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Jackie Fishman, APR is a freelance writer and independent public relations professional with a specialty in medical and health care media relations. She also writes about charitable causes,food, and travel. She has a MA from American University and is an accredited public relations professional (APR) with the Public Relations Society of America. She explores the new and unique and loves to travel and discover out-of-way places and people with unusual vocations and interests.

Recap: Heart Of Mercy Gala To Benefit Mercy Health Clinic

Italian Embassy set up for Mercy Clinic Gala (Photography by Simo)

Italian Embassy set up for Mercy Clinic Gala (Photo by Simo)

With more than 70 specialty volunteer physicians, Mercy Health Clinic in Gaithersburg, Maryland has provided health care services to thousands of needy and uninsured clients for nearly 13 years. For four years, the Heart of Mercy Gala has helped support the operating expenses of the clinic by raising funds to meet the needs of uninsured, low-income adult residents of Montgomery County free of charge. About 50 percent of the clinic’s operating expenses are paid by the county. The rest must be raised. The gala event has grown over the years and this year’s sold-out ball was held at the beautiful Italian Embassy and featured a masked ball theme.

Gala attendees enjoy the evening (Photo by Simo)

Gala attendees enjoy the evening (Photo by Simo)

Pat Collins, NBC Washington’s News4 reporter served as master of ceremonies. He commended the audience for “being in the business of saving lives and promoting good health.”

One of Mercy Health Clinic’s founders and board chairperson Alvina De Lazzari Long, told the crowd, “Your presence tonight and generosity to the Mercy Health Clinic speaks to your commitment to providing quality health care to all in our community. Our celebration tonight honors the hard work of the volunteers and staff of the Mercy Health Clinic and our mission of providing free quality primary and secondary health care to Montgomery County adults who cannot afford medical services.”

Alvina Long, Mercy Clinic chairperson board of directors (Photo by Simo)

Alvina Long, Mercy Clinic chairperson board of directors (Photo by Simo)

More than 70 doctors and nurses make up the clinic staff. Former medical director Dr. James Ronan served in this capacity for more than ten years.  He surveyed the sold-out crowd with satisfaction. “When I first served as medical director, we had just a small group pf physicians who volunteered their time along with the co-founders Alvina Long and Colleen Wallace who wanted to five back to their community. Now the physician roster has grown to 70 staff representing a wide assortment of medical specialities.

Heart of Mercy Gala Planning Committee (Photo by Simo)

Heart of Mercy Gala Planning Committee (Photo by Simo)

“I get a lot of satisfaction from my work with the clinic,’ said Dr. Ronan. “One of my first patients was a middle-aged man whom I diagnosed with constrictive pericarditis, which is severe heart failure. Twelve years later, he is still coming to the clinic  because we were able to successfully treat him. I tell the physicians who volunteer at the clinic to take all the time they need and use their talents to help those who come to clinic.”

Gala audience (Photo by Simo)

Gala audience (Photo by Simo)

The gala’s elegant masquerade theme was created by a talented committee including Jamie Sack, Esq. with Shulman Rogers  and Gordon Chin, Esq., GC Design, and in-house counsel for In-Site Wireless Group. Together they worked hand-in-hand to select the colorscape, linens and décor and to make the centerpieces.

The silent auction offered a wide assortment of tastes, entertainment and getaways. Weekends at the Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island, Florida and Gateways Canyons resort in Colorado were bid on as well as fine dining at Renato’s  and The Palm made for lively bidding.

Secolari offered artisan olive oil and vinegar tastings, Chouquette provided samplings of fine chocolate and Simo Photography documented the event.

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