More than 450 guests packed the Khorassan Ballroom at the Chase Park Plaza for our 2019 Hope Is Where the Heart Is gala on February 9 – setting a new attendance record and raising nearly $400,000 (an all-time high) for Wings of Hope’s U.S. Medical Air Relief & Transport (MAT) program.
Board Vice Chair Fred Meyland-Smith and Susan Meyland-Smith co-chaired the event with Board member Rich Ropp and his wife, Melissa.
Guests were able to see, firsthand, how their support is making a real difference as two young women and their families shared their Wings of Hope stories.
Wings of Hope has flown 11-year-old Gracin 27 times from her home in Kansas to St. Louis Shriners for bone-lengthening surgeries and therapy. Gracin was born with one leg shorter than the other. Thanks to the excellent pediatric orthopedic doctors at Shriners, Gracin can now walk without crutches – and is completing some intense physical therapy this summer to help her get ready for volleyball season. Her mom, Traci, shared the relief she felt when she learned that Wings of Hope places no limit on how many times we fly someone to care. And she is correct – once we start flying someone, they are part of the Wings of Hope family for life!
Guests also met 24-year-old Madison and her family. This young woman was 22 years old when doctors discovered a rare form of cancer, adenoid cystic carcinoma, while removing a tumor from her mouth. Wings of Hope flew Madison commercially from her home in Kirkwood, Mo., to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for three major surgeries and 35 days of radiation treatment. We are happy to report that Madison is in remission and is doing very well now.
As Gracin and Madison stood on stage and shared their Wings of Hope stories, our guests were visibly moved. This is what changing and saving lives through the power of aviation looks like. This is why we all ventured out on a cold February night to support the Wings of Hope MAT program.
Thank you to all our guests, sponsors and volunteers – everyone who contributed to making this most recent gala our most successful yet!