'Bridges' ball honors research scientists

The Children's Ball, hosted by the Children's Research Fund, attracted more than 1,000 guests to the Hilton Chicago on Dec. 14.

With a focus on research, this year's event included a Science Fair for Grown-ups. During the reception in the hotel's Grand Ballroom, research scientists from the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital offered short presentations about their innovative work. Participating doctors included Shekhar Mayanil, Ed Gong, Nikia Laurie, Ruchi Gupta, Adam Becker and Arun Gosain.

Themed "Bridges: From Research to Healthy Kids," the ball was co-chaired by Peter Bensinger Jr., Heidi Wagman, Kristi Stathis and Jim Malackowski. Bensinger acknowledged Lester Crown, the recipient of the Hospital's Children's Trust Award, and Ann Lurie.

Patrick Magoon, president and CEO of Lurie Children's Hospital; Dr. Mary Hendrix, president and scientific director of Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago Research Center; and Lesli Falk, Children's Research Fund chairman, presented a tribute to the researchers, who were introduced by former Bulls public-address announcer Ray Clay. The doctors ran through a line of cheerleaders waving pompoms amid swirling spotlights as their names were announced.

Three young Lurie Children's patients described how they've been helped by the hospital.

"Advances in research allow me to live a normal life even though I have sickle cell disease," said Jonathan Lovett-Jones, 11.

A live auction featured a Van Cleef & Arpels package that sold for $17,500. Later, dedicated pledges of nearly $300,000 established a record for the event.

Freelance writer Candace Jordan is involved with many local organizations, including some whose events she covers.

Click here to see photos from these events.

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