Laughter rocked the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center Saturday (July 22) as six local celebrities took to the stage in hopes of being named “Lee County’s Best Comic.”
By the end of the night, Chris Hansen, Lee Health board member and business development manager of Park Royal Hospital, claimed the title after earning the greatest number of votes from attendees, who voted with their money. Hansen raised $1,874. In total, all of the celebrity comics raised $6,422.
“All of us need to support SalusCare. They do a wonderful job of helping children and adults in our community with mental health and substance abuse issues,” Hansen said.
More than 200 people jammed the art center for “Laughter Is the Best Medicine” and plunked down cash, checks and credit cards to vote for their favorite comic. A total of $65,000 was raised for SalusCare, Inc., the region’s largest provider of behavioral healthcare.
“We’re thrilled with the community’s response to ‘Laughter Is the Best Medicine Comedy Night.’ It shows that folks will come out for a major event in the summer if it’s fun and will benefit a good cause,” said SalusCare Development Committee Chair Sue Ackert.
Funds raised will help provide behavioral health services to children and youth in our community whose families can least afford care. One in 10 children has serious mental health problems severe enough to impair how they function at home, in school, or in the community, according to the National Center for Children & Poverty at Columbia University. Left untreated, mental illnesses can lead to more difficult to treat illnesses and to the development of co-occurring disorders.
Ackert gave special thanks to Professional Comedians Michael Palascak and Pat McGann. Palascak served as emcee and performed his stand-up comedy at the beginning of the evening while McGann performed the grand finale while the votes were being counted. She also commended the sponsors and celebrity comics.
Other celebrity comics for the night were:
● Dayna Harpster, WGCU Expressions Editor
● Frank Mann, Lee County Commissioner
● Cole Peacock, RC Peacock Consulting
● Will Prather, Broadway Palm owner
● Charles Runnells, News-Press Arts & Entertainment Reporter
Bill Smith Appliances and Park Royal Behavioral Health Services were the Headliner sponsors of the event. Lee Health was the event’s Table/Linen Sponsor. Monologue sponsors were Accent Business Products, Assuage Luxury Spa/Dr. Stephen Prendiville, Genoa Healthcare, Leading Edge Benefit Advisors, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Lykes Insurance, Millennium Physician Group, and Vicki and Richard Pitbladdo. The Grand Finale Comic Sponsor was the Marieb College of Health & Human Services at Florida Gulf Coast University. Valet Sponsor was Norman Love Confections.
The News-Press Media Group was the media sponsor.
For more information about SalusCare services, please visit www.saluscareflorida.org or call 239-275-3222.
About SalusCare, Inc.
SalusCare, Inc., is the largest, most comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program in Southwest Florida, serving 16,000 people per year of all ages from seven locations in Lee County. The non-profit organization offers crisis stabilization, outpatient and residential treatment as well as an Employee Assistance Program for about 50 area companies. Most programs are accredited by CARF, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.
SalusCare services are not free. Fees are charged on a sliding scale, based on family income. In many cases, private insurance is accepted. SalusCare is a United Way partner agency.
For more information, call 239-275-3222 or visit www.saluscareflorida.org.