Balloon Launch ‘remarkable’ fundraiser

Published 9:10 pm Friday, June 11, 2021

Remarkable people doing remarkable things.

That’s how Karen Herring, Troy Regional Medical Center director of marketing described the success of the 2021 Pike Medical Foundation’s Virtual Balloon Launch.

“The goal was $50,000 and it is with great excitement that I can say we have surpassed that goal for the 2021 Virtual Balloon Launch,” Herring said. “And it was all possible through the hard work of the Pike Medical Foundation Board members.”

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Neal Smith was the winner of the $1,000 prize. His balloon was the last one virtually launched. Carl Rodgers’ name was the first virtually launched and he received the $100 prize.

Both winners donated their winnings back to the foundation.

“Again, remarkable people doing remarkable things for Troy Regional Medical Center, along with all of those who purchased tickets and those who worked behind the scenes to make the Virtual Balloon Launch a tremendous success.”

The Pike Medical Foundation Balloon Launch Fundraiser 2021 was vital because the funds raised support various needs of the Troy Regional Medical Center. The 2020 fundraiser had been stymied by COVID-19, so the Foundation board was anxious to get the fundraiser back off the ground. However, there was some apprehension about the balloon launch.

“The annual fundraiser is important because the funds are used to purchase equipment and support other needs of the hospital,” said Steve Garrott, Foundation chairman. “The funds raised help to maintain Troy Regional as a first-class hospital through purchases such as equipment and upgrades including sanitation lights.”

However, Garrott said, with concerns related to the pandemic, the expense of the launch and environmental issues, the 2021 balloon launch was deemed problematic.

“Melissa Sanders, Foundation board member, suggested a virtual launch as opposed to the physical launch,” Garrott said. “We considered the benefits and decided to give it a try.”

Garrott said the virtual launch would work as a drawdown with the first name drawn receiving a $100 prize and the last name drawn receiving the $1,000 prize.

“The names were drawn electronically and the drawdown created a lot of excitement,” Garrott said. “With the success of the virtual launch, I’m sure we will discuss how the fundraiser will be done in the future. We might want to consider changing the name to, perhaps, a pulldown. But, we will continue with the fundraiser because it is important to Troy Regional Medical Center and the communities that the hospital serves.”

Foundation member Mary Williams said, too, that the success of the virtual launch might change the format of the annual fundraiser.

“With a balloon launch, we have to consider protecting the environment and the weather can be a factor,” Williams said. “With a virtual event, we don’t have those concerns. We sold all the tickets so the community was supportive of a virtual event. I’m sure we will consider how we do the fundraiser in the future.”