Community Members Raise More Than $425,000 for MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Long Beach Medical Center

Organization: Service: Story Topics:
Heart Disease, Fundraising

On Saturday, Feb. 25, Long Beach community members gathered to dance the night away at the 9th Annual “Dancing for Our Stars” gala, hosted by the Memorial Medical Center Foundation, at the Hyatt Regency. It was a tough competition, but Master of Ceremony Bruce MacRae announced Denise Naughton, partner of Long Beach Medical Center physician, Arnold Rappoport, M.D., and her dance partner as this year’s champions. 

More than $425,000, was raised, after expenses, at this year’s event to support the MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute (MHVI) at Long Beach Medical Center. At the hub of MHVI is a suite of Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories (cath lab), which are exam rooms with diagnostic equipment to visualize the arteries and chambers of the heart and treat any abnormalities.

The money raised at Dancing for Our Stars will assist in renovating two of the existing cath labs to create a dual purpose cath lab with bi-plane technology to treat children and adults, as well as a Hybrid Adult Cath Lab that can do other non-invasive specialized procedures. While the main focus of the cath labs will be providing the best clinical care to patients, the new cameras and infrastructure will allow for continuous ground-breaking research for which MHVI has been known.

Dr. Alyson Emery Zahn and John Zahn performed a flawless freestyle dance to hits from Grease, which helped them earn the “Standing Ovation” Award. Katherine Keesal and her partner danced to Uptown Funk – earning them the “Crowd Favorite” Award. The first mother-daughter duo in Dancing for Our Stars history, Gayle Pillsbury and Stella Piburn received the award for “Best Technique.”Dr. Glenn Levine, pediatric intensivist, Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach, and his wife, Dr. Stacy Epstein Levine, physician liaison, Transition of Care Program, Miller Children’s, performed the jive and took home the award for “Most Enthusiastic.”

“What made the evening so special was that we kept the mission of helping patients in the forefront, so guests really felt connected to our cause,” says Cecilia Belew, president, Memorial Medical Center Foundation. “Plus, the gala itself was a beautiful, glamorous event, with amazing dancers. We all had a wonderful time and wanted the night to keep going. We are so grateful for the outpouring of generosity and support.” 

The dancers performed in front of a crowd of Miller Children’s and Long Beach Medical Center community members, patients, physicians and employees. After the champion was announced, everyone in attendance was invited on the dance floor to dance the rest of the night away.