By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
It’s time once again for the annual Athens-Limestone Hospital Foundation Gala, which will be held on the evening of Saturday, April 28. By popular demand, Denim n’ Diamonds is back, which is a concept that makes it possible for you to come in a tux, a formal, or your best denim and boots. You cannot over or under dress for this event! There is something new this year, and that is that the entire venue has been changed to include a professionally produced murder mystery dinner. Also new this year is the location—the Jackson Center in Huntsville will be the site where you will be able to bid on auction items, feast on a gourmet double entrée, have your picture taken by professional photographers, and try to figure out, “Who dun it?” All the fun is for a worthy cause, and this is the Foundation’s biggest fundraiser each year. Over the years, they have raised thousands of dollars in order to purchase important pieces of medical equipment, upgrade rooms, and provide new services at the hospital.

The focus of this year’s Gala is to raise funds for sleeper healthcare recliners for each room. Being able to have family members comfortably stay in the hospital rooms right near their loved ones helps in the healing process, as well as makes a positive impact on Patient Satisfaction indexes, which has never been more important. The work of the Athens-Limestone Hospital Foundation has been instrumental in helping our local hospital grow in size as well as caliber. In the last 67 years, the hospital has become a 71-bed acute care facility, and will be soon opening a new outpatient Surgery Center. While keeping pace with technological advancements in healthcare, they are maintaining the hometown atmosphere that makes them the award-winning hospital that they are today.

I spoke with Jessica Jones (who is once again chairing the Gala), Amanda Hamlin, and Leah Beth McNutt of the Foundation about everything from the menu to the auction items to the perfect shoes for the soirée, and enjoyed listening to how much they are looking forward to this year’s event. All three of them were particularly enthusiastic about the murder mystery dinner, and are confident it is going to be a big hit. Jessica said, “We are excited about the change of concept that we’re taking the Gala in with the murder mystery.” Leah Beth mentioned that it will also be possible to play a table-side version of “Clue” that is related to the performance, but it won’t be interactive. You don’t have to play the part of “Colonel Mustard in the library with a candlestick” in front of the rest of the attendees!

Another new feature of this year’s Gala will be having four artists from High Cotton Arts posted around the room creating live art while the evening’s festivities are occurring, and each piece of art will be available for purchase. In addition, High Cotton will be producing a custom piece for the auction which will be framed by Camilla Gaston of Timeless Frames.

There are always high-end auction items which have been generously donated, and for these women, this year the raffle for a genuine Louis Vuitton handbag looks to be the most intriguing. Hamlin Homes has partnered with Dream Key Realty to make it possible to own an haute couture bag for a relative song—for $25 a raffle ticket, or five tickets for $100. Whether you are a diamonds gal, or you’re choosin’ to just be rockin’ the denim, you are going to want to buy enough tickets to give yourself a fighting chance at baggin’ this bag.

Once again there will be a Big Green Egg outdoor Kamado grilling/smoker system, a Yeti cooler, lots of fine jewelry, destination vacations here in the states as well as abroad, and goods as well as services of all kinds. “We still have room for more items as well as more sponsors,” said Leah Beth, but stressed that with only a few weeks until the Gala, if you are interested in donating, sponsoring, or purchasing tickets you need to call her soon at 256-233-9557.

Jessica, Amanda, and Leah Beth wanted to thank the corporations, businesses and private donors who have come together to make this Gala possible. They include Alabama Farm Credit Union, Federal Mogul, First National Bank, Steelcase, Pathology Associates, Robins and Morton, Morell Engineering, and the Lioce Group. They hope you will save the date and join them for a most memorable evening!
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

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