Vero Beach, FL—Amid the revelry of Bourbon Street jazz, New Orleans cuisine and casino fun, the We Care Foundation of Indian River culminated its We Care program 25th anniversary celebration at its 3rd annual Mardi Gras at Oak Harbor Country Club.
Over 250 guests attended We Care’s signature fundraising event on February 27th chaired by Hala Laviolette and Eileen O’Donnell, enjoying a culinary tour of New Orleans, trying their luck at the casino tables, dancing to the tunes of Mark Zauss & the Jammin’ Jambalaya Band, and mingling with the guests of honor—the We Care doctors, dentists and other medical professionals.
Founded in 1991 as a cooperative venture between the Indian River County Medical Society, the IRC Health Department, and the IRC Hospital District, the We Care program coordinates free specialty physician services for uninsured indigent patients in Indian River County. More than 130 volunteer doctors, dentists and other medical professionals donate care to as many as 3,000 qualified Indian River County residents each year. These donated services are valued at over $1 million annually.
This year’s We Care Foundation Mardi Gras celebration served as the official end to the We Care program 25th anniversary fundraising campaign. Dennis Saver, M.D., president of the We Care Foundation, announced the campaign exceeded its goal. “We had an audacious goal to raise $400,000 over a 16th month cycle,” Saver said. “Thanks to our fabulous Mardi Gras Krewe and all of you, I am pleased to tell you we surpassed the goal.”
He added, “The money we have raised this year and tonight will better enable the We Care professionals to help more people and give full care when they volunteer service to those in our community who would otherwise have no options.”
Also honored at the Mardi Gras celebration were five We Care physicians as the recipients of the Tenth Annual We Care Awards. Selected for going above and beyond in their volunteer roles, the recipients were Stuart Byer, M.D.; Noor Merchant, M.D.; Stephen Patterson, M.D.; John Peterson, M.D.; and Raul Storey, M.D.
Supported by ticket sales, donations, raffle sales and sponsorships, the event raised $170,000 for We Care. Top 2017 Non-profit and Individual donors include The Bernard Egan Foundation, The Dorothea Leonhardt Fund of Communities Foundation of Texas, “In Loving Memory of Richard Stark,” Deborah A. Hawkins Charitable Foundation, Dr. Dennis Saver, Dr. Jimmy and Melanie Lockhart, Mr. and Mrs. Emanuel Balkin. Leading Corporate Sponsors include Indian River Medical Center, Atlantic Healthcare & Rehabilitation, Michaela G Scott MD & Associates, Sebastian River Medical Center, VNA & Hospice Foundation, Advanced Motion Therapeutic, Inc., Shambo-Ashdown Wealth Management Group, Palm Garden of Vero Beach, and more.
All proceeds from the evening return directly to the Indian River County community to help meet We Care program and We Care Clinic non-physician ancillary medical or medically related needs for We Care patients. Examples include after-care wound dressing, cataract lenses, emergency prescription assistance, and transportation for medical appointments.