Red Door Gala donors raise funds for behavioral health services at Mercy Health

LIMA — The entertainer Vanessa Williams closed out Mercy Health’s Red Door Gala on Thursday night at the Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center as the night’s surprise performer.

But the real reason of the night, to raise funds for the Mercy Health Foundation to go toward building a new behavioral health unit at Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center, saw the guests raise $310,030 by the end of the hand-raising pledge portion.

“Everything is going well,” said Sara Ambroza, president of the Mercy Health Foundation Greater Lima board. “We enjoyed celebrating with everybody and fundraising for this cause.”

Guests and donors showed up to the event and enjoyed food and refreshments during the gala portion of the event and moved to the Crouse Performance Hall to hear how money raised last year funded a new neuroscience and rehabilitation unit to provide care to stroke patients.

Barry and Angela Clark accept the Mercy Club Award for their years of philanthropy toward the organization.

“I came to Lima in 1994,” Barry Clark said. “I immediately started seeing a cardiologist because my dad died of a heart attack, and guess who saved my life: St. Rita’s. So I feel really obligated to help.”

Presley Burden, a former patient, spoke about her experience with addiction and how the services at St. Rita’s aided her in recovery.

“It’s an evening to celebrate our team, but it’s also an evening to address a significant concern in behavioral health, meaning mental health, addiction services and mental diseases,” Ambroza said. “For us, it’s about bringing that to light and looking past stigma and being able to assist our patients the best way we can and to link them to recovery services.”

Dawn Mansfield, Mercy Health’s representative of the Mental Health and Recovery Services Opiate Task Force, added, “The greater the delay in treatment, the greater the ripple effects in other areas of our lives.”

Mercy Health held the event for the fourth year and the second since pausing during the pandemic.

“We’re just so thankful for the support of our community members and corporate sponsors that are assisting us in being able to help better support our behavioral health services, not only with what’s happening in our medical center goals but also the extension outside and support that we’re able to provide our patients during recovery,” Ambroza said.

Reach Jacob Espinosa at 567-242-0399.