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Hospital event raises funds for special nursery

April 25, 2004|By Alicia Notarianni

alician@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN- A 6-foot-2 white rabbit led about 350 people through a rabbit hole into the community room at Robinwood Medical Center Saturday night.

The guests were attending Washington County Hospital's 10th annual Crystal Ball. The theme of the ball ? sponsored by the Antietam Healthcare Foundation Inc. ? was, of course, "Alice in Wonderland."

Michael G. Day, chairman of the board of directors for Antietam Healthcare Foundation Inc., described the foundation as the fund-raising arm for the hospital.

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"When a need has been identified, our job is to be soldiers to get the funds raised," Day said.

Dr. John G. Newby, chairman of the ball, said proceeds from the event will benefit the hospital's pediatric services by funding a special care nursery.

Newby said the nursery would provide a level of care that would serve small or premature babies who may need special oversight by pediatric physicians.

"This would allow families to stay here rather than go to D.C. or Baltimore," Newby said. "It will allow us to keep kids here with their families."

Debbie Malick, clinical director for women's, children's and critical care at Washington County Hospital, said research indicates that increased bonding allows babies to get better faster.

Newby said proceeds from the ball were expected to surpass $135,000.

The Washington County Hospital Auxiliary received special recognition for becoming the first diamond sponsor in the history of the ball by donating $25,000.

"These men and women for so many years have given millions of hours and millions of dollars," said James P. Hamill, president and chief executive officer of Washington County Health System.

During the reception, attendees enjoyed the tunes of the Progressive Flute Choir as they mingled with the Mad Hatter over cocktails and hors d'oeurves.

Following the reception and bidding on silent auction items, attendees headed to the atrium for dinner, which was catered by the Four Points Sheraton. Along the way, they passed a lighted, moving pink flamingo and decorative prints of white rabbits heralding them in the right direction.

Inside the dining room, guests matched playing cards ? which they received during registration for the event ? to the numbers and suits of cards on the tables.

Ron Forsh and the Latin Jazz Quartet crafted rousing tunes, while Cheshire cats grinned from unexpected hiding places.

After dinner, guests returned to the community room, where they danced to the music of Jaared Arosemena and Galaxy.

Sukey Rankin, chairwoman of the decorating committee, has had a decorative hand in every Crystal Ball since its inception 10 years ago. Rankin said the committee chose the "Alice in Wonderland" theme this year because it was "whimsical, lively, colorful and a lot of fun."

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