"Shall We Dance" was the theme of this year's Friendship Ball, the annual benefit for the Western Pennsylvania Hospital Foundation held Saturday at the Westin Convention Center Hotel. First up were Andrew Pueschel and Amanda Wolf of the Absolute Ballroom Dance Center, competitive dancers whose glitzy costumes (Ms. Wolf's was studded with Swarovski crystals) and dazzling expertise gave guests a glimpse of how it should be done. Then came the energetic young students from Bell School of Irish Dance. For the guests there was Cityscape, a great dance band.
Close to 350 guests perused the silent auction items before dinner. When the call came to be seated, the fragrance from the summery white blossoms designed by Allison McGreary was intoxicating. So was the hot asparagus cream soup, roasted sweet potato salad, filet mignon and black cod with sweet chili.
With WPXI-TV's Alby Oxenreiter and Rich Walsh as emcees, the bantering began. Guests were welcomed by board chair Sandy Usher (with Tom and daughter Lauren), foundation president B.J. Leber (with Jeff) and Dawn Gideon, VP and chief of hospital operations for the West Penn Allegheny Health System. Also introduced was Greg Burfitt, the new (as of Feb. 1) president and CEO of AGH, AGH Suburban and West Penn.
The evening was chaired by Dr. M. Lori Certo Rossetti and her husband, Dr. James Rossetti. This year's ball showed an increase in attendance and a total that rose above the projected $125,000. A live auction and a special raffle of a Swarovski crystal cuff and evening bag helped.
Among the guests were Laurie and Dr. Christopher Olivia, CEO of West Penn Allegheny Health System, Dr. Alan Lantzy and Dr. Christine Roman, Dr. John and Lynne Lister, Mary Beth and David Johnson, Merry and Dr. Stanford Kurtz, Kevin Altomari, Bob and Lisa Pompeani, Linda Dickerson, Dr. Sukhdev and Elisha Grover, Debra and Dr. Bradley Heppner, Guy and Cheri Jackel, Dr. Tom and Ramona Julian, Wendy O'Brien and Dustin Ferrero.
First Published February 16, 2010 12:15 PM