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18th Crystal Ball offers a getaway to 'Springtime in Paris'

May 12, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com
  • Rich and Shelby Aikens of Hagerstown look over auction items during the Meritus Healthcare Foundation Crystal Ball Fundraiser, this year's theme is "Springtime in Paris," at the Fountain Head County Club in Hagerstown.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

The 18th Crystal Ball on Saturday offered more than 250 guests a little getaway to “Springtime in Paris” and the opportunity to raise thousands of dollars for the Meritus Healthcare Foundation.

More than $100,000 was expected to be raised at the foundation’s largest annual fundraiser, which actually was held stateside at Fountain Head Country Club for the second consecutive year, according to organizers.

“We just thought it would be fun to do Paris. Why not?” said event chairman John G. Newby, a physician at Meritus Medical Center.

Outside the clubhouse, guests dressed in formal attire arrived at a large white tent where a large model of the Arc de Triomphe was positioned at the entrance. The arch is one of Paris’ most famous monuments.

Guests were encouraged to try a French 75, a cocktail made with gin, champagne, sugar and lemon juice.

The menu, written in French, consisted of sausage en croute, boursin on endive, escargot and shrimp quenelle for hors d’oeurvres. The entree was a combination plate beef tournedos with green peppercorn sauce and grouper filet with caper sauce, green beans and potatoes.

Tart tatin with vanilla ice cream was served for dessert.

Funds generated from the event’s special interest auction benefited the John R. Marsh Cancer Center’s patient assistance fund.

Laurie Sexton, executive director of the foundation, said a donor Saturday night was expected to match the funds raised for the center “dollar for dollar.”

Sexton said raising support for nursing education is going to be one of the big beneficiaries of the foundation’s work this year.

Given changes in technology, advanced training for Meritus Medical Center’s more than 800 nurses is important to help maintain quality patient care, said Jesus Cepero, chief nursing officer.

“There’s more medications now more than ever, there’s more equipment ... and more procedures ... a nurse needs to be prepared for those,” Cepero said.

“Most of our nurses (have earned their) associate’s degree and we want them to go back to school and get their bachelor’s and master’s because ... the more information and knowledge they have, the better,” Cepero said.

With increases in technology, Cepero said the training is necessary and also supports the hospital’s quest to obtain magnet status, an accreditation that recognizes nursing excellence.

Thomas J. Gilbert III, chief of staff and director of Meritus’ wound center, said funds raised also have provided for additional training for respiratory therapists and accreditation efforts.

“It all goes to a good cause,” Gilbert said.

Dale Swope, who was photographing Saturday’s event for the foundation, had nothing but good things to say about the staff who responded when he went to the hospital recently after experiencing chest pains.

“I think the fact that the people were so professional and caring, and I knew I was getting expert care, made me feel comfortable in an uncomfortable situation,” said Swope, 75 of Hagerstown. “The whole experience, I think, was good.”

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