Supporters of the Alexian Brothers Health System have a lot to celebrate these days.
One month after opening their $126 million Alexian Brothers Women's & Children's Hospital in Hoffman Estates, more than 500 people gathered Saturday in Chicago to advance the system's next health initiatives.
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They gathered at Chicago's Palmer House Hilton for the 27th annual Ball de Fleur black tie optional event.
"The Alexian Brothers' mission is built on centuries of care and compassion," said Mark Frey, president and CEO, Alexian Brothers Health System, "and when you combine that with the historic charm of the Palmer House Chicago, you have the makings for a truly memorable evening."
Guests were reminded that both the Palmer House and the Alexian Brothers Foundation had their roots in the 1920s, and consequently a roaring 20s theme played out during the night.
Melanie Furlan, vice president of advancement for the Alexian Brothers Foundation, said the event raised $130,000 from the silent, oral and reverse auctions alone, and that they hoped to make $350,000 overall.
Since its inception, the Alexian Brothers Foundation has raised more than $6 million for a variety of health care programs affiliated with the suburban-based health system, she added.
"For the last six years, this event has become a serious fundraising event, that draws supporters from throughout our system," Furlan said. "It provides a really nice stream of philanthropic revenue for these sites that rely on those funds."
She pointed to three Alexian Brothers health and ministry sites that will benefit from the evening's proceeds.
They included the Alexian Brothers Hospice Residence, a faith-based hospice program set to open in August in Arlington Heights; as well as the Alexian Brothers Center for Mental Health, which has served the mentally ill for more than 50 years.
Funds also will benefit the Alexian Brothers Housing and Health Alliance, which serves homeless individuals with chronic illnesses at two Chicago facilities, and at Harbor House in Waukegan.
Br. Daniel McCormick, provincial of the Alexian Brothers, welcomed guest with an opening toast. He asked guests to think of Br. Valentino Bianco, the Alexian brother who has designed each of the balls, and served as facilities director for the health system.
He suffered a stroke earlier this year and had to miss his first ball, which he also named. His absence set an emotional tone for the evening, officials said, and seemed to keep guests focused on the Alexian Brothers holistic health care mission.