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Imagine Ball 

American Cancer Society

Story by Emily Adams Keplinger | Photos by Don Perry 

The American Cancer Society (ACS) held its 2019 Imagine Ball at the Children’s Museum of Memphis. Hundreds of community and corporate supporters came together to raise money for ACS and its Harrah’s Hope Lodge. The event was co-chaired by Ann Marie Heaslett and Jill Finkey Lucchesi.

The evening began as guests mingled in the Carousel Pavilion for a cocktail reception, with Nelson and Newman providing musical entertainment. Appetizers of lollipop chicken and bacon-wrapped dates were passed as attendees circulated between tables to bid on silent auction items, The event’s theme “The Big Top” came to life as fire twirlers and a stilt walker set a carnival atmosphere. A dancer suspended in an inflatable ball performed acrobatic-like feats, and a palm reader told fortunes for all who entered her tent. Additionally, Phancy Photo Booth offered zany props for guests to use while having their pictures snapped as event mementoes.

As the program began, gala-goers found their places for a seated dinner catered by Horseshoe Casino. Jeremy Park served as emcee for the event and welcomed the crowd to the gala. The 2019 Imagine Ball honoree was Ricky Busey, Regional Vice President of Human Resources for Caesars Entertainment in Tunica, MS. Recognized as a big advocate for the American Cancer Society Harrah’s Hope Lodge, Busey called the facility the “Statue of Liberty for cancer patients.”

As part of this year’s celebration, guests were able to pay special tribute to someone with a Star of Hope. Each dedicated star, in honor or in memory of a loved one touched by cancer, was placed on one of the horses of the fully restored 1909 Dentzel Grand Carousel.

Brett Strobbe served as the auctioneer for the event’s live auction, spurring on bidding wars for items like a Wine Cellar Five-Course Dinner for 10, a vacation in Mexico, a trip to St. James’ Club Antigua, and a Iive action painting by Joseph Boyd. Also up for bid were two cage side tickets, along with a pair of MMA gloves and the chance to present the championship belt for V3Fights. As the program came to an end, Bob Nelson & Natchez brought guests to their feet to dance the night away.

The 2019 Imagine Ball was presented by Horseshoe Hotel & Casino Tunica. Other event sponsors included West Cancer Center, Baptist Memorial Healthcare and Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare. The evening’s proceeds will be used to support Harrah’s Hope Lodge, the ACS’ home away from home for cancer patients who travel to Memphis to undergo treatment.


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