BMH’s Valentine Ball adds Friday night party

Photo above: Richard and Joyce Gray will serve as the honorary chairs at the Valentine Ball.

There are a couple of new twists to the Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation’s Valentine Ball.

Not only is there a brand new downtown venue at Tabby Place, but for the very first time, the foundation is also offering a special party the night before.

Attendees at the new Friday night “Cocktail Affair” will be able to get a first look at the always fabulous decorations and auction items while enjoying an open bar, elaborate hors d’oeuvres and live music from 6-8:30 p.m.

Richard and Joyce Gray will serve as the honorary chairs for this premiere event, and say they are excited at the thought of our community coming together two nights in a row for such a wonderful cause.

“We are truly fortunate to have such a great hospital and staff,” said Richard Gray. “I sometimes think people don’t realize just how much can be done right here, close to family and close to home.

“Our hospital also provides an incredible amount of charitable care for those who have nowhere else to turn, and everything they do helps to ensure the health of our entire community.”

Richard Gray grew up in Beaufort, and to hear him tell it, Joyce Gray caught his eye the minute she moved here after college to teach.  He jokes that he had to ask her out five times before she said yes, but she fell in love with her husband-to-be as easily as she did her new hometown, and the couple soon settled down just up the street from the hospital.

All four of the Gray’s children and six of their grandchildren were born at Beaufort Memorial and they appreciate how special it is to have a not-for-profit hospital serving the community.

Joyce Gray’s physician father had helped to start a county hospital in Barnwell some 60 years ago, sparing his patients what had previously been an hours-long drive to the nearest facility.

But like so many other small hospitals across the state, it wasn’t able to survive in today’s healthcare environment.

Beaufort Memorial has been the exception to this rule, in no small part because of the generous and long-standing support of the community it serves.

And all along, Richard and Joyce Gray have been a part of this support network. They were instrumental in helping to get the first Valentine Ball going 28 years ago and have since hosted many pre-Ball dinner parties in support of the Foundation.

“We’ve always enjoyed the Ball,” said Joyce Gray. “The pre-Ball dinner parties have been the most fantastic way to meet new people and support the hospital. And this year, we’re especially excited about the new event the night before. The new venue is great, and both nights’ events are going to be just beautiful. We hope everyone will come out for a wonderful time!”

The Ball has raised nearly $4.8 million for the hospital.  Proceeds from the 2017 Valentine Ball Weekend will go to cancer services, perpetuating the phenomenal level of philanthropic support that has underwritten half of all building and equipment costs of the Keyserling Cancer Center.

Tickets to the Valentine Ball and private dinner parties on Feb. 11 start at $150 per person and include several levels of sponsorships.

Tickets for Friday night start at $75 per person with a discount for those wishing to “make a weekend of it” by attending both events.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit valentineball.org or call the foundation at 843-522-5774.

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