Friends Gala celebrates $1 million milestone with 5th annual event

Saint Francis Foundation's fifth annual Friends Gala was held earlier this month, drawing 500 people to the Drury Plaza Conference Center in Cape Girardeau for a night of food, fun and philanthropy.

The foundation recently announced this year's festivities raised more than $315,000 to benefit the CancerCare and CardiacCare Funds through the health care system's foundation. This year's total dollars raised surpassed the $270,000 goal, and over the five years the event has raised more than $1 million.

Funds raised over the last four years have helped more than 10,000 cancer patients and nearly 500 cardiac patients, according to the news release.

Becky Peters of Cape Girardeau attended the gala for the first time this year and told Southeast Missourian reporter Nicolette Baker why it is important.

"Everyone, at some point will experience a need, either in their own life or in their family, or their friend," Peters said. "Not everyone has access, so the goal is that we will all have access to great medical care, and Saint Francis is leading us in that."

Of course since the gala, our American way of life has, hopefully briefly, changed dramatically due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). People are working from home. Events are being canceled. And businesses are trying to find alternative ways to deliver the products and services many depend on. The quote from Peters is all the more true. People will need help, and funds raised from events like the Friends Gala will continue to be important. Cancer and heart disease don't take a day off.

Congratulations to the Friends Gala committee on a tremendous event with a cause, and thank you to everyone who attended and supported the mission.