Sparrow Hospital Guild presents the 86th Annual Charity BallAny event that has been held annually for 86 years must be steeped in tradition. How can any group or organization sustain a fundraising event for all of those years? Especially when that event is a black-tie optional, sit-down dinner and dance, held right here in the Lansing community. Humor me for a minute while I look at the who, what, when, where and why of this special fundraiser. Who: The Sparrow Hospital Guild, a group of 50 civic-minded women who have one common goal — raise funds to support Sparrow Hospital. The Charity Ball is attended annually by 300 plus members of our community. It isn’t an easy task to keep this annual tradition fresh and new each year. However, the Guild chooses a new Charity Ball chair and committee every year, enabling the event to have a totally different look and feel from the previous year. What: Annual Charity Ball; black-tie optional; sit-down dinner and dance. Yes gentlemen, that means tux preferred. Look at it this way, there is nothing hotter than a man in his tux, am I right ladies? Now on to the female attire: we of course, love to dress up and have been practicing since we were little girls. So we put on our cocktail dresses, flowing evening pants and sparkle tops and my favorite, the ball gown. Oops, I almost forgot new shoes, and if they sparkle, bonus! Now it’s off to the Ball, for an evening of food, friends, fun and dancing. When: The Charity Ball has always been the kickoff event of the Lansing social season. Most years the ball has been held in mid-November, but has, on occasion, been held the first Saturday in December (mark your calendars now, next year’s event will be held Saturday evening Nov. 10, 2012). Where: The 86th Annual Charity Ball was held at the University Club of Michigan State University. The décor committee outdid themselves this year, with a unique fall theme and glowing candle light. Historically, Charity Balls have been held at downtown Lansing hotels (many of which no longer dot our skyline), The Country Club of Lansing and Walnut Hill Country Club. Why: Charity Ball is the Sparrow Hospital Guild’s major fundraiser and has been for the past 86 years. All funds raised are donated to Sparrow Hospital for Guild-chosen projects. Proceeds from the 2011 Charity Ball support the Sparrow Cancer Center. Now you know what makes the Charity Ball an 86-year tradition in our community? Every Charity Ball is different and unique, each more fun than the last. The theme for this year’s ball was “The Glow of Giving.” Lansing community residents and volunteers, Jim and Judi Herbert, were invited to speak at this year’s ball. The Herberts are both cancer survivors who received their treatment at Sparrow Hospital. After sharing their touching personal story, they asked the crowd to raise the candles on the table, the lights dimmed and we stood together and shared in the “Glow of Giving.” I am honored to have had the opportunity to share in a time-honored tradition, Sparrow Hospital Guild’s 86th Annual Charity Ball. I hope you will join the tradition next year.