28th Annual Crystal Heart Ball Honored Two Well-Known Community Awareness Organizers and Raised Nearly $400k for a Great Cause

Little Company of Mary Hospital’s (LCMH) Foundation hosted its 28TH annual Crystal Heart Ball on Saturday, February 3, 2018, at the Field Museum. The Masters of Ceremonies were Little Company of Mary’s very own baby alum, Patrick Elwood with WGN News, along with Nancy Loo, also with WGN News. Nearly 700 guests danced the night away to the musical stylings by Maggie Speaks – Talk of the Town Big Band while experiencing international cultures and observing artifacts from all over the world. This premiere gala, the largest on Chicago’s Southwest side, raised nearly $400,000. Final proceeds will benefit LCMH Interventional Radiology Services.

The 2018 Venerable Mary Potter Humanitarian Award will be presented to Mary Jo George – Circle of Friends at St. Ignatius College Prep and Holly Simon – I am Who I am.

Mary Jo George has worked for more than 25 years for a group called Circle of Friends that aims to help young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to lead meaningful and happy lives with dignity and respect. One of the group’s main goals is to bring a level of involvement with St. Ignatius College Prep students to help tutor and mentor Ray Graham students, offering opportunity for both social inclusion and lasting friendships. Circle of Friends helps these children and young adults to lead meaningful and happy lives with dignity and respect.

Founded by Beverly resident Holly Simon in January 2012,  I am Who I am is a not-for-profit charity that truly celebrates acceptance through an awareness of abilities and embraces the differences of children with disabilities. This organization sees differences as gifts and inspirations in life. I am WHO I am provides resources, education, advocacy and growth opportunities, as well as a place for people to come together and talk with like-minded, inspiring individuals. At the birth of Holly Simon’s fifth child, Nathaniel (Nate), in 2003, the doctors and nurses became quiet and came to her and her husband with apologies that Nate apparently had Downs Syndrome. Holly could not accept or fathom their sadness. That sadness drove Holly to start I am Who I am. One component of Holly’s vision is to have resources available to hospitals such as blankets for families at the birth of their “special” baby. Additionally, Holly strives to educate hospital staff on what to say and what not to say in the delivery room following these special births. Holly coordinates an annual event, HollyDays, each November since 2006 as her major fundraiser to support the foundation and the purchase of blankets.

The Sister Nancy Boyle Award for Excellence honors an individual or group for their outstanding service as reflected in the core service values of strength, grace, innovative spirit, compassion and respect for all, which Sister Nancy Boyle, L.C.M., modeled so well. The 2018 Sister Nancy Boyle Award for Excellence will be presented to Little Company of Mary Hospital Behavioral Health Services.

Sometimes the most serious medical conditions are suffered in silence. Incorporating a wide range of treatment options, a caring talented staff and leading technology, the Behavioral Health Services division of Little Company of Mary Hospital prides itself on being the premiere behavioral health facility in Chicago’s southwest community. Little Company of Mary offers an understanding environment for individuals seeking treatment for psychiatric, alcohol and/or substance abuse issues. Appointments are available almost immediately, 24 hours a day seven days a week, to help address any crisis in life. With a dedicated intake team, individuals are seen directly by behavioral health experts to deliver the highest level of symptom identification and treatment planning with a holistic approach and a full continuum of services.

Mary Ann and Joe Pedota were the chairpersons of this premier fundraising event along with co-chairs Uzma and Hamid Nazeer, D.O. To complement the Mardi Gras theme of the night, guests at the ball enjoyed signature hurricane cocktails followed by a gourmet meal prepared by Food For Thought. The hospital Foundation raffled a Grand Prize Luxury Vacation to the Rio de Janeiro Carnival 2019 for Two, or $15,000. The Grand Prize raffle winner was Gina Abbinanti.

For more information on Little Company of Mary’s Foundation, or to learn how you can donate to Little Company of Mary Hospital’s Interventional Radiology Services, please visit www.LCMH.org/foundation.

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