Guests transported to Provence during an elegant evening emceed by celebrity chef Dean Sheremet.

Glamor, elegance, and a spirit of gratitude and giving descended upon The St. Regis Monarch Beach in Dana Point, where physicians, donors and guests attended Saddleback Medical Center Foundation’s Spring Gala ~ An Evening of Gratitude on May 7.

Nearly 450 guests gathered in the ballroom, which was transformed into a backdrop of French Provence for the black-tie event, raising more than $250,000 (net) for I’MAGINE, a three-year space redesign project for Saddleback Medical Center.

During the program, Steve Geidt, Saddleback Memorial CEO, described how this new project will benefit patients with more private rooms and more efficient use of space in the surgical and recovery units.

“We asked ourselves what can make Saddleback Memorial even better,” Geidt said. “One of the answers was to give patients more dignity and privacy by letting them heal and recover in a private room.”

Specifically, on the first floor, the pre-op area will be moved within the perioperative unit with new pre-op bays. On the second-floor surgical nursing unit, three disconnected units will be reconfigured into one large unit consisting of 86% private rooms. The rehabilitation gym for orthopedic patients will be redesigned for more efficient use of space and more equipment will be added.

Other guest speakers during the event included Samuel and Tammy Tang, chairs of the I’MAGINE campaign. Tammy Tang, who volunteers as a compassionate listener for Saddleback Medical Center, highlighted how patients share their needs with her.

Samuel Tang also talked about hospitals facing competition in an era of consumer choice, making these renovations even more important. He announced the campaign goal as $7 million over the next three years; the Foundation has already raised $2 million toward that goal from generous donors.

Serving as master of ceremonies and auctioneer, Dean Sheremet sold off packages that included an African safari, a year of homemade pies by CEO Steve Geidt, and tickets to New York City Fashion Week. This portion of the evening raised nearly $50,000.

After the live auction, guests watched a video spotlighting grateful patient Monika Dowd and her husband Brian. Last year, Monika had an unexpected C-section to deliver their baby Natalie, and then needed emergency surgery to save her life. The film showcased the “human side” of Saddleback Medical Center's team, who galvanized each other during critical moments to save Monika. Mary O’ Toole, MD, even donated blood for Monika before performing the surgery. The Dowds, who live in Irvine, were also gala guests and gave the Saddleback Memorial staff a standing ovation after the video presentation.

The video preceded the Fund-a–Need segment, raising $56,300, while the Opportunity Drawing raised $8,700. Funds for both will also benefit the I’MAGINE project. The Opportunity Drawing winner was Marissa Armstrong of Corona del Mar, who will enjoy a night’s stay at The St. Regis Monarch Beach, along with two spa treatments.

“It was a magical evening,” said Cecilia Belew, president of Saddleback Memorial Foundation. “Not only did all the guests look amazing and have a wonderful time, I think they understood the importance of the I’MAGINE project, and how it will help us care for our patients and get them back to living life.”

Spring Gala 2016 Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze Sponsors:

  • Platinum Sponsors: Saddleback Memorial Medical Center, Saddleback Memorial Medical Center Medical Staff
  • Gold Sponsors: California Anesthesia Associates; Gary Damsker; Greater Newport Physicians/MemorialCare Medical Group; Ernest Hayward Jr., MD; Monarch HealthCare; Bill Phillips and Mary O’Toole, MD; South Orange County Surgical Medical Group; Surgical Care Affiliates; Samuel and Tammy Tang
  • Silver Sponsors: Affiliated Pathologists Medical Group; CEP America; Dawn and Gary Levine, MD; Memorial Radiation Oncology Medical Group; Orange County Neurosurgical Associates; Pediatrix and Obstetrix Medical Groups, Inc.; Arnold C. Schwartz
  • Bronze Sponsors: Farmers and Merchants Trust Company; Nancy Field; Jane L. Frederick, MD; The Geidt Family; Cathy Han, MD; Karma Automotive; Kindred Healthcare; Joel and Joan Lautenschleger; The Louie Family; Dennis and Gillian Martin; O’Connor Mortuary; Orange Coast Women’s Medical Group; M. Leila Rasouli, MD; Saddleback Medical Group; Sea View Pediatrics; Bebe Shaddock; South Coast Radiology; South County Orthopedic Specialists; Lawrence Tran, MD