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Posted on Sun, Dec 6, 2009 : 9:40 a.m.

Paris-themed ball raises money for St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor’s mother/baby unit

By Mark Bialek

More than 750 guests attended the 34th annual St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Holiday Ball at the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center Saturday night.

The Convocation Center was transformed into "Paris, the City of Lights," complete with thousands of handmade roses.


Guests gather before dinner with Paris-themed decorations.

Mark Bialek | For

Proceeds from the gala benefit the new mother/baby unit as part of the St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor’s patient towers project. By Friday afternoon, $710,000 had been raised, said Lauren Stokes, a spokeswoman for the health system.

“We are fortunate to have a community that places the highest value on quality health care,” Laurie Prager, chair of this year’s Holiday Ball, said in a release. “The generous collaboration of community members, business leaders, and physicians has helped create some of the most advanced medicine, treatments and innovative practices.”

The black-tie event included the sounds of accordionist Gary Zack as guests strolled the “Avenue des Champs-Elysees” reminiscent of an evening in Paris.

Donations are still being accepted by visiting and clicking on “Make a Gift.”



Wed, Dec 23, 2009 : 8:28 a.m.

This is a legitimate issue and needs to be examined. When I look at the wide angle photograph Mr. Bialek took, I see perhaps two Americans of African decent. This raises the question of why the many affluent, educated people of African decent were not invited or socially solicited to attend, as perhaps is the case with many of the Americans of European decent. It appears the photographer accurately portrayed the reality of the event, and thus gives the community and the creators of these events the opportunity to deal with the real issues. I personally believe that when people realize the fundamental mistakes they have ben practicing for decades, they will correct them and become far more inclusive, inviting and open to all Americans, regardless of origin of decent. We're all fortune to be living in such interesting times where people are able to place these issues on the table for open discussion. Personally, I'm thankful to photojournalists that accurately record events and allow the community to see the reality of our world.


Sat, Dec 19, 2009 : 5:59 p.m.

Good point, Tom. Why doesn't the black community support mothers and babies? Their absence speaks volumes. Almost as much as some photos speak about their photographer. Or... maybe you and I are projecting our own agendas onto a totally innocent situation, hmm?

Tom Bower

Mon, Dec 14, 2009 : 5:47 p.m.

The images of all these rich and powerful people certainly provide a vivid reminder about the realities of race and economic power in A2. Was this a for whites only affair? Weren't there any African-Americans in attendance? Or, were African-Americans in attendance "invisible" to photographer Mark Bialek?