Three speakers – and the groups they represented -- enjoyed a much-deserved moment in the spotlight at the Luke Award presentation ceremony on Jan. 18 at St. Luke’s Boise.
CH2M, Ronda Conger and the Boise State Dance Marathon were all honored for their extraordinary commitment to fundraising efforts for the St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital.
Each year the award is presented by the St. Luke’s Health Foundation and St. Luke’s Children’s Advisory Board to recognize individuals and businesses or organizations for extraordinary fundraising efforts for St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital.
And while the honorees were being recognized for their work, they spent much of the evening heaping praise back upon St. Luke’s. Indeed, it was an evening of mutual admiration.
Recipients shared that appreciation as they accepted their awards.
Mark Bowen, vice president and area manager of CH2M, which has donated over $240,000 to St. Luke's since 1984.
Gesturing to the fellow employees in attendance, Bowen said: “These folks have spent countless hours of dedication in supporting St. Luke’s. We are passionate about St. Luke’s and what St. Luke’s does. It’s all about people … both the patients and the people who provide the care. And we feel absolutely honored to be in that chain.
“If you’ve had a loved one, or been in the care of St. Luke’s, you know what an invaluable asset this is in our community. Our employees, time and time again, don’t even question contributing to that commitment of the overall mission of St. Luke’s. … We appreciate the partnership.”
Ronda Conger, vice president of CBH Homes and a board member of St. Luke's Children's Hospital. CBH Homes has donated more than $40,000 in charitable giving and sponsorships, and Conger has donated countless hours as an advocate and volunteer for the Children's Hospital.
“St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital has given me so much, and I have wanted to give back as much as I could,” Conger said.
Conger held back tears as she relayed a story about her son, Cooper, who stopped breathing shortly after being born at St. Luke’s.
“We spent the next three weeks in ICU, and they resuscitated him two more times,” Conger said. “After three weeks it was time to leave the ICU, but the doctors and nurses said, ‘Hold up, Sailor. You need to learn infant CPR before you can leave this building.’ I said, ‘Game on. My husband and I, we’ll do it.’
“Thank God. Thank the hospital, thank the doctors, thank the nurses. Because three weeks later … my son stopped breathing and I had to resuscitate him with the CPR I learned at St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital.
“Spoiler alert. He’s 16 years old now, and he’s sitting right there. … So, you can understand why I’m so passionate about St. Luke’s Hospital. My love runs deep.”
Drea Burton, immediate past president of Boise State Dance Marathon. This was the first year a Luke Award went to a non-profit organization. The Boise State Dance Marathon has raised $372,000 for St. Luke’s.
“In the first year of the event, they raised $5,000. … In Year Five, we raised $151,000,” Burton said of the event, which takes place at the end of February each year and features 17 hours of non-stop dancing.
“It’s truly an incredible event,” Burton said. “We’ve had kids come straight from the hospital to our event, and then all of a sudden everyone is dancing. Everyone is like, ‘Is that real? Are they supposed to be doing that? Should we have them sit down?’ … It’s just an awesome thing to experience. It will bring tears to your eyes.”
Burton said the goal for this year’s event is to raise $190,000.“We’re not going to stop,” she said. “We’re going to continue to dance for … all of the kids.”
Chris Langrill is a writer and copy editor for the St. Luke’s Communications and Marketing department.