Methodist Hospital’s 20th annual Mardi Gras celebration once again returns for another fun evening at Sirona’s, Santa Anita Park, Tuesday, February 17. Dr. Andrew Lee will be honored as Mardi Gras king, and proceeds will support the hospital’s Rehabilitation Unit Capital Campaign.
More than 700 community leaders, residents, local businesses, physicians and employees are expected to attend the “beads and boas” event, one of the hospital’s most successful and enjoyable fundraisers. Tickets are $100 each and can be reserved by calling 626-898-8888 or emailing email@example.com.
Offering gourmet foods from dozens of the San Gabriel Valley’s most popular restaurants, this special event also features a silent auction, raffle prizes, dancing to a top live band and the traditional Mardi Gras parade led by the Arcadia High School pep band.
Longtime hospital supporters Sherry Wang, Patty Soldo and Evelyn Greathouse are this year’s chairs, each heading the event for the third time. Evelyn chaired in 2007 and 2008, and Patty and Sherry chaired the past two years. Each time the three have chaired, new fundraising records have been set, and they expect this year to be no different. They hope to draw a record number of guests and reach an all-time high for amount of money raised.
“We’ve set a very ambitious target – to exceed the nearly $150,000 that was raised in 2014. We also hope to see an increase in attendance and more than three dozen restaurants participate,” Sherry said. “If we can do all that, then the event will be a huge success. It will be a great night out – and for a good cause.”
In 2014, Mardi Gras raised a record $146,000 to support the hospital’s cancer program. This year, funds raised will help support the creation of a new rehabilitation unit in Berger Tower that will include state-of-the-art physical and occupational therapy facilities, a new patient dining room and advanced patient rooms. When completed in 2016, the unit will be one of the finest in Los Angeles County.
The rehab unit holds special significance for Dr. Lee. Rehabilitation medicine at Methodist Hospital helped his parents and his grandmother to recuperate from various medical conditions. He believes the unit’s enhancement to be the next logical step following creation of the Hollfelder Emergency Care Center in the North Tower and the recent partnership between Methodist Hospital and the Casa Colina Centers for Rehabilitation, one of the finest rehabilitation programs in the country.
“Our goal is always to restore the highest level of function,” Dr. Lee said. An enhanced rehabilitation department will go a long way toward helping us achieve that with as many patients as possible. The big winners will be those in the community who come to us seeking the best recovery possible from serious injuries and illnesses.”
“Dr. Lee was an automatic choice,” Sherry said. “He and Mrs. Lee go above and beyond the call to serve, and they never ask for anything in return.”
Informed at his office that he had been chosen king, Dr. Lee was both deeply touched and thrilled.
“Mardi Gras is one of the hospital’s two high-level fundraisers, enjoyed by everyone who attends,” Dr. Lee said. “I believe that, as a lifelong resident of Arcadia, I can reach out into the community to help bring more people to the event and more supporters to Methodist Hospital.”
Born in Hong Kong, Dr. Lee immigrated to the U.S. with his family in 1964. The Arcadia High School and USC graduate has been with the Methodist Hospital medical staff since 1988.
“Dr. Lee not only is a great doctor, he is a good person,” Sherry said. “He contributes but never seeks the limelight. Furthermore, he genuinely cares about our hospital, our nurses and our many hospital programs. Honoring him makes a strong statement about the kind of hospital we are.”
In recent years the celebration has expanded to attract more clinical personnel from within the hospital and a younger crowd from the community, something Patty sees as important to the event’s continued growth.
“We’re having more doctors and nurses become involved with Mardi Gras, and we’re attracting more younger people as well,” Patty said. “The best way we can keep Methodist Hospital strong is for everyone who participates to support the cause.”
This year the chairs hope to communicate a stronger message about Methodist Hospital’s greatness, proclaiming just how good the hospital truly is.
“Mardi Gras guests usually come to enjoy the festive atmosphere, and we need to convey that while that is important, supporting the hospital financially is the Number 1 goal,” Evelyn said.
If that goal is achieved, the success of the event will be due largely to the efforts of the chairs and their industrious Mardi Gras Committee.
“Our committee members are amazing,” Sherry said. “All of our members make commitments before, during and after the event. Whether it’s marketing, selling tickets, gathering auction items, enlisting restaurants, hanging decorations, tending bar, managing logistics or helping with post-party clean-up, it’s a team effort and lots of good fun.”
Patty and Evelyn agreed. “We have a wonderful committee. We’ve become very good friends with the local restaurant owners, and some of them are calling us to see if they can return. It’s those kinds of relationships that make this event such a great success.”
Good food, good fun and good friends should add up to great success for Mardi Gras. As they say in New Orleans, Laissez les bon temps rouler!