The Stars Align at Red Hot Night
Record-Breaking $2M+ Raised for Kids
The 2017 Red Hot Night gala benefiting Children’s Mercy shattered previous records, raising more than $2 million and attracting almost 1,650 guests to the Kansas City Convention Center’s Grand Ballroom Saturday, Feb. 11.
The generosity of Kansas City’s philanthropic community dazzled. From bidding wars on live auction packages like a brand new 2017 Toyota 4Runner to a surprise $100,000 match for the first hundred guests who raised their paddles for $1,000 during Fund-a-Need, there wasn’t a dull moment in the delicately lit, blue-hued room, decorated to the event’s “Starry Night” theme.
“The unprecedented community support that this year’s Red Hot Night event inspired is made by possible by the excellent care and service Children’s Mercy employees provide every single day,” said Jenea Oliver, Vice President of Philanthropy. “We are so grateful our community has made us a charity of choice … thank you! It’s because of our generous Kansas City community that we are able to provide the best care possible for every child, regardless of a family’s ability to pay.”
Personal Stories of Triumph and Transformation Inspire Giving
Some of the evening’s brightest stars were Chad, Emily, and 3-year-old Winston Wahlgren, a Ward Family Heart Center patient. The Wahlgrens delivered the event invocation and delighted the audience with Winston’s “Amen song.” Another bright star was 7-year-old Children’s Mercy patient, Coco, who shined in an emotional and uplifting video.
Remarks from each of the speakers on Saturday evening highlighted the close connection many in the community have to Children’s Mercy and the appreciation families have for the caregivers they meet during their time at the hospital. Honorary co-chair Cathy Baier recounted her son Blaise’s experience at Children’s Mercy and the impact it had on their family.
“Blaise has been seen by a multi-disciplinary team at Children’s Mercy for 12 years, and we’ve witnessed first-hand the difference his doctors and care team have made in his life,” said Cathy. “I am forever grateful to them for helping Blaise treat and manage his chronic illness, for helping us cope as a family, and for being by our side as we face his transition to adult care.”
Honorary co-chair Brett Gordon added, “Becky and I are lucky we didn’t need Children’s Mercy with our kids, but everyone has a Children’s Mercy story. We had an exceptional experience just this past year with an unexpected need to visit Children’s Mercy Hospital Kansas with our granddaughter. I see it with our McCownGordon employees and their families, with our neighbors ... everyone has a story, a connection with Children’s Mercy, even if it isn’t your child.”
It’s because of those experiences that honorary co-chairs Cathy and Rick Baier and Becky and Brett Gordon were so proud of the 13th Annual Red Hot Night and felt privileged to be part of the event.
Auxiliary Support Shines
The Hands & Hearts for Children Auxiliary organizes and hosts the Red Hot Night gala each year. In her opening remarks, Stacie Prosser, Auxiliary board member and event co-chair, recognized the collective effort that made the evening possible, and expressed her gratitude for Children’s Mercy: “It truly takes a village of compassionate individuals to make this event happen, and as a member of this community, I’m grateful our children have access to the outstanding care available at Children’s Mercy – and for the philanthropic community that makes it possible.”
According to Allison Abplanalp, Managing Director of Philanthropic Community Engagement and Events, Red Hot Night 2017 exceeded expectations thanks to the time, talent and leadership of honorary co-chairs Rick and Cathy Baier and Brett and Becky Gordon, event co-chairs John Brandmeyer and Stacie Prosser, and Hands & Hearts Auxiliary president Jackie Foy.
“This amazing evening wouldn’t be possible without the Hands & Hearts for Children Auxiliary whose hard work and dedication over many months created a beautiful evening for our guests and, most importantly, helped raise record-breaking, and much-needed, funds to help the kids at Children’s Mercy,” Allison said.
Learn more about the many ways you can help make a difference in the lives of kids at Children’s Mercy.