MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center Foundation celebrates 50th anniversary at Spring Gala with a $1 million special announcement

From enchanting cocktails on the lawn to a jaw-dropping electric flash mob, nearly 400 guests experienced the lifesaving power of philanthropy at MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center Foundation’s Spring Gala, presented by Acrisure. The fundraising gala was held on Saturday, April 20, at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach and was filled with surprises in celebration of Saddleback Medical Center’s 50th anniversary.

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Photos courtesy of John Riedy

(L-R) Laguna Beach residents Gary Levine, M.D., and Dawn Levine, along with former Laguna Beach residents Sarah Nederlander and Brooks Johnson

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Spring Gala Chairs Adam Himelson, partner at Acrisure Southwest Region and his wife Laura Himelson

Generous donors gave $707,000 – the most ever raised at the gala – to benefit Saddleback Medical Center’s mission of improving the health and well-being of individuals, families and their communities. Guests celebrated the special announcement of a $1 million gift from Jagtinder “Paul” and Anju Dang to establish the Jagtinder and Anju Dang Endowed Scholarship and Education Fund by MemorialCare President and CEO Barry Arbuckle, Ph.D.

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Jagtinder “Paul” and Anju Dang, owners of Orange County MRI, gifted $1 million to establish the Jagtinder and Anju Dang Endowed Scholarship and Education Fund at MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center

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Raise a toast

Dressed to the nines in tuxedos and gowns, attendees enjoyed a step-and-repeat champagne wall, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres on the Pacific Lawn before making their way into the ballroom. The tables showcased centerpieces that mixed Art Deco, glitz and glamour, accented by gold and lush feathers. Throughout the evening, guests struck a pose in front of The Wall of Memories: a historical journey of Saddleback Medical Center’s legacy of caring for the community, beginning in 1974.

At the start of the three-course dinner, the audience was thrilled by a flash mob performance by students from the Orange County School of the Arts.

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Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach

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(L-R) Matt Kimmel (Board Chair – SMCF), Christy Ward (President – SMCF), Marcia Manker (CEO – SMC), Kelli Kimmel with Wyatt, Abbey and Hudson Kimmel

Christy Ward, president of MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center Foundation, alongside chairs Adam Himelson, partner at Acrisure Southwest Region and wife Laura Himelson, warmly welcomed and thanked the guests. Saddleback Medical Center CEO Marcia Manker, reminisced about the hospital’s 50 years of compassionate care for the community, sharing a video featuring a grateful patient story from the Kimmel family.

Seventeen years ago, Kelli Kimmel gave birth to triplets prematurely at 29 1/2 weeks at The Women’s Hospital at Saddleback Medical Center. Today, these triplets are thriving teenagers. The Kimmels expressed gratitude for the ongoing care and support received at Saddleback Medical Center for their family over the years.

“Every patient who walks through our door has a story,” said Manker. “Through good times and difficult times, we are here for them.”

Then the auctioneer kicked off the live auction where spirited bidding arose. Bidders won items and experiences including a Los Angeles Angels VIP package, two-night getaway at the Montage

Los Cabos, a Ladies’ Day Out experience, VIP access to BeachLife Festival and more.

After the auction, Brandi Cassingham, MSN, RN, vice president of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer, shared how nurses are the frontline heroes and heartbeat of the hospital.

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Laguna Beach residents Nora Evans, M.D., and husband Edward Mousally, D.D.S.

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Laguna Beach residents and Platinum Sponsor Doris Law and David Law, M.D.

“Whether our nurses are putting a patient at ease before their open heart surgery or organizing a 73rd birthday celebration for an ICU patient, they are caring for our patients day in and day out,” said Cassingham. “Our nurses go the extra mile when delivering the care our community deserves.”

Cassingham also shared how the Fund-a-Need will benefit the Nursing Education Simulation Lab, including the acquisition of a new SimMan, SimWoman and SimBaby, which are integral to the professional development of the frontline heroes.

“The specialization of nursing and patient care is changing rapidly,” said Cassingham. “These lifelike ‘patients’ simulate various medical conditions and emergencies such as heart attack, stroke and childbirth. They provide an opportunity for clinicians to practice performing procedures, diagnosing illnesses and managing emergencies without risking patient safety. This builds confidence and critical thinking skills.”

The stories shared moved numerous attendees to raise their paddles during the Fund-a-Need and give a total of $108,000 for the Nursing Education Simulation Lab.

As the gala grand finale, Arbuckle shared that Paul and Anju Dang, owners of Orange County MRI, were gifting $1 million to establish the Jagtinder and Anju Dang Endowed Scholarship and Education Fund at Saddleback Medical Center. As guests raised their glasses to toast this monumental announcement, this moment marked the ideal end to an evening filled with celebration.

“The Jagtinder and Anju Dang Endowed Scholarship and Education Fund will help build the expertise of nurses and hospital staff, supporting them in their career growth as they serve our patients,” said Arbuckle. “Paul and Anju’s generosity to this community will be felt for many years to come.”

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Spring Gala 2024 Sponsors:

–Presenting Sponsor: Acrisure

–Platinum Sponsors:  Alvarez Enterprises, Dr. and Mrs. David C. Law, Tom Rogers & Sally Anderson, and Resa Evans and David Theil, Turner Construction Company

–Gold Sponsors: Alignment Health & Dawn Maroney, Farmers & Merchants Bank and Farmers & Merchants Trust Company, O’Connor Mortuary

–Silver Sponsors: Argyros Family Foundation; California Anesthesia Associates; Dr. and Mrs. Tong Chiang, Epic; The Geidt Family; Greater Newport Physicians MemorialCare and MemorialCare Medical Group; Cathy Han, MD; Dr. and Mrs. Gary Levine; LifeLine Ambulance; Dr. Martin and Laurie Louie; MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center Medical Staff; OC Surgeons; Pediatrix Neonatology & Maternal Fetal Medicine; SCA Health; South Coast Radiological Medical Group; UnitedHealthcare; Vituity and West Coast University.

To learn more about supporting Saddleback Medical Center through the foundation, call 949.452.3724, or visit

To learn more about MemorialCare, go to

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