Benefit: “A Celebration of Hope” Raises $230K for Saddleback Memorial

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Gala Chair Bebe Shaddock, Saddleback Memorial Medical Center CEO Steve Geidt, and Saddleback Memorial Foundation President Cecilia Belew
Gala Chair Bebe Shaddock, Saddleback Memorial Medical Center CEO Steve Geidt, and Saddleback Memorial Foundation President Cecilia Belew

Nearly 500 community leaders, physicians, donors, and guests came together for Saddleback Memorial Foundation’s Spring Gala, “A Celebration of Hope,” at the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel last month.

The gala raised $230,000 to support the MemorialCare Cancer Institute at Saddleback Memorial and honor those affected by cancer.

“Cancer has no boundaries – it’s important that we honor all the mothers, husbands, neighbors and even physicians who have been touched by this chronic disease,” said Saddleback Memorial Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Steve Geidt. “We also recognize the friends and family members who were there for their loved ones along their journey. We are grateful for the support we receive from the community, which allows Saddleback Memorial to provide patients and families with a cancer center right in their backyard, delivering advanced treatment and expertise in a convenient, healing environment.”

The MemorialCare Cancer Institute at Saddleback Memorial, opening June 28 adjacent to the hospital, will provide the community with access to technologically advanced equipment and expanded treatment options.

Among the amenities is a Garden of Hope designed and landscaped by Roger’s Gardens of Newport Beach, who also designed and donated the

Newport Coast residents Margaret Leila Rasouli, MD, Saddleback Memorial Foundation board member and gala committee member, and husband William Stinnett
Newport Coast residents Margaret Leila Rasouli, MD, Saddleback Memorial Foundation board member and gala committee member, and husband William Stinnett

gala dinner centerpieces.

During the evening, a live auction featuring items such as “Surgeon for a Day,” a diamond pendant necklace, and homemade pies by CEO Steve Geidt, garnered approximately $40,000 for the Cancer Institute.

During the “Gifts from the Heart” portion of the evening, Saddleback Memorial Medical Center chaplain Anette Rihovsky shared her personal experiences in dealing with her aunt’s and husband’s cancer. She also spoke about her encounters with hospital patients and the importance of a natural healing environment and the positive impact the Garden of Hope can make on patients.

A centerpiece from the gala donated by Roger’s Gardens of Newport Beach
A centerpiece from the gala donated by Roger’s Gardens of Newport Beach

When asked to contribute to the Garden of Hope, guests graciously donated approximately $60,000 towards the new garden that will provide a respite from the stress of cancer for patients and their families.

“We are truly thankful to be surrounded by such a philanthropic community,” said Cecilia Belew, president of Saddleback Memorial Foundation. “This event was not just about raising funds but also centered on acknowledging all the supporters who continue to give and touch the lives of many. We could not be happier to celebrate the new cancer center and honor all those that have made this possible.”

For more information, visit MemorialCare.org.

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