Betty O’Neill-Roderick

Twenty-four lovely young ladies made their debut at the 111th Charity Ball held at E.J. Thomas Hall on Saturday evening.

Cyndy Myer chaired the event, sponsored by the Women’s Board of Akron Children’s Hospital, to honor volunteerism in the community. Kathy Lane and Tammy Gersman were co-chairs.

Children’s Hospital President Bill Considine and his wife, Becky, greeted more than 600 guests, along with Myer and her husband, Dr. Tim Myer, and University of Akron President Luis Proenza and his wife, Theresa.

Proenza said he was happy to have the Charity Ball back at the university after 38 years at Goodyear Hall.

Susan Berk, president of the Women’s Board, was excited about the change in venue. “When you up and move, you change the event,” she said. Her daughter, Kim, who made her debut last year, said it was fun being a spectator, and “a lot less nervous.”

One charming guest was the Myers’ 4-year-old granddaughter, Lily Taylor, who arrived with her American Girl look-alike doll, and her parents, Melissa and Luke Taylor. “But why can’t I be presented?” Lily asked, and she was assured her day will come.

At the Charity Ball Timeline, Barbara Musci pointed out her photo from her 1976 debut to Tyler and Jonathan Dietrich as they awaited the presentation of her daughter, Olivia. Musci’s mother, Mary Ball Gorman, was also looking forward to the presentation, while Dr. Norm Christopher said he looks forward to presenting his twin daughters at next year’s ball.

Renee Schroeder said her daughter Morgan had many surgeries at Children’s Hospital after she and her husband, Brad, adopted her from China, “and now she’s a debutante,” her proud mom said as she looked over photos with her daughter Addy. Another deb, Adrienne Rose Trecaso, spent 57 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the hospital after her premature birth.

Doug and Pat Bigelow, whose four daughters were all debs, awaited the presentation of granddaughters Kelsey Baumgardner and Megan Dunphy. “Kelsey’s a little nervous since she’s the first in line for the presentation,” said her mother, Tracie Baumgardner, as she waited with her sister, Cheryl Dunphy.

The design team at Pieter Bouterse Studio created a stage setting reminiscent of a Paris scene for the presentation of the debutantes, each a vision in white as she curtsied on the arm of her presenter. Behind the scenes, Taste of Excellence prepared to serve an elegant buffet following the presentation.

John and Bonnie Childs celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary at the event. Also enjoying the party were Terry and Debbie Steel, Mary Briggs, Dr. Art and Eileen Benson, Manuel and Karen Nackes, Joe and Jean Marchetta, Gary and Susan Weiss, Ron and Susan Kirksey, and Janis Worley.

In the spirit of volunteerism, the debs made blankets and replenished the Project Linus blanket supplies at Children’s Hospital at the Thanksgiving coffee in November. The Charity Ball was expected to raise more than $70,000 for Akron Children’s Hospital.