The Crowd: Christmastime ball helps Hoag hospital

The most vital resource in any community has got to be the standard of health-care services available to its citizens. In Newport-Mesa, and throughout Orange County, Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian arguably is the region's most important health-care resource. The health of this community is linked inexorably to Hoag's doctors, nurses, staff and administration.

For this reason, and because there exists a long-standing and close personal relationship between the Hoag family of physicians and staff and generations of families in Newport-Mesa, the 44th annual Christmas Carol Ball on behalf of the hospital was a resounding success.

More than 600 guests in black tie and holiday gowns a glitter came together Saturday night for dinner, dancing, and Christmas hugs and kisses at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Hotel & Resort in Dana Point, raising upwards of $900,000 (pending the final tally of donations). Funds raised by organizers representing the Hoag Hospital Foundation and the Hoag 552 Club will benefit and support the work of Hoag physicians and nurses at all of the Hoag facilities, including Newport Beach, Irvine and seven additional health centers countywide.

The warm and sentimental evening began with an invocation by Newport Beach hostess Nora Jorgenson Johnson. Setting the tone of selfless volunteerism, Johnson thanked the Hoag doctors and nurses, in particular Dr. Richard Applegate for delivering her precious grandchildren and for all the volunteers who give so freely in aiding their fellow human beings.

"It's the most wonderful thing a person can do," she said.

Co-chaired by Vahé and Dr. Lisa Karamardian and Tyler and Pamela Terry, the event recognized the generosity of honorary chairs Sandi and Ron Simon of Newport Beach, Dr. Fairborz Maseeh (representing the Massiah Foundation) and Edward Fedishon. Hoag President and Chief Executive Dr. Richard Afable and his wife Sally were front and center to greet the VIP crowd, as well as Stephen Jones, chairman of the Hoag board of directors, and high-ranking Hoag supporters including Flynn Andrizzi, Karen Linden and Ilona Martin, president of The 552 Club, which has produced the holiday ball and fundraiser since 1966.

Spotted in the crowd were Ben and Carmela Du, always best-dressed Ronnie and Byron Allumbaugh, the elegant Viki and Jim Coufos of Pelican Point, Lydia and Ken Himes, Mara and Keith Muray, Nancy and Larry Silverberg, and Valaree and Robert Wahler of Shorecliffs, Corona del Mar. Also supporting Hoag were Patty and Rick Wood, Roxane and Robert Tancredi, Trish and John O'Donnell, Sandra and Ron Livingston, Lisa and James Hale, Deborah and Larry Bridges and respected local orthopedic doctor Alan Beyer and his wife Lesley.

The dedicated volunteers and committee members serving the Hoag Hospital Foundation 552 Club since 1966 have raised in excess of $7 million at the annual Christmas Carol Ball. That's a significant holiday gift of health for every citizen touched by Hoag countywide.

THE CROWD runs Thursdays and Saturdays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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