Photo above: The Beaufort Memorial Hospital’s Valentine Ball honorary chairs for the Feb. 9 Cocktail Affair are Rosemary and Kevin Cuppia (left). Saturday night’s Valentine Ball co-chairs are Laura and Robert Achurch (center) and Sarah and Dr. Perry Burrus (right). Proceeds from the weekend will be used toward renovation of the hospital’s Surgical Pavilion. Photo provided.
Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation’s five-star fundraiser, the highly anticipated Valentine Ball, promises to live up to its laurels in 2018 with another party-packed weekend planned for Friday, Feb. 9, and Saturday, Feb. 10.
The festivities will begin Friday with the return of the Cocktail Affair, a social from 6-8:30 p.m. at Tabby Place in downtown Beaufort. The main event follows Saturday night with pre-ball dinner parties at private residences and a black-tie gala at Tabby Place.
Proceeds from the 29th annual Valentine Ball are earmarked for the renovation of Beaufort Memorial’s Surgical Pavilion. To date, the foundation’s signature event has raised more than $4.7 million for a wide range of hospital needs, including the Keyserling Cancer Center, Cochrane Heart Center, LifeFit Wellness Center, HealthLink for Children and Pratt Emergency Center.
Co-chairing the event this year are Laura and Robert Achurch III and Dr. Perry Burrus and his wife Sarah. Kevin and Rosemary Cuppia are serving as honorary chairs of the Cocktail Affair. All three couples have a long history with the hospital and have been steadfast supporters of the foundation.
“Having worked in the medical field, I understand how unique it is to have a hospital of this caliber in our community,” said Sarah Burrus, who worked at BMH for five years while completing her graduate studies in social work. “I would put us up against any of the country’s best community hospitals.”
Burrus’ roots to Beaufort Memorial run deep. Her grandfather, Harold Trask, was one of the founding members of the board of directors. She was born in the hospital and landed her first job at BMH. It’s also where she met her husband, a general surgeon on the medical staff since 1993. Three of the couple’s four children were delivered at BMH.
“I was 10 years old when I attended my first pre-ball dinner party at my grandparents’ house,” she said. “The hospital has always been so special to me and my family.”
Laura and Robert Achurch have been involved with the hospital for many years as well. Robert serves as Beaufort Memorial’s outside general counsel and Laura has been a Valentine Ball volunteer since its early days. She served on the decorating committee of the first gala and has worked on several other committees over the years. The couple also has hosted numerous pre-ball dinner parties at their home.
“Beaufort is a social place,” Laura Achurch said. “People love a party here. With the Valentine Ball, everyone gets to enjoy a great evening and contribute to a very important part of our community.”
The four co-chairs will be working with dozens of volunteers who help organize every aspect of the ball, from pre-ball dinner parties to the silent auction to the evening’s music and decadent desserts.
Dozens more will host the private dinner parties that have made the Valentine Ball such a standout among fundraisers. In addition to providing the venue for the parties, the hosts decorate their homes, plan the menu and pay for the food, helping reduce the cost of putting on a party for some 500 people.
Last year, organizers added the Cocktail Affair to serve as a warmup to the gala or an alternative for those unable to make the main event.
“It was a big hit,” Kevin Cuppia said. “We had hors d’oeuvres, an open bar, a silent auction and a jazz band. It was fun to mix and mingle and see old friends.”
For more information on the Cocktail Affair and Valentine Ball, visit valentineball.org or call the foundation at 843-522-5774.