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Hearts of Gold Ball raises funds for 4th Floor renovation

Published on May 28, 2014

Hearts of Gold Ball raises funds for Fourth Floor renovation

By Ashleigh Tidwell, Lawrence Journal World reporter

It was a night full of bidding and dancing for attendees of the Hearts of Gold Ball on Saturday night.

In a building that previously housed the Lawrence Journal-World's press room more than 600 people, dressed in their finest suits and gowns, danced the night away to music by Billy Ebeling and the Late for Dinner Band.

The Journal-World hosted the ball to raise money for the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Endowment Association. The event is held every two years and will help fund a renovation of the hospital's fourth floor, which is home to the acute rehab and transitional care units.

"It's one thing everyone can get behind," said Kathy Clausing-Willis, vice president and chief development officer of Lawrence Memorial Hospital. "At some point everyone is touched by the hospital."

The renovations will begin in 2015 and are expected to cost $4 million. Patient rooms will be modified from semi-private to private rooms, and the entire floor will be made more accessible for patients.

"It's important that this floor is world class," Clausing-Willis said. "Lawrence is becoming a retirement community, and we want to make sure our facilities can properly serve the over-65 community."

Organizers of the event also hoped that the unique location would draw interest to the event.

"There was a lot of public intrigue with the location," said Beverly Roelofs, co-chair for the Hearts of Gold Ball. "It's a part of the history of Lawrence."

The location also inspired the theme of the ball: Press On.

"It ties to the rehabilitation concept of pressing on to get patients home," Roelofs said.

Since 1999, the ball has raised more than $1 million for projects at LMH. In years past, the event has helped to fund projects within the Bob Billings Cardiac Observation Unit, the emergency department and the second-floor medical unit.

With this year's ball, the Endowment Association hoped to bring in $300,000 in funds. With help from those in attendance, the event, which featured both a silent and live auction, was able to raise $500,000, more than $200,000 over its goal.

"That's a quarter of our total," Clausing-Willis said. "We feel very lucky that it turned out the way it did."

For those in attendance, it was all about supporting a good cause.

"It's a great resource in Lawrence, and we want to do our part to make sure it is sustained," Skyler O'Hara said. "It is a truly fantastic event."

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