The ever-popular Harcourts Foundation Butterfly Ball, which raises money for the babies of the Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital, is gearing for another big night out with the usual rush for tickets already underway.
The ball, which will be held at the Brisbane Hilton on November 18, will this year celebrate “the Cherry Blossom” a Japanese culture that goes back many hundreds of years.
Gail Headley, Community Development & Engagement Manager at the RBWH Foundation said the cherry blossom represented the “fragility and the beauty of life” and was a reminder that life is almost overwhelmingly beautiful but that it is also tragically short.
Which sums up what the ball is all about. The funds raised go to support the Perinatal Research Centre to ultimately achieve better outcomes for mothers and babies and help purchase vital pieces of equipment for the RBWH Neonatal Unit.
Last year the RBWH Neonatal Intensive Care Unit admitted over 1620 babies to the unit.
A Night under the Cherry Blossom will include a delicious three-course sit down dinner and drinks package with live entertainment, auctions and raffles.
Bridget Gabites from Harcourts, who chaired the ball committee for the last three years, is particularly pleased with the “fantastic raffles and silent auctions” planned for the night, giving guests the opportunity to take home some wonderful items.
“The incredible Auction team at Harcourts Queensland always puts on a great show while helping to get some incredible items sold, including international business class flight, accommodation, jewellery and artwork,” said Bridget.
“We have an amazing time each year, meeting new people, reconnecting with attendees from previous years, dancing, chatting, bidding on prizes, It’s one of my most favourite nights of the whole year.”
This will be the fifth year that at the Harcourts Foundation has been the main sponsors of the ball.
“It’s a pretty special partnership with not only the sponsorship but also many of our team members and suppliers buying tickets to and supporting the event each year and our auction team running the live auction, said Bridget.
“Harcourts Group and the Harcourts Foundation feel privileged to play a small part in the support of improving survival rates of the smallest in our communities, the babies.”
Gail said her favourite part about the Butterfly Ball was watching a group of like-minded people come together and have fun celebrating new life and the challenges while raising significant funds.
She said working for the RBWH Foundation has been extremely rewarding, knowing how much it helped Queensland’s new-born.
She pointed out that 12% of all babies born at the hospital were premature with 6% actually born more than 12 weeks premature.
“Many of these babies have to stay in hospital for around 10 – 20 weeks and last year the RBWH Neonatal Intensive Care Unit admitted over 1620 babies to the unit,” she said.
“Research is important in discovering how the brain wiring is laid down in babies and what goes wrong to cause conditions and determine how nutrition affects the wiring and test new treatments to prevent seizures.
“ The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit specialise in management of sick and preterm babies with the likes of the RBWH Milk Bank and Neo RESQ neonatal retrieval services which transports over 450 critically ill babies each year from all over Queensland.”
Gail said that since the first Butterfly Foundation ball 10 years ago, there had been a decrease in birth-related injuries thanks to monies raised by the Butterfly Ball.
“They have discovered approaches to prevent stillbirth, to protect the sick babies’
brains, and to optimize the environment to prevent seizures and brain damage in babies,” she said, adding the hospital’s ongoing goals included giving all babies the best start in life, be that through groundbreaking research or the purchase of up-to-date equipment during their treatment.
Asked what she would say to someone who is on the fence about going to the Butterfly Ball, Gail said: “ Everyone in Queensland has a connection to a newborn. This could be yourself, a friend, a family member and many of those babies will be premature. This is your opportunity to have a great night whilst supporting and helping give Queensland’s tiny ones the best possible start.”
Asked the same question, Bridget replied: “Apart from it being a fantastic night, babies are the most fragile of our community and when they are born prematurely or with birth related injuries through absolutely no fault of their own I believe they deserve as much help and support as we can possibly give to assist not only their survival but also improving the kind of life they can live.”
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