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Friday, Dec. 5, 2014, was an evening of record for the Winter Ball, the gala fundraising event that supports the academic medical center consisting of UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Medical Center. The sixth annual event, co-chaired by Paula and Eric Dunphy, Elizabeth and David Klein, and Kimberly Malloy-Salmon and Matthew Salmon, raised more than $750,000 overall through sponsorships, live and silent auctions, and ticket sales.
The featured Fund-a-Need recipient for this year’s event was the Craniofacial Anomalies Clinic at UMass Memorial Medical Center, which treats children and adults with skull and facial deformities, such as cleft lip and palate. Nearly $200,000—the highest amount for a Fund-a-Need recipient in the history of the event—was raised to help families with expenses not covered by insurance during their children’s treatment for cleft palate and other birth defects of the head and face.
Brooke Putelis’ son was born with a cleft palate and was treated at the Craniofacial Clinic. His now picture-perfect smile—which Putelis calls “a miracle”—is the result of the skilled care he received from the Clinic’s comprehensive team.
“When I start to cry is when I see the power of the child’s personality scorch through the defect and take over,” said Janice Lalikos, MD, professor of surgery and director of the Craniofacial Clinic.
Through the efforts of Dr. Lalikos and other members of an interdisciplinary team, this year the clinic was awarded a six-year accreditation as a Cleft Palate Team by the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association and Cleft Palate Foundation. The team addresses all aspects of a patient’s care beyond surgery, including orthodontics, speech therapy and psychosocial support.
“My plastic surgeon [Dr. Lalikos] is my hero,” said 19-year-old Emily Keefner, who was named a Plastic Surgery Patient of Courage by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons in 2013. Keefner has undergone 34 procedures at the UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center and has been under Lalikos’ care as Craniofacial Clinic director and reconstructive plastic surgeon since 2002.
“The goal is to allow these children to live a fundamentally completely normal life by simply restoring their facial appearance,” said Raymond Dunn, MD, professor of surgery and chief of the division of plastic surgery.
Nearly 40 local organizations and individuals signed on as sponsors of the event, including Duddie Massad, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Crothall Healthcare and Vital Emergency Medical Services in collaboration with MedStar Ambulance.
“Incredible support for the Winter Ball each year comes through the sponsorships. In fact, more than half the monies raised by this event come from those sponsorships,” said Eric Dunphy and Matt Salmon, sponsorship co-chairs for the 2014 Winter Ball Steering Committee. “This year, our sponsors collectively donated nearly $390,000, which is an all-time high for this event. We couldn’t be more grateful for their support.”
More than 360 people—the highest turnout to date—attended the event, which was held at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, with many guests participating in both live and silent auctions.
“Attendees demonstrated wonderful enthusiasm for and participation in this year’s auctions, which featured many new and exciting items as well as some perennial favorites, thanks to a dedicated planning committee,” said Elizabeth Wetherbee Klein, auction chair for the 2014 Winter Ball Steering Committee.
Planning for the 2015 Winter Ball, which will be held on Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, at Mechanics Hall, is already underway. For information about sponsoring the seventh annual event, please contact Tom McCullough at 508-856-5520.
2014 WINTER BALL STEERING COMMITTEE
Kristen and Jeremy Ahearn
Larry Army Jr.
Judy and Steve DiOrio
Paula and Eric Dunphy (Sponsorship Co-chairs)
Elizabeth and David S. Klein (Auction Chairs)
Heather and Justin A. Maykel, MD
R. Norman Peters, Esq.
Nadine A. and Gary A. Premo
Kimberly Malloy-Salmon and Matthew Salmon (Sponsorship Co-chairs)
Karyn and Mark W. Wagner
Maryellen and Michael F. Collins, MD
Mary C. DeFeudis
Catherine E. Jones, MD, and Eric W. Dickson, MD
Past Committee Chairs
Jodi and David M. Brunelle
Thomas D. Manning
Peter G. Paige, MD
R. Norman Peters, Esq.
Dorothy and Michael P. Tsotsis