Great Barrington — Fairview Hospital celebrated its 2017 gala event with 700 supporters Saturday, Sept. 16, at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. Four hundred attendees joined gala honoree Dr. Joseph Gold, an ophthalmologist and member of Fairview’s medical staff, for a buffet dinner under a tent with tables decorated in gold by local designer Carrie Herrington. Guests enjoyed the sounds of Gold’s jazz quartet, Release the Penguins, led by Dr. Brian Burke, chief of Fairview’s medical staff.
Dinner attendees then joined an additional 300 supporters at the Mahaiwe for a sold-out performance by comedian Paula Poundstone. Before Poundstone took the stage, local producer Ben Hillman presented “The Gold Standard,” a short video telling Gold’s Berkshire story and featuring patients and colleagues discussing the impact of his care at Fairview.
Following the video, hospital leaders welcomed the audience. Fairview’s president Eugene Dellea shared the story of Gold’s concerns about moving his medical practice from Long Island to Great Barrington in 2002 and Dellea’s assurance that Gold would receive, thanks to Fairview’s gala the state-of-the-art technology he needed to conduct cataract surgery.
Gold then arrived on stage to thunderous applause and accompanied by Dr. Adrian Elliot, chief of Fairview’s emergency department. Both doctors described the impact of the community’s support on the front lines of care at Fairview and the awareness and appreciation shared by the entire hospital staff. “This is an incredible honor for me,” said Gold, “but it is really about Fairview Hospital and all the people who I work with at the hospital.”
Poundstone, who had been backstage during the pre-performance presentation, was introduced by Gold and emerged onstage saying, “The doctors here are so good, I think I may jump off the stage” and “The next time I need a hospital in L.A., I’m going to tell the ambulance to drive me to Fairview!” From there, Poundstone proceeded to draw the audience into a 90-minute performance that left little time to breathe between jokes.
Noted for her uncanny ability to create a true standup act through audience engagement, Poundstone used her quick wit to draw in and connect comments, stories and comparisons with audience members who unwittingly responded to a prompt and found themselves in ongoing banter with the star. “She was the best ever!” said audience member Carrie Mack, a Fairview case manager who was among those Poundstone drew upon for inspiration.
The gala is Fairview’s largest annual benefit, raising over $250,000 for the hospital. Proceeds will be designated to the diagnostic radiology department, enabling Fairview to upgrade a second radiography room and make the department fully digital. “Having this kind of state-of-the art technology allows all of us at Fairview to do the very best for our patients,” said Gold.