It was an evening to "Dream a Little Dream" at the 13th annual Hearts and Diamonds Spectacular, Feb. 6 at Somerby Golf Club. Guests enjoyed an elegant evening of dinner, dancing, and diamonds, and raised more than $100,000, an event record, to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester. About 260 people attended.
"This is one of our biggest fundraisers," said board member Kelly Turner, who attended with husband Norm. "Last year, 863 families stayed at the house and there was almost always a waiting list."
"Tonight is a great opportunity to give visibility to the house," said board president Bob Benner, who also served as the evening's host. "It's a chance to bring people into the mission and support the very big need to allow the house to serve people in need."
Master of Ceremonies Jeff Cabalkais a longtime volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House. He serves as housewarmer one morning a week.
"I enjoy meeting up with the families and kids," he said. "I was a teacher for a number of years, and so enjoy the conversation with the kids. It's a treat and a joy."
Co-chairs of the event were Sue Bouquetand Tammy Pfeffer.
"I enjoy being able to bring everyone together in support of the cause," Pfeffer said. "My favorite part of the night is when we fill the house with love."
During the evening, guests are asked to contribute to a fund designated for night stays at the house.
"Last year, 550 nights were donated," Pfeffer added.
Planning committee member Becky Harrissaid she enjoys both her volunteer work at the house and helping with the annual event. Her daughter, Katy Bosand son-in-law Martijn Bosalso helped at the event.
"It makes my day to do things for the Ronald McDonald House," Harris said. "The kids are amazing. They are brave. They are the heroes here tonight."
"We enjoy the unique stories of the children coming to the house," said Eric Edell, who attended with wife Rosemary. "It's always rewarding to hear the success stories of what Mayo can do."
"The best and most moving part of the evening is when the children come," said Megha Tollefson, a pediatrician at Mayo Clinic. "Many of my patients have commented on how the house has helped. It's a wonderful, amazing place for these families to stay."
Attendees Pauland Rebecca Lindellsaid they have come to Hearts and Diamonds for several years.
"We work at the clinic," Paul said. "We have seen the impact the house has, so we are strong supporters."
The guest family for this year's event was Julie Baylesand her 15-year-old son, Seth.
Julie spoke about her son's rare disease and their stays at the Ronald McDonald House.
"What a huge blessing it has been to stay at the house," she said. "The staff has become family. It's definitely our home away from home."
Located at 850 Second St. SW, the Ronald McDonald House "provides a home away from home and offers support to families seeking medical care for their children."
For more information, visit www.rmhmn.org.