Guests Sip and Shop at 2018 Medicine Ball

The Junior Board of Christiana Care decided the time was right to shake things up and offer a new idea for this year’s Medicine Ball. So, this year they scratched the seated dinner in favor of a gift show and cocktail reception for their signature annual gala.

With no prior gift show planning experience, a team of volunteers pulled off something pretty remarkable on April 26th, bringing more people to the fundraiser and generating more money than ever before (about $85K), all while having a ball planning something uniquely different. With a guest count topping 450, each of the rooms at the Christiana Hilton in Newark was filled with happy shoppers who enjoyed browsing items by 37 vendors offering food, home goods, handcrafted jewelry, clothing, and more.

“It was a fabulous event. Best turnout than we have had for many years,” said Diane Thomas, who chaired the committee. “We just knew we needed to think outside of the box. And what was supposed to be a small fundraiser became a large and incredibly successful one!”

The ticket price for this year’s event dropped to $50 per person (down from $125), and that seemed to attract people who never before had added. One of their goals was to appeal to more women from their 300-person strong membership.

“We had many Junior Board members and they brought their family and friends. And even though we only charged $50 per ticket, many of our patrons contributed more, and that really helped our bottom line,” said Thomas. The Junior Board organization raises funds and volunteers for Christiana Care.

Thomas also said it was the strong effort and attention to detail by a group of ‘exemplary volunteers’ which spelled success on the big night. “We worked for a solid year, and our volunteers gave their heart and soul. We covered every gift show we could have in the Tri-state area (to look for exhibitors). It takes a huge commitment of people.”

Volunteers included:

Denise Bunk 


Judy Legge 

Barbara Burd 


Karen Maurer 

Angela Case 


Georgianna Riley

Kaye Crouch 


Diane Thomas 

Carol Dehorty 


Karen Tichenor 

Chris Frysztacki 

Peggy Tracy 

Ann Kappel 


JoAnn Vahey 

Kathy Keogh 


Linda White

Judy Kirlan


Some of the more popular vendors were those who sold food, which included things like flavorful cheeses, popcorn, nuts, chocolate, beer, wine, cider, olive oil, and caramels.

This year’s beneficiary is Wilmington Hospital’s Dental/Oral-Facial Surgery Clinic, which provides underserved individuals with free dental care. Delaware is only one of three states where Medicaid does not cover dental benefits.

Typically, the Junior Board manages one large fundraiser every other year. But enthusiastic feedback has organizers considering the possibility of a similar event in 2019.  “It was a real learning experience for us,” said Thomas. “We’re thrilled about how well received our efforts were.”

Photos by Blonnie Brooks of David & Blonnie Photo and Cinema

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