World Series Ring Sale Puts BID Needham Gala Over the Top
BIDMC Contact: Margaret Pantridge
The sale of a 2004 Red Sox World Championship ring put the 2005 Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham gala over the top with the highest-ever proceeds to support women's health programs at the hospital. The sale of the ring took place in an unscripted and electrifying moment during the pre-dinner live auction at the November 4 "It's Magic" gala in the Newton Marriott Hotel ballroom. Paul Levy, president and chief executive officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, had planned to auction off a week's possession of the ring, which the Red Sox gave BIDMC after the Sox' World Series victory last year because it is the team's official hospital. Levy was strolling among the tables to show off the ring and the bidding was at the $3,000 level when a man in the audience motioned auctioneer Paul Zekos over for a brief conference on the mound. Zekos then announced that the man wished to make a bid not to borrow the ring, but to buy it. Bidding rapidly escalated until Levy accepted the man's offer of $100,000. The mystery man was businessman Woody Tanger, who lives at Sunny Hill Horse Farm in Needham, owns classical radio stations and is the author of several mysteries. Levy said he was delighted to sell the ring to raise funds for women's health programs at the medical center's Needham affiliate. "This is one of many ways the Red Sox' 2004 World Championship has benefited the community," he added. Proceeds were $280,000 for the entire evening, which also included a silent auction and quickie boards. This is the highest amount raised in the event's seven-year history, and more than twice as much as last year's proceeds of $115,000. Sponsorships and advertising in the gala program were both up over 40 %. "The gala committee really hit the cover off the ball this year," said Jeffrey H. Liebman, president and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham. "We are very grateful to the volunteers and staff and our colleagues at the medical center who made the event a huge success." Event Chairman Suzanne Heffernan said proceeds will be used to enhance the hospital's oncology, surgery and imaging facilities for women. The latter include recently installed digital mammography and bone densitometry equipment.