FOR RELEASE: 6/1/2012Contact: John Cappiello, (203) 384-3637

Bridgeport Hospital Auxiliary spring gala draws 320-plus, raises $95,000 for ambulatory surgery center renovations

A sell-out audience of more than 320 people attended the Bridgeport Hospital Auxiliary’s Spring Gala at the Birchwood Country Club in Westport on May 10, and helped raise nearly $95,000 to support renovations to the hospital’s SurgEase Ambulatory Surgery Center.

Guests of honor Dr. Bruce and Beth McDonald of Fairfield are joined by Bridgeport Hospital Auxiliary Gala co-chairs Marlene Fischer of Southport and Ulla Atweh of Westport. Photo courtesy of Regina Madwed.

According to Auxiliary President Ilene Feldman of Fairfield, the proceeds exceeded expectations by almost 30 percent, results that she attributes to the hard work of Gala Co-Chairs Ulla Atweh of Westport and Marlene Fischer of Southport and the rest of the event planning committee.

The Gala honored Fairfield residents Bruce McDonald, MD, and his wife Beth. Dr. McDonald will retire in September after 32 years at Bridgeport Hospital, first as Chairman of Pediatrics and for the last 26 years as Senior Vice President, Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer. He is also a clinical professor at Yale School of Medicine and has maintained his clinical practice as a pediatric nephrologist at Bridgeport and Yale-New Haven Hospitals. In addition, Dr. McDonald was recently named Physician of the Year by the Greater Bridgeport Medical Association.

During more than 20 years as a member of the Bridgeport Hospital Auxiliary, Beth McDonald has been a member of the group’s Board of Directors, served a two-year term as Vice President and participated in a number of fundraising activities.

“The McDonalds’ exceptional leadership and participation in Auxiliary initiatives have had a positive impact on the lives of children and their families,” Feldman says. “Examples include the Auxiliary-supported expansion of the Children’s Emergency Center at the hospital, pediatric obesity-prevention programs and the family-friendly innovations that are planned for SurgEase.”

The SurgEase renovations will include an interactive children's area, a sensory sensitive area for children with special needs, a quiet work area and a separate area for adults. More than 7,500 outpatient surgical procedures were performed in the center during the past year.

Since it was established in 1959, the 400-member Bridgeport Hospital Auxiliary has donated more than $4 million to Bridgeport Hospital facility improvements, equipment purchases, nursing scholarships and other projects.

The Auxiliary sponsors a variety of fundraising activities throughout the year and operates the hospital gift shop, profits from which are donated to the hospital. Many Auxiliary members are also active volunteers who contribute their time and energy in patient care and support areas of the hospital.

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Part of Yale New Haven Health System, Bridgeport Hospital is a 383-bed acute care hospital (plus 42 beds licensed to Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital) serving parts of Fairfield and New Haven counties. The hospital admits more than 18,000 patients and receives more than 240,000 outpatient visits annually.