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VOL. 127 | NO. 60 | Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Soul Celebration to Benefit MED Foundation

By Aisling Maki

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The Four Tops, The Temptations Review, Thelma Houston, and Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. will bring their legendary brand of soul to The Peabody hotel’s Grand Ballroom Saturday, March 31, during “Med Night: A Soul Celebration.”

The blowout concert benefits The MED Foundation, the fundraising arm of The Regional Medical Center at Memphis.

“We’re almost sold out,” said Tammie Ritchey, executive director of The MED Foundation. “I would encourage people to go online and get their tickets really quickly.”

The 2011 Soul Gala netted $250,000 for The MED Foundation, and organizers anticipate this year’s event will be equally successful.

MED Foundation board members Leigh Shockey and Susan Arney, who organized last year’s gala, are once again co-chairing the event.

“Leigh is responsible for getting all of the entertainers,” Ritchey said. “She’s the one who contacted all of them and made all of this happen.”

Last year’s wildly successful event featured Jerry Butler, the New Temptations Review, Russell Thompkins Jr. and the New Stylistics, The Emotions, Percy Sledge, Billy Paul, Eddie Floyd, Freda Payne, Archie Bell, Candi Staton, William Brown, Maxine Brown and Dee Dee Sharp.

And it doubled as a star-studded 60th birthday bash for event headliner and two-time Grammy Award winner Peabo Bryson, who performed “Beauty and The Beast” and “A Whole New World.”

“Last year the dance floor was packed all night long,” Ritchey said. “We had very few people leave early, and I fully expect it to be that way again this year. People can come and enjoy a great party.”

Proceeds from the evening will benefit a multitude of services provided by the public hospital, including the Dr. Sheldon B. Korones Newborn Center – one of the nation’s oldest and largest neonatal intensive care units – the Firefighters Regional Burn Center and Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center, the only burn center and level-one trauma center in a 150-mile radius.

“The money from this event goes back into supporting a community hospital,” Ritchey said. “This is our hospital – Shelby County, North Mississippi and Arkansas – and one in four people may need The MED one day. I look at it as investing in a much healthier community. The MED is really working to advance the quality of health care in our community.”

MED Foundation board member Bruce Harrison ended up being that one in four. He received life-saving treatment at The MED after suffering serious burns in a watercraft explosion at Horseshoe Lake in Arkansas.

Harrison said he would never have survived the accident had he not been treated at The MED’s Burn Center and Wound Care Unit. And that experience prompted him to get involved with the foundation.

“I knew of the successful experience I had at The MED, and I knew The MED was a hospital of choice for me,” Harrison said. “But I didn’t know about the special things that The MED Foundation supported – the special non-operational projects to provide state-of-the-art equipment and special training for the staff. And it really brings awareness to the positive aspects of The MED and its importance to the community.”

In addition to attracting an all-star lineup, this year’s gala has attracted some big name corporate supporters, including Bank of America, Drexel Chemical, University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC.

“The corporations that signed up to be a part of this event see that The MED is on a perfect trajectory and now they’re willing to invest their corporate dollars into this successful organization,” said MED president and CEO Dr. Reginald Coopwood.

For tickets to Saturday’s gala, visit www.themedfoundation.org.

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