Hundreds support Beloit Hospice fundraiser

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Austin Montgomery/Beloit Daily News Doves and Diamonds benefiting Beloit Regional Hospice drew out hundreds for its 15th annual celebration with a night of dancing, good bites and basket prizes.

BELOIT - Hundreds came out Saturday to celebrate the work of Beloit Regional Hospice, with the group's 15th annual Doves and Diamonds gala soaring to new heights.

This year's event got a special twist, with countless hospice staff and volunteers coming together to fold 5,000 paper doves to go along with the year's theme of peace.

According to BRH Executive Director Deidre Bennett, that amount of doves closely mirrors the number of patients that have been helped thanks to funding provided from the last 14 Doves and Diamonds event.

"The symbol of peace is with us at Beloit Regional Hospice every day and it's interesting that we did 5,000 doves because initially that was just an arbitrary number we had picked starting out," Bennett said. "But I just learned tonight it represents the number of people we've been able to help with this event."

Beloit Health System CEO Tim McKevett celebrated the entire BRH staff.

"This is about the care they give our community and the peace they give our community," McKevitt said. "None of what we do on a day in and day out basis would be achieved without them."

Medical director Dr. Luann Elezi also thanked the entire hospice team.

"It's you that goes every day and sees those patients and becomes part of the family for those patients," Elezi said.

This year's Spirit of Caring awards went to the Beloit Rib Fest Committee for helping raise around $70,000 in 10 years and Skip's Friendly Village for bringing in a whopping $240,000 in 11 years thanks to their annual hospice breakfast event.

The Gem Shop in Rockton brought the goods, donating a ring and necklace that were auctioned off at the event.

After months of planning, BRH marketing associate Britney McKay said seeing attendees laugh and dance the night away made all the hard work worth it for another fabulous year.

"I love seeing people have a good time," McKay said. "It was so fun to do something new and different in the room tonight with all of the doves and everything like that. It was so cool how we could pull a team of people together to do this. It was no small undertaking. It's so worth it when you see everyone having a good time. We know how important it is to celebrate and have a good time."

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