Still having a Ball!

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30th anniversary Valentine Ball chairs have deep ties to Beaufort Memorial

Party planning is in full swing for Beaufort’s most anticipated social affair – the 30th annual Valentine Ball benefitting the Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation. 

The popular charity event takes place the weekend of Feb. 8-9 at Tabby Place in downtown Beaufort and includes the elegant Cocktail Affair on Friday evening, followed Saturday night by pre-gala dinner parties and the black-tie ball.

“This is Beaufort’s premier party with a purpose,” said Allison Coppage, who is co-chairing the event with her husband, Ben, along with BMH general surgeon Dr. Stephen Sisco and his wife, Laurie. “People recognize the importance of the hospital to our community and look forward to the ball each year.”

Since its inception in 1990, the Valentine Ball has raised nearly $5 million for a wide range of hospital improvements, from the expansion of the ER to digital diagnostic technology for the Breast Health Center. Proceeds from the 2019 fundraiser are earmarked for the renovation of Beaufort Memorial’s surgical pavilion.

“Having worked in the operating room, I understand and appreciate the value updating the surgical suites can have on patients and staff alike,” said Laurie Sisco, who was a surgical technologist for several years in the unit. “Providing efficiency and safety, with an environment conducive to creating sterile working conditions, are of the utmost importance.” 

With broad community support for the hospital, the co-chairs have had no trouble enlisting the dozens of volunteers it takes to organize the Foundation’s signature fundraiser. Committees tasked with various aspects of the festivities are busy at work coordinating the evening’s musical entertainment and decadent dessert bar, soliciting items for the silent auction and recruiting hosts for the pre-ball dinner parties to be held in some 50 private Beaufort residences. 

“The size of the dinner parties can range from six to 30,” said Coppage, who has co-hosted dinners twice in recent years. “That’s one of the things that makes them so much fun. Every party is unique.”

In addition to providing the venue for the parties, the hosts decorate their homes and plan the menu. Over 400 guests will attend the pre-ball dinner parties.

Among the first to volunteer were Coppage’s parents, Dr. Brad and Cindy Collins. The 2019 event will be their 19th dinner party. 

“I remember their first party in 1998,” Coppage said. “I helped mom in the kitchen prep her famous seafood strudel, a true labor of love that I served at my own dinner party in 2017.” 

The honorary chairs of the Cocktail Affair, Vicki and Jon Verity, also have a long history with the Foundation event. Jon’s parents were among the first Beaufort residents to host a dinner party for the Valentine Ball. 

“After dad passed away in 2007, we have continued the tradition of hosting a dinner every year,” Jon Verity said. “We have always enjoyed meeting many new people who have attended over the years.” 

Tickets for the 2019 Valentine Ball weekend are now available online. Cocktail Affair tickets are $80 per person, gala tickets $150 and tickets for both events are $200. For more information about the Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation fundraiser, visit or call the Foundation at (843) 522-5774. 

Photo at top: Honorary chairs for Friday night’s Cocktail Affair are Vicki and Jon Verity (left). Saturday’s night’s Valentine Ball co-chairs are Laurie and Steve Sisco, MD, (center) and Allison and Ben Coppage (right). Photo by Paul Nurnberg.

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