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Heartland Cancer Foundation hosted its fourth annual Mardi Gras Casino Royale on March 1 at the Lincoln Marriott Cornhusker Hotel. That evening, nearly 400 guests enjoyed casino gaming, live music, a ballroom dinner, live auction, premium raffle and after-party.

Back by popular demand was the Bourbon Pull, where guests could purchase a bagged mystery bottle of high-end whiskey. Buffalo Trace Bourbon was part of the “pull,” with a large number of bottles that had been hand-selected especially for the Foundation. The barrel was a prize drawn later in the evening.

In the atrium, “Bourbon Street” had been set up, complete with awnings, café-style bistro table sets, dangling jumbo lanterns and street lamps. Tropical trees flanked the sides, while store-front screens stood up over the raffle tables.

Entertainment included magic by LaRue Magic and live jazz by the Darryl White Trio.

Food stations were set up throughout the atrium and included chef-designed tidbits such as duck-fat fries and mini grilled bleu cheese sandwiches with a smear of sweet peach preserves.

The ballroom was decorated to resemble a French restaurant with towering purple-plumed centerpieces and gold candelabras. The tables also held beautiful arrangements of white roses. Patrons could take an arrangement home for a $25 donation to the Foundation.

Master of ceremonies was Dean Wysocki of KLKN TV/Channel 8. The program included a welcome by Jim Essay, HCF board treasurer, recognition of Guild President Becky Dunder, recognition of Kelly Jo and Mark Hinrichs for their outstanding donation in 2018, and a talk by special guest Jessica Shultis, Miss Nebraska 2018.

The program commenced with a live auction performed by Bud Callahan and Wysocki, including a live text-to-donate activity where guests texted their donations onto a live giving screen. Following the program was the after-party, where guests let loose to enjoy casino gaming, live music from Thirty Minute Hangover and tables of gourmet popcorn.

Proceeds from the event totaled $90,000, which will help reduce the financial stress that lower-income cancer patients in our community experience while undergoing cancer treatment. Heartland Cancer Foundation’s mission is to provide immediate and practical assistance to cancer patients so they can focus on healing.

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L Magazine editor

Mark Schwaninger is L magazine and Neighborhood Extra editor.

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