Aspen Polo Club gives the hospital foundation a boost |

Aspen Polo Club gives the hospital foundation a boost

Deborah Breen and Sally Sakin
Guest Commentary

There is a common media image of Prince William sitting gallantly on a beautiful horse, polo mallet raised high, with a caption underneath saying something like “William graces this year’s Children in Need Charity Polo Tournament.” Charity and polo go hand-in-hand in Great Britain, in part because polo is a much loved sport in England.

Here in the United States, polo is not considered a typical American sport. In the Roaring Fork Valley we are accustomed to traditional charity events, but now we can merge polo with charity fundraising. We can crown Marc and Melissa Ganzi king and queen of charity polo in the Roaring Fork Valley. Once again, Melissa and Marc have set a new high standard. Not only have they elevated the Aspen Polo Club to the fastest growing polo club in the country, but they also see the wonderful benefits of using this incredible outlet to collaborate with the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation.

With the support of Chukker TV, Melissa and Marc provided the setting for Chukkers, Champagne and Caviar, the very first charity polo fundraiser to benefit important programs, services and facilities at Aspen Valley Hospital. The event was a tremendous success. The tournament, also known as the Mount Sopris Cup, was the Aspen Polo Club’s most well attended single day this summer. It included a silent auction with fabulous items donated by community merchants, local vendors selling beautiful hats, printed silks, and polo wear, fine dining for ticketed VIP guests through the help of Caribou Club, Clark’s Market and Grey Lady, a grooms race saddling and unsaddling their mounts, cookie decorating and face-painting for the kids, many chukkers of polo, and terrific opportunities for socializing with friends — both old and new. The Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation could not have done this without the support of so many businesses, volunteers and committed staff members from both the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation and Aspen Polo Club and, of course, none of this would have been possible without the Ganzis having the vision to do a special day of polo that was dedicated to the hospital.

The players added to the festivities and to the overall fundraising success by allowing themselves to be auctioned off between matches to individual high bidders. And what did those high bidders receive? A little kiss on the cheek, a photo opportunity with their player and the extreme appreciation of the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation for their support! The spirited auctioning ended in the highest bid going to Lauren Sherry of Los Amigos — a local player and clearly a fan favorite!

Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation is in a multi-faceted development program with a $60 million capital campaign in its sights. The campaign progress has now topped the $36 million mark and will support the hospital’s extraordinary $172 million Master Facilities Project. With Phase I and II complete, the hospital has moved into construction of Phase III — the phase that will house The Resnick Family Emergency Department, a trauma treatment suite, a roof-top helipad, diagnostic imaging center (including a new MRI), and a state-of-the-art surgical suite. This year, with 125 years of history behind it, Aspen Valley Hospital stands on the brink of completing new and much-needed facilities. We can feel success at our fingertips.

The Ganzis’ support is helping Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation communicate one simple message: consider making a gift today that will support the health care needs of our community tomorrow. We thank everyone who made this wonderful day possible.

Deborah Breen is president of the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation. Sally Sakin chaired the event.

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