Hollywood Glamour Gala Ball Raises £90,000 For Ventilator Appeal

Rockinghorse Ball

The Grand Hotel in Brighton played host to a night of glitz and glamour on Saturday 13 October for the 2018 Rockinghorse charity Ball.

Sponsored by DMH Stallard, the Hollywood-themed event welcomed over 400 guests to the annual fundraiser, which included entertainment from the charismatic ‘Frank & Dean Show’ and big-band ‘Down for the Count’, with guests enjoying a taste of classic la la land music until the early hours.

Those attending The Rockinghorse Ball included The Mayor of Brighton & Hove – Councillor Dee Simson – and MasterChef 2018 winner Kenny Tutt. The cookery champion donated an auction prize with one lucky winner being treated to a delicious three-course meal cooked by Kenny himself at the winners’ home, for up to 10 people.

The prize received a flurry of bids and went for an impressive £2,500, which quickly doubled to £5,000 after the auction prize received huge interest from guests and was awarded to two lucky winners.

During the evening, an incredible £90,000 was raised for the charity’s ventilator appeal. Rockinghorse is raising funds to provide the High Dependency Unit (HDU) at The Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex) in Brighton with additional non-invasive ventilation systems.

The state-of-the-art ventilators teamed with the innovative Optiflow breathing systems (also funded by the charity), can effectively treat children admitted to the Alex with respiratory issues.

To support the appeal, parent and Rockinghorse supporter, Johanna Zakiewicz, delivered a touching and inspiring speech explaining how the ventilators helped saved the life of her daughter Aya Willow last year.

Born on 16 July at the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) in Haywards Heath by emergency C-section, Johanna’s daughter Aya Willow suffered from severe Meconium Aspiration Syndrome, caused by a long and difficult labour. She was put into an induced coma for 10 days while doctors in three different hospitals battled to save her life.

Addressing the room, Johanna said: “When we tell people our story they say we were unlucky, but I know better – we are the lucky ones – our daughter Aya is now a healthy one-year-old. She is here because of the actions of some very special people at the Princess Royal Hospital, the Trevor Mann Baby Unit, Great Ormond Street and the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital.

“Aya spent four weeks on a ventilator in the Alex and it breaks my heart to imagine the choices having to be made by staff when they don’t have enough ventilators for all the children who need them. Rockinghorse wants to ensure that such choices never have to be made.”

Money raised at the Ball will enable the charity to purchase an additional five ventilators for HDU at the Alex.

Ryan Heal, Chief Executive of Rockinghorse children’s charity, said: “Thanks to the incredible support received at the Ball, we have been able to reach our fundraising target to purchase more potentially life-saving ventilators for the High Dependency Unit at the Alex.

“This exceptional amount not only enables us to purchase the five ventilators outright, but the surplus from the event will be donated towards our other existing projects at the children’s hospital. We are so proud to be able to deliver on this hugely important appeal, none of which has been possible without the amazing support from our sponsors and guests on the night.”

To find out more about Rockinghorse and the work they do to support sick children in Sussex, visit www.rockinghorse.org.uk