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CMH seeks to outpace past galas

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Bolivar-based Citizens Memorial Healthcare will hold its eighth annual Burgundy Ball at 7 p.m. on Sept. 24 at Springfield's University Plaza Convention Center, 333 S. John Q. Hammons Parkway.

Roughly 600 people are scheduled to attend the event, with proceeds from live and silent auctions to support the CMH Carrie J. Babb Cancer Center.

Tamera Heitz-Peek, CMH director of marketing, said the hospital has raised roughly $56,000 in sponsorship support, including presenting sponsor Banta Foods, a division of Reinhart Food Service, platinum sponsor Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Co. and others. The rest of the sponsorship total comprises auctions items, which this year includes vacations, artwork and sports tickets.

Both the 2010 and 2009 ball netted roughly $20,000 for the cancer center. Heitz-Peek said she hopes excitement surrounding this year's event will help to bring similar or better results.

"We hope to raise more money, but we'll see what happens this weekend," she said.

Longtime actor Henry Winkler - who played Fonzie in "Happy Days," and had roles in "Arrested Development" and the film "The Waterboy" - will be the keynote speaker for the gala. Winkler received two Golden Globe awards for his work as the Fonz, according to the Internet Movie Database.

Last week, Winkler was knighted at the British embassy in Washington, D.C., for his work with the dyslexic community, an honor Heitz-Peek felt would add to the credence of his keynote speech.

"He is a wonderful person," she said. "We're just looking for someone who would have a similar philosophy, someone who enjoys helping others."

Last year's event was hosted by former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty.

During the event, four people will be named as honorees of the Donald J. Babb Award, which recognizes CMH contributors.[[In-content Ad]]

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