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Giving Back Blog

  • Writer's pictureAscension Illinois Foundation

Gala Helps People with Heart and Valve Diseases


Ascension Illinois Foundation gala committee co-chair Dr. Jeffrey Silver (center) pictured with other committee members (from left) Steve Blye, Pam Seiser, Dr. Dane Hassani, Susie Cassidy, Paula Heneghan, co-chair Dina Morris, Mary Ann Miller and co-chair Jim Wienold at the 2022 Ascension Illinois Foundation gala at the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois, on April 9, 2022.


Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. As more people rely on their local Ascension Illinois hospital for best-in-class cardiovascular care, philanthropy is playing an increasingly important role in ensuring they can access the highest-quality care available today right in their own communities.


This year’s Ascension Illinois Foundation gala — A Knight to Remember — will benefit people with heart and valve diseases so that they can stay close to home while receiving the advanced care they need.


“To my fellow physicians, friends and colleagues, I ask you to please join me in support of our mission, patients and communities,” said Jeffrey Silver, MD, Cardiothoracic Surgeon and Ascension Illinois Foundation Gala Committee Co-Chair.


A Knight to Remember at the Field Museum

More than 600 guests are expected to attend the April 29 event at the Field Museum, which already has garnered support from numerous sponsors and physicians, including Presenting Sponsor Superior Ambulance Service, Diamond Sponsors BEAR Construction and Ascension Medical Group Illinois – Heart and Vascular Physicians in Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates & Elgin, and Platinum Sponsors Versant Diagnostics and Vituity.


“I am excited to celebrate in support of our mission as these times together take on a special meaning since the pandemic,” said Ascension Illinois Ministry Market Executive Polly Davenport, D.Sc., RN, FACHE. “I want to extend my gratitude to each of our gala sponsors and supporters for all that they contribute to helping our physicians, nurses and caregivers deliver the best of care to our patients day in and day out.”


The gala theme, A Knight to Remember, is inspired by the one-of-a-kind “First Kings of Europe” exhibition that opens at the Field Museum on March 31 and features a collection of artifacts and treasures from some of Europe’s first kingdoms. True to the theme, guests are encouraged to dress in royal attire for the event, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will include a three-course gourmet dinner; silent, live and reverse auctions; and dancing to live music by the Bluewater Kings.


Dr. Silver, who co-chairs the gala committee with Dina Morris and Jim Wienold, will welcome guests, and Polly Davenport will deliver opening remarks. Ascension Illinois Foundation Board Co-Chairs Mike Benoit and Ken Bauwens will deliver an invocation and toast. Jack Chamberlin, MD, FACC, Chair, Ascension Illinois Heart & Vascular Care, System Joint Operating Committee, will introduce a short video sharing an incredible story of a patient whose life was saved by the Ascension Alexian Brothers cardiovascular team, and the evening’s emcee, Keith Jones, president of Sayre & Jones Auctioneers, will lead guests through live and reverse auctions.



Advanced cardiovascular care in the community

As cardiovascular medicine has evolved over time, the Ascension Illinois program has stayed at the forefront of the field, maintaining the most advanced technology, equipment and clinical expertise.


“What sets us apart is really that our patients don’t have to go outside of their community for the care they need,” said Dr. Chamberlin. “We’re providing tertiary-level care in a community setting.”

In addition to offering advanced, noninvasive imaging, interventional cardiology, a structural heart program, electrophysiology and vascular surgery specialties, Ascension Alexian Brothers is one of the only hospitals in the greater Chicago area that also has an advanced heart failure program. This program offers patients access to life-extending left ventricular assist devices, battery-operated pumps that do the heart’s work of pumping blood throughout the body.


“There are only a handful of hospitals in Illinois with teams who can implant LVADs,” said Ashish Haryani, MD, a Cardiologist specializing in heart failure at Ascension Alexian Brothers. “There’s nothing like seeing our patients do well after what they’ve been through. It’s incredibly rewarding.”

Support patients, and celebrate excellence

While supporting these patients and their care teams, gala guests will have the opportunity to win a five-night trip for four to St. Maarten; bid on trips to Tulum in Mexico, Banff in Canada, and a luxury country cottage in Cotswolds, England; and bid on a variety of exciting silent auction items including autographed memorabilia, sports tickets, and experiences throughout Chicagoland and nearby midwestern destinations.


The gala is Ascension Illinois Foundation’s largest annual fundraising event and is expected to raise over $1 million. All funds raised through event sponsorships, guest ticket sales and direct donations will support people receiving care from cardiovascular teams in communities served by Ascension Illinois.





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