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Crystal Heart Awards gala kicks off women's health care focus

6:00 AM EST, November 13, 2013

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The Laurel Regional Hospital Foundation's Crystal Heart awards gala this year will serve as a fundraiser for the development of a new women's health care facility.

"The fundraiser is going to help us get this women's health care center going," Dr. Trudy Hall, Laurel Regional's vice president for medical affairs, said of the Dec. 6 event, which is a black-tie affair with lavish food and entertainment.

Since the gala debuted 24 years ago, money raised usually has been spread to fund equipment purchases, renovation projects and programs. This year, however, hospital officials said all of the funds will go toward development of a comprehensive women's health care center. The theme for this year's gala will be along those lines.

"Before, we may have had a Moroccan theme, but this year, we're honoring 25 doctors, nurses and others from multiple disciplines, from the emergency room through rehabilitation and home care, who helped save a woman's life," said John Spearman, Laurel Regional's president and chief operating officer. "We will focus on this woman's journey. She had serious issues when she came here, but because of the high level of care she received here, she is alive and well and back at work."

The gala has brought in more than $100,000 in the past and event organizers are hoping to top that amount this year. The entertainment headliner is Grammy-winner and Broadway star Jennifer Holliday. The masters of ceremony for the event, currently appearing on CBS TV's' "The Amazing Race," are medical doctors Travis and Nicole Jasper. The husband-wife duo has also appeared on the Discovery Channel's "Untold Stories of the ER." There will also be a silent auction during the gala, and after-dinner dance music performed by the Johnnie Steele Band.

The Crystal Heart Awards Gala will be held at the Marriott Inn and Conference Center in Hyattsville. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. gala are $250 per person and can be purchased by calling 301-497-7913.

—Gwendolyn Glenn