2012 Beaux Arts Ball on March 10 Raises $2 Million for National Jewish Health

More than 1,100 people joined National Jewish Health to “Salute the Stars and Stripes” at the 2012 Beaux Arts Ball on Saturday, March 10. The event raised $2 million for the institution and the research and treatment of lung disease and injuries that veterans may face as they return from overseas deployments.

The Beaux Arts Ball, one of the most anticipated annual social galas in Denver, brought the celebratory feel of the 1940s, post-World War II era back to life amid the backdrop of the antique airplanes at Hangar #1 at Wings Over The Rockies Air and Space Museum in Denver’s Lowry neighborhood.

The Morgridge Family Foundation returned as the 2012 Beaux Arts Ball Presenting Sponsor. The 2012 Grand Marshals were Colleen and Javier Baz, Sharon and Lanny Martin, and Sheila and Hassan Salem.

Michael Salem, MD, National Jewish Health President and CEO, with Beaux Arts Ball Grand Marshals Colleen and Javier Baz, Sheila and Hassan Salem, and Sharon and Lanny Martin. Photo by Jason Grubb.Platinum Sponsors were Joyce Zeff and U.S. Bank – Colorado, where Mr. Salem is president.

Gold Sponsors were Mr. and Mrs. Baz, Mr. and Mrs. Martin, and Platte River Ventures, which Mr. Martin founded and where he currently serves as managing director. Other Gold Sponsors include Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP, Rebecca and Lewis Kling, MDC/Richmond American Homes Foundation and The Piton Foundation.

Attendees included Governor John Hickenlooper, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Colorado Adjutant General Michael Edwards. United States Sen. Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, a decorated World War II veteran and recipient of the institution’s highest honor, the Arthur B. Lorber Award, was unable to attend due to illness.

The Joint Service Color Guard from North American Aerospace Command and U.S. Northern Command presented the colors to kick off the dinner festivities, which included live music from Frank Sinatra and Andrews Sisters impersonators, acrobats dangling from hoops down the center of the museum’s airplane hangar, and dance performances.

Guests contributed more than $53,000 for four live auction items, including two get-aways at Four Seasons Hotel Denver and Four Seasons Resort Vail; a dinner for 10 with Robert Parker Jr., world-renowned wine critic and founder of The Wine Advocate; a destination club vacation from Inspirato at one of its luxury resorts worldwide; and a private dinner in Los Angeles with acclaimed actor Donald Sutherland and his wife, actress Francine Racette.

Each year, National Jewish Health sets aside a portion of the evening to raise money for a specific program at the institution. This year, guests contributed more than $500,000 for the Post-Deployment Lung Health Center, a new program at National Jewish Health created to pinpoint the causes of lung injury and post-deployment diseases in returning U.S. military veterans and find optimum treatments.

Several surveys have suggested that warfighters returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer asthma, bronchiolitis and other severe respiratory diseases at about twice the rate of veterans stationed elsewhere.  The causes of their lung diseases remain mysterious, but may be related to exposure to noxious chemicals and particulate substances in the environment.

Dr. Richard Meehan, a Battalion Surgeon in the Navy and National Jewish Health Chief of Rheumatology and Professor of Medicine, introduced Retired Army Maj. Scott Weakley and his family. Maj. Weakley, who served multiple deployments in the Middle East, has been diagnosed with constrictive bronchiolitis and has been told a lung transplant will allow him to survive.

“I do believe that there is hope,” Weakley said in a video broadcast at the event. “That’s what keeps me going – this sense of what is going to happen in the future, not only for me, but most importantly for those who are coming back who don’t have the opportunities to have great healthcare at institutions like National Jewish Health and the VA.”

The 2013 Beaux Arts Ball will be held on March 9 at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center. For more information, contact Laura Gillespie Lhevine.

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