Suit up for Millwood Follies benefit

Event will raise money for cardiology equipment at Mercy

A core group of volunteers dressed for An Adventure to Oz at last year's Millwood Follies. The ladies from left to right are Karen Noack, Denise Miliken, Dana Weaver, Cathy Epps, Kelli Yeomans and Cathy Hallam. Enlargephoto

Courtesy photo

A core group of volunteers dressed for "An Adventure to Oz" at last year's Millwood Follies. The ladies from left to right are Karen Noack, Denise Miliken, Dana Weaver, Cathy Epps, Kelli Yeomans and Cathy Hallam.

Don your best red dress or tie for the 31st annual Millwood Follies, when the community will rally around local cardiac care.

This year, the light-hearted event will be raising money for the Mercy Health Foundation to help buy medical equipment for the cardiology department at Mercy Regional Medical Center.

Jessica Willburn, a junior at Mancos High School, asked if she could spearhead the event this year and focus on raising funds for cardiology because her family has a history of heart disease. The teen is joining a core team of volunteers that includes Karen Noack, Dana Weaver, Cathy Epps and Kelli Yeomans..

"I have a big passion for heart health," she said.

Willburn also had heart surgery when she was 14 years old because her heart rate would exceed normal levels.

Heart health is also a huge national issue. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and it is responsible for a quarter of all deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Willburn and her family have always had a good experience at Mercy Medical Center, and she wanted to contribute by raising money raising money to buy EKG machines, cardiac catheterization equipment, holter monitors and cardiac ultrasound devices.

"New equipment there is really important to make it even better," Willburn said.

In the spirit of heart health, the theme of the Millwood Follies will be a Red Dress and Red Tie Affair and about 12 local area musical talent and comedy acts will provide entertainment.

"The Follies have been dusting off the winter blues for thirty-one years, now with some new, and always a few favorite acts returning each year," said Epps, one of the event organizers.

As always, the Celtic bagpipes will kick off the show at 7 p.m. But Epps encourages people to arrive well before dinner at 5 p.m., because reservations will not be taken.

"It's a lot of fun, it's very festive, jokes and singing, live auction and silent auction, there is something for everybody," she said.

In the early years, the fundraising efforts went toward the Mancos Opera House, and then the Mancos Valley Chorus. In more recent years, fundraising proceeds have gone toward breast cancer awareness, the Mancos Public Library, Chicken Creek Recreation Area, Mancos Elementary School's second graders, and the Centennial Celebration of Mancos High School.

The group has received generous donations from local businesses throughout the Four Corners Region for both silent auction items and door prizes. The silent auction items include weekend getaways, various high quality items from local artists, restaurant gift certificates, and jewelry. The organizers are still in need of donations for the auction items and door prizes.

Door prize tickets will be sold and drawn beginning at 5 p.m. and continue throughout the evening, with tickets costing $1 each or 6 for $5. The event will also be accepting cash donations at five different sponsorship levels ranging from right ventricle at $25 to aorta for $200 or more.

The organizers will be accepting cash donations the night of the event, or in the weeks before, by contacting Willburn at 739-5595. Questions can also be directed to Cathy Epps at 570-1744, Kelli Yeomans at 946-1843 or Dana Weaver at 533-7113. To book an act for the evening, contact Karen Noack at 533-9026.