-foot tent decorated with gigantic pastel banners, mock adobe arches, bougainvillea and a rugged stone fountain--a tribute to the California of an earlier age.

Betty Belden-Palmer, president of the Gold Club, greeted guests at the entrance in a stunning gold chenille gown accented with gold jewelry.

"I knew I'd better wear gold tonight," she said, plucking shrimp from a passing hors d'oeuvres tray. "What would people think if the Gold Club lady wore another color?"

Before a dinner of salmon and roast veal, followed by a live auction and dancing, Wayne Schroeder, president of United Western Medical Centers, called Fund$y and the Gold Club members "an answered prayer. Every year, as government becomes less responsible, our volunteers become more important. I look around and see all this and I think, 'This is a blessing.' "

Another annual benefit celebrating its 10th anniversary Saturday night was the Martin Luther Hospital Foundation's "Autumn Ambrosia" fund-raiser. Eight hundred guests paid $150 each for an elegant evening of fine dining and entertainment in the Grand Ballroom of the Disneyland Hotel.

After cocktails and a dinner of sorrel en croute and beef filet with baby vegetables, guests sat back in the black-and-white appointed ballroom and enjoyed an hour of romantic ballads sung by Tony Bennett--who took his final bows to the roar of a standing ovation.

The event, chaired by foundation board member R. Davis Taylor, raised $54,000 estimated net proceeds, which will be used for purchase of laser surgical equipment for the Anaheim hospital.

Not to be outdone by more experienced fund-raising peers, the Women's Hospital Auxiliary of Laguna Hills held its very first benefit Saturday--"and we couldn't be happier with how it turned out," said auxiliary chairman Marci Levine. "Everything was perfect, perfect, perfect!"

Everything took place at the Registry Hotel in Irvine, where 325 guests paid $100 each for an evening that included cocktails and a silent auction, dinner of medallions of beef and breast of chicken in sauce choron, and a fashion show of casual clothes, ski wear and formal attire presented (and completely underwritten) by Nordstrom.

Women's Hospital Auxiliary, founded six months ago, is composed of nearly 100 wives of physicians at Saddleback Hospital and Health Center in Laguna Hills. The wives united to help raise funds for an ancillary building currently under construction next to Saddleback Hospital that will provide for labor, delivery, postpartum and infant care. The three-story, 21-room Women's Hospital will open in January, 1988, Levine said.

The "Opening Night" benefit raised net proceeds estimated at $35,000, according to Levine.

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