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17th Annual Heart of the House Gala raises $319K to help families stay together

Bidders raise their hands in excitement after the winning bid.

Bidders raise their hands in excitement after the winning bid.

At the 17th Annual Heart of the House Gala, supporters opened their hearts and raised funds to help keep 232 families together and near the life-changing medical care their child needs!

Those families, like the Loves, travel hours from home for their child’s care and our mission is to provide them with comfortable place to stay near the hospital, free of charge.

“Walking into to the Ronald McDonald House last year, I was terrified,” Shnika Love says. “I was unsure of a lot of things. I kept asking myself, ‘Why am I here? Why is this happening to me?'”

Shnika’s daughter, Marie, was born early at 23 weeks weighing only 12 ounces. She needed the love and care of her mother and brother and that’s where the Ronald McDonald House enters their story.

“The Ronald McDonald House was a place of peace for me,” Shnika says. “When I left the hospital, I could rest and be with my son. He could still have his sense of normalcy.”

The Love family speaks to the gala crowd.

The Love family speaks to the gala crowd.

The Ronald McDonald House was able to help coordinate all the details so Braxton could continue to go to school while his family was in Birmingham.

Shnika and Braxton were able to stay near to Marie for four months before, sadly, she passed away.

“She will always be my strong girl,” Shnika says.

Through it all, Shnika is grateful for what the Ronald McDonald House gave her family during their trying time.

“People with a giving heart don’t necessarily think about what they’re going to get in return. It’s just a blessing. I just want to thank the Ronald McDonald House and to let you know that there are other families who need the support I was given,” Shnika told the crowd.

The Love family’s Ronald McDonald House story wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of donors like those who attended this year’s Gala.

Two women hold up a one-of-a-kind KISS painting.

Two women hold up a one-of-a-kind KISS painting.

After enjoying a silent auction and seated dinner, guests were treated to a dynamic live auction that included a few bidding wars over items like a Final Four basketball signed by Coach Bruce Pearl; a one-of-a-king David Garibaldi painting created for KISS’s End of the Road Tour; custom Alabama and Auburn children’s wagons; and a custom-made diamond and ruby necklace by Wallace Burke jewelers.

We are so grateful to our donors for attending the gala as well as our many partners who provided the amazing auction items.

Thank you to our sponsors for the 17th Annual Heart of the House Gala: Jackson Family Wines and United-Johnson Brothers of Alabama; Max and Lorayne Cooper Foundation; Protective Life Foundation; UAB Medicine; American Cast Iron Pipe Company; Brothers Recycling; Children’s of Alabama; Cory Watson Attorneys; EBSCO Industries; Level Four Wealth Management; Medical Properties Trust;  Honda Manufacturing of Alabama; Massey, Stotser & Nichols PC; Bank of America, Chad Hagwood; Pete and Cindy Hodo; Highland Commercial Mortgage; KGS Steel, Inc.; Regions Financial Corporation; Renasant Bank; and Dr. Namasivayam Ambalavanan, Dr. Waldemar A Carlo and Dr. Carl H. “Tim” Coghill.

We are also so grateful to the many committee members and volunteers who helped make this event so special for our donors!

See all the photos from the event in our Flickr album!

17th Annual Heart of the House Gala