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Famed "clean comedian" Henry Cho performs as the headliner at 2019's Party in the Park fundraiser for Madison Hospital. (Record Photo/Kendyl Hollingsworth)

2019 Party in the Park raises most funds in event’s eight-year history

MADISON — The Huntsville Hospital Foundation, responsible for hosting Madison Hospital’s Party in the Park event each year, just announced some exciting news: they raised a record-breaking $103,000 in net proceeds at this year’s event Feb. 28.

The funds will support Madison Hospital’s goal of incorporating their own MRI-compatible anesthesia system. With this, Madison Hospital will be able to perform MRIs on adult and pediatrics patients who have trouble coping with the procedure.

According to Madison Hospital President Mary Lynne Wright, the anesthesia system will be a great asset to the hospital’s imaging department. “We have two state-of-the-art MRI machines, and what we’re going to purchase this year is anesthesia equipment, so if you’re claustrophobic, (or) if you’re a child and can’t hold still for an MRI, we will be able to provide anesthesia in our imaging suite to help take care of you,” she said. “It’s a very important piece of equipment that we’re going to purchase.”

Other patients who might need anesthesia to have an MRI performed include those who experience extreme pain when lying on their back and those who are dependent on a ventilator.

This year’s fundraising success far exceeded that of last year’s record of $69,000, which HHF Special Events Coordinator Cheryl Geiger said helped them provide a joint replacement operating table for Madison Hospital’s Surgery Department.

With the city of Madison experiencing a tremendous amount of growth, Madison Hospital is just one component of the city that is making adjustments to accommodate that growth. According to  Madison Hospital President Mary Lynne Wright, they have added 90 patient beds to increase their service capabilities. It is with the community’s help that Wright said Madison Hospital is able to provide the highest level of care to their patients.

“Today is our seventh anniversary, which is hard to believe, so this year it’s just a lot of fun to realize that we have so many companies and so many people wanting to really come out and support the hospital,” she said at the event.

Part in the Park 2019 drew a crowd of nearly 400 supporters to the Insanity Skate Complex in February. After Brian Bates warmed up the audience with a comedy routine of his own, guests had the rare opportunity to enjoy a show from this year’s headliner. Award-winning comedian Henry Cho, who served up plenty of laughs throughout the evening, involved several members of the audience in his routine, effortlessly tailoring his show to the conversations he had with them.

Being from Tennessee—with a wife from Arab, Alabama—Cho was able to connect well with the audience members, who appreciated his southern humor. The community will have another opportunity to see Cho April 4-6 when he returns to Huntsville to perform at Stand Up Live.

Wright said this is the first year Party in the Park has featured a comedian. With the impressive turnout, it’s possible that attendees can expect similar opportunities in the future. “Henry Cho is a great comedian,” Wright said. “This is the first time we’ve done this, so we just kind of decided to do something completely different.”

Mangia Italian Restaurant made the evening even sweeter with a buffet-style dinner and decadent desserts.

Before and after the show, guests also had the opportunity to bid in a silent auction for a wide variety of local items and prizes. These included paintings, photographs, cowboy boots, dinner vouchers, tickets to the Huntsville Classic in May, and more.

Guests peruse the silent auction at this year’s Party in the Park. (Record Photo/Kendyl Hollingsworth)

The grand finale of Party in the Park saw seven attendees select a key to try their hand at opening a treasure chest. Instead of jewels and gold coins, though, the chest held more than $1,500 in gift cards to places like Rosie’s Mexican Cantina, Lowe’s, Mangia Italian Restaurant, Terramé Day Spa & Salon, Mastercard and more.

Only one of the seven keys would work to open the chest, and after two unsuccessful attempts, the third time was the charm: Steve Burcham emerged as the lucky winner of the loot.

Steve Burcham poses with his treasure chest of gift cards moments after successfully unlocking it with his key. (Record Photo/Kendyl Hollingsworth)

Guests were charged $25 for a chance at the small fortune in the chest, with those proceeds contributing to the funds for the MRI-compatible anesthesia system.

While the evening featured plenty of entertainment, delicious food and exciting opportunities, many of the guests were just eager to support the hospital. Susie Jordan and her husband, Michael, said this was their second year attending Party in the Park.

“I do have some friends that are on the board and some that are on the committee, and they were telling me all about this time,” Susie said. For her, the Italian buffet and famous comedian were just icing on the cake.

In addition to having friends involved with the hospital, the Jordans have two daughters in nursing school, and Susie said one of them had an “awesome” experience—or about as awesome as it can be—at Madison Hospital when she had to have her appendix removed over winter break. Susie added that she was impressed with the event and was happy to provide for a good cause. “Our hospital is growing, and it’s just getting better and better.”

Seeing members of the community, like the Jordans, turn out to support the hospital is what Wright said she loves most about these events.

“Really and truly, it is seeing the people,” she reiterated. “It’s just having people come in and wanting to be a part of our hospital, and they want to support it because Madison is a great community, but really when you get this kind of turnout—that people want to be here to support the hospital—that’s what’s important to me.”

Local nonprofit the Huntsville Hospital Foundation spearheads fundraising efforts for Madison Hospital and Huntsville Hospital. HHF works to fund hospital equipment and other program needs, and they accept both individual and corporate gifts on the hospitals’ behalf. For more information, visit huntsvillehospitalfoundation.org.

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