Near-sellout, record revenues at HU Gala of Hope 

By D’Andrea Doyle

Hampton University’s Proton Therapy Institute is saving lives from cancer. This advanced treatment can be very expensive and has moved Hampton University to lend helping hands with the annual event of the year, Gala of Hope. The fund raiser forwards proceeds to services for financially indigent patients.

“The Gala of Hope is an awesome opportunity that allows donors to connect and celebrate in the fruition of their philanthropic efforts while planning the future of their involvement with the institute,” said Maya Norvel, HU publications manager.

At the second Gala of Hope Oct. 5, members of the community, faculty, staff and students enjoyed a night to remember at the Hampton Roads Convention Center. Exquisite dinner and fine entertainment centered the rooms’ energy that evening.

This year, the committee allowed treated patients to share their testimonies with the community that have become so involved with their well being.

Joy Jefferson, chairwoman of the Gala of Hope Committee and vice president of External Relations at HU, said that it was more effective for the audience to hear directly from patients because the patients truly are the focus and the motivation.

Debbie Owens and Bill Banks were survivors who gave testimonies that touched the hearts of much of the audience. There was also a video that played prior to the testimonies, expressing the patients’ satisfaction with the Proton Therapy Institute.

Bill Cosby was the keynote speaker at the inaugural Gala of Hope.

There was a minor decrease in attendance last week compared to the sold-out, 1,100-person 2011 inaugural event, yet revenue raised last weekend surpassed that of last year’s gala.

Pepsi Bottling Company of Houghton, Congressman and Mrs. Scott Rigell, Warwick Plumbing & Heating Corporation, and E-Campus were among the sponsors that supported the Gala of Hope. Corporate sponsorships were attained in packages ranging from bronze $3,000 to platinum $25,000.

Tickets were sold for $250 singularly and $450 for couples. The gala also began with a silent auction of miscellaneous goods.

Conservatively, $282,000 was the gross raised from ticket sales and corporate sponsorships, based on estimated attendance and sponsorships listed in the program book. Net revenues after expenses are deducted are to be determined at a later date.

The writer is a student at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications