Delaware Today magazine Gabby: Social column about the sixth annual Night at Nemours to benefit Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in Rockland
Always a Night to Remember
Held on the historic grounds of Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in Rockland, a baby lamb chop toss from the stately landmark carillon, Night at Nemours has earned a reputation as a don’t-miss event. This year, at the sixth annual event, benefactors sipped Champagne, nibbled fried oysters and rubbed shoulders to raise money for an expanded emergency department in the hospital’s new patient pavilion.
Ajit George and his wife Sarah Brown paused among the silky, sequined women and tuxedoed men, sipping martinis a la James Bond, to contemplate the beauty of the green grass underfoot and the azure sky above. “Who can possibly image a more impressive setting for enjoying a drink than next to the Nemours carillon?” George asked.
Roy Roper, CEO of the Blood Bank of Delmarva, no doubt felt his pulse quicken when he beheld his wife, Mary, the epitome of elegance in a svelte black halter-top gown with crystal detailing at the bodice. Martha Mackenzie, a member of the committee that planned the dazzling event, reinvented the sari, translating intricately printed fabric into a slim wrapped skirt with a train.
Among the abundant A-listers were Gov. Jack Markell and first lady Carla Markell (divine in a floaty black frock with spaghetti straps), Jack Varsalona, Wilmington University president, and Nemours’ dapper new CEO Kevin Churchwell, whose stylish wife, Gloria, turned heads in a black-and-silver ensemble.
Maria Mockbee of Chadds Ford, Pa., was movie-star gorgeous in a flowing white gown with scarlet, appliquéd flowers. (Stephen Mockbee, CEO of Bancroft Homes, earned husband points for color coordination with the red polka dots in his bow tie.) The celebration holds special significance for the Mockbees, who attend every year. “My son, Matt, had lymphoma when he was 13,” Maria says. “We know what a wonderful place this is and want to do all we can to support the hospital’s mission.”
The happy ending: Matthew Ryan Kohler, now 27, is healthy and thriving as a physician, pursuing his residency in New York City.
On their way home, guests were invited to take a living party favor: a seedling, brought in from the grounds of the neighboring Nemours Mansion, a verdant reminder of the healthcare system’s continued growth.