The secret ingredient in this year’s sweet-themed Storybook Ball was a passion for improving health care for the neediest and most vulnerable children.

As lollipops glistened and dancers swayed Saturday, Oct. 18, a bit of Willy Wonka magic inspired more than 500 people at the 15th Annual Storybook Ball to generously raise $1.8 million for the MassGeneral Hospital for Children.

Improving Health Care for Children

“Medical care for children is chronically underfunded, and much of the work that MGHfC does every day, here in the hospital, out in the community, and around the globe, is not reimbursed.”

The secret ingredient in this year’s sweet-themed event was a passion for improving health care for the neediest and most vulnerable children here and around the world. Proceeds from the ball, held at the Castle at the Park Plaza Hotel, will support MGHfC’s family-centered care with focus on children in underserved communities around Boston as well as in areas of Africa, South America and other places where medical care is lacking.

“Philanthropy in these areas is essential,” said President Peter L. Slavin, MD, “Medical care for children is chronically underfunded, and much of the work that MGHfC does every day, here in the hospital, out in the community, and around the globe, is not reimbursed.”

Like Charlie, the poor boy in the Roald Dahl story who wins the big prize from Willy Wonka, the children served by the proceeds of the Storybook Ball reap the rewards of first-rate health care.

Providing Expert Care

Alex Ortiz Cisneros (left), with his brother, Daniel, and their mother, Daisy, at the Mass General Chelsea Healthcare Center
Alex Ortiz Cisneros (left), with his brother, Daniel, and their mother, Daisy, at the Mass General Chelsea Healthcare Center

For example, pediatrician Rebecca Cronin, MD, of the Mass General Chelsea Healthcare Center, presented a video about her two patients, ages 2 and 4, both born with congenital heart problems. As a result of heart surgery and in-home services provided through the hospital, the children’s health is improving and their mother, a Guatemalan immigrant, is coping with the immense challenge of caring for two children with medical and behavioral problems.

“She has done a wonderful job of balancing the daily needs the kids have and their complicated medical needs as well,” Dr. Cronin says in the video.

The Storybook Ball’s global mission was bolstered by a $500,000 gift from James Taylor and his wife, Kim, to support the work of Chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery William Gerald (Jay) Austen, MD, who travels regularly to Cartagena, Colombia to perform cleft lip and palate surgery on children living in poverty.

“The surgery transforms their lives in ways they never imagined,” Dr. Austen said.

The Storybook Ball’s global mission was bolstered by a $500,000 gift from James Taylor and his wife, Kim.

A trip to Colombia to witness Dr. Austen’s work (watch a video below) was one of the items auctioned off at the ball to raise funds for MGHfC. Funds were also raised through a combination of attendance, sponsorships and bids on additional auction packages including a Bruins Night Out, a Game-Day Coaching experience with the Red Sox, jewelry by designer Mimi So, David Ortiz’s annual Celebrity Golf Classic in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and a visit to the art galleries of Art Basel Miami Beach.

To learn more about the Storybook Ball or to make a contribution, contact us.

Video From the 2014 Storybook Ball