ChildServe's 12th Annual Bubble Ball Event is Out of this World!
Each spring, ChildServe, a specialty pediatric healthcare organization, hosts its signature gala fundraiser and one of Greater Des Moines’ (DSM’s) most unique events. After all, who else is hosting a themed runway show production with designs made out of bubble wrap?
It all started as the result of an idea our friends Soozie McBroom and Jim Willer teamed up 12 years ago. Their goal was to create a signature event to heighten awareness of ChildServe. It was the 50th anniversary of bubble wrap in 2010, and their creativity led to ChildServe’s first-ever Bubble Ball.
The Bubble Ball in 2022
Here we are today, with more than 50 local artists who have come together to create designs in accordance with our 2022 theme — Out of this World. At our event each year, attendees are treated to a meal while enjoying musical entertainment, special performances and unique surprises. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, April 2 at 7 p.m. at the Iowa Events Center.
Please know, the success of our event would not be possible without our fantastic leadership team that helps bring our vision to life. The creative process and logistical magic is led by Sarah Dornink, Tracy White, Sara Herman and Sarah Mowery. We owe our tremendous gratitude to presenting sponsor Sammons Financial, as well as our event committee co-chairs Cathy Lacy and Tom Stewart, who along with the entire committee, work with our donors and corporate sponsors to ensure an even larger impact each year.
Best of all, our efforts and enjoyment support pediatric healthcare for Iowa children with special healthcare needs. In fact, since its inception in 2011, Bubble Ball has raised over $3,000,000 to benefit new programs, equipment and services for children who receive services through ChildServe.
But before I tell you about our focus for this year’s event — I’d like to share a little more with you about our organization.
ChildServe is a specialty pediatric healthcare provider for children and young adults with special healthcare needs. We provide more than 30 services to over 5,200 children in Iowa each year. ChildServe’s services are interwoven and streamlined, so families can get many of their child’s needs met in one location. Our key focus areas include: pediatric rehabilitation, complex medical care, autism and behavioral health and community-based services.
We often hear when families, guests and community members come through our doors, we have something so magical at ChildServe you can feel it. While some may say it’s our breadth of services for children of all ages and abilities, we know it’s a combination of the children and families we serve, our skilled team members who believe in the spirit of every child and our commitment to partner with families to help children with special healthcare needs live a great life.
Now, back to Bubble Ball. At this year’s Out of this World event, we will be fundraising for new, state-of-the-art equipment for our new unit — JoJo’s Pediatric Rehabilitation Unit. While ChildServe has been providing inpatient pediatric rehabilitation services since 2007, we now have a new unit that houses the only freestanding, comprehensive pediatric inpatient rehabilitation program for children and young adults in the state of Iowa. With the unit opening this summer, we are fundraising for additional technology and equipment to ensure the most successful and efficient recovery for children and young adults who have experienced medical conditions related to brain injury, spinal cord injury, orthopedic rehabilitation, burn and wound care and even post-NICU care for infants after they leave the hospital.
Specifically, the evening of the event we will ask supporters to help us fund the Bioness Vector System — a transformational, state-of-the-art rehabilitation tool that provides the powerful gift of hope — by helping children and young adults learn to walk again.
The Bioness Vector utilizes a ceiling-mounted robotic trolley and rail system with 52 feet of track. From there, a child or young adult is connected to the system, using a harness to support his or her weight as the individual relearns to walk. The system allows children and young adults practice walking and balance training while the technology offloads part of their body weight. The system also detects and prevents falls before they happen, keeping children safe and increasing their confidence. The Bioness Vector is an instrumental piece of equipment that can help children recover from a car accident, stroke, or illnesses that affects the spinal cord and brain, such as spina bifida, cerebral palsy or seizure disorders.
And, it is our pleasure to share that, with the generous support of our donors, ChildServe will be the first pediatric provider in Iowa to offer this technology to children and families.
We hope you will join us this spring as we enjoy an Out of this World experience and continue to transform lives through pediatric specialty healthcare.
The Greater Des Moines Partnership calendar of events is a one-stop resource for activities taking place throughout the region. Find networking information for Greater Des Moines (DSM) businesses or events specific to Downtown DSM.
Erica Axiotis serves as VP of development for ChildServe. In her role, Axiotis leads philanthropic efforts for the ChildServe Foundation, including major, planned and endowment giving; annual giving; special events, including the signature Bubble Ball; capital campaigns; grant programs; as well as donor recognition and stewardship.