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Sweetheart Gala benefits hospital

Event benefits hospital cardiac care services in the SCV

Posted: February 17, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 17, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Left to right, Harold Petersen, Dianne and Wayne Crawford and Jacquie Petersen dressed in Valentine's colors for the Sweetheart Gala presented by SCV Women and Men of Honor to benefit cardiac care services in the Santa Clarita Valley.(Michele E. Buttelman/The Signal)

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Love was in the air Feb. 9 in the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Valencia as nearly 200 guests gathered to raise funds for cardiac care services at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital in Valencia.

Guests began their gala experience with “Sweetheart” photos taken on the red carpet with a flower heart framing each couple.

A trio from the Jimmy Carnelli Band entertained guests during the cocktail hour.

The full Jimmy Carnelli Orchestra offered guests the opportunity to dance to standards and Big Band era favorites.

The gala guests responded by crowding the dance floor after the official Sweetheart Couple Moe and Linda Hafizi took the floor for the first dance.

Linda Hafizi has served as the president of the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Health Foundation board.

Jean Marie Stewart, from Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, offered a few words of advice to the guests prior to the fund-a-need solicitation for donations.

“My first bit of advice is to get a dog,” she said.

Stewart said walking helps reduce blood pressure and walking a dog will get people to take walks.

She also advised guests to know their blood pressure numbers and to stop smoking.

Henry Mayo recently expanded its cardiovascular services to include a broad range of cardiac care services.

Cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons at Henry Mayo have a new state-of-the-art surgical suite and operating room that can now accommodate advanced open heart surgery, heart valve replacement and other heart-related surgical procedures, in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Guests were asked to donate during the fund-a-need portion and the hospital raised more than $10,000 from guests.

The event also featured live and silent auctions.

Marlee Lauffer, a friend the Hafizis, paid tribute to the couple as they were honored.

“We know that Moe and Linda’s love of the hospital is why they agreed to be the 2013 Sweetheart Couple,” Lauffer said. “Our love of Moe and Linda is what got us here on a Saturday night.”

A standing ovation was given to the Hafizis. The Hafizis then took the podium and paid touching tribute to each other.

“I am so glad that you chose us to be the sweetheart couple,” said Moe Hafizi.

He described how the couple met at a dance club and fell in love.

“I just want to thank everyone for being here tonight,” said Linda Hafizi. “The entire night has been so special, we will never forget it.”

She told the crowd “I fell in love with him on the dance floor in 1975 and I can tell you that tonight I love him more than then,” she said tearfully.

As Linda Hafizi dabbed at her eyes the crowd applauded and gave the couple a second standing ovation.

mbuttelman@signalscv.com

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