Some of the attendees at the Kingdor Parkinson Foundation 24th Gala Ball at Baha Mar. Photo: Dante Carrer/Tribune Staff

Some of the attendees at the Kingdor Parkinson Foundation 24th Gala Ball at Baha Mar. Photo: Dante Carrer/Tribune Staff


Tribune Staff Reporter

THE PRESIDENT of the Kingdor National Parkinson Foundation said she was “disappointed” by low ticket sales for the foundation’s annual gala ball on Saturday, saying most people wanted free tickets, preventing the foundation from making a profit.

Mavis Darling-Hill, founder and president of the foundation, created the foundation in 2000 in honour of her father who died of Parkinson’s disease. 

She said the organisation needs funds to do more than just give feedback and educate the public.

She said more hands-on work is needed to help those struggling with Parkinson’s disease.

She said ticket sales for the ball were sporadic and people started showing real interest close to the event. The foundation wanted to sell about 600 tickets to make a profit, but only sold 430. 

“The hotel charges a lot of money for every plate,” she said.

“I had everybody asking for free tickets. You cannot run an organisation like that because somebody has to pick up the cost. Tickets cost a certain amount, bringing the person here costs a certain amount, bringing the flowers. These flowers came from Cambodia, all over the world.”

Initially, the foundation advertised that popular singer Fantasia Barrino would perform. With little to no explanation, the performance act was changed to Grammy-nominated singer Johnny Gill. 

Mrs Darling-Hill declined to comment on the artist switch.

 She said last year’s ball at Atlantis sold 320 tickets.

“I liked the one last year better,” she said. “Even though we did not have an international person we still had the regular people who always bought our tickets. The Super Wash always got tickets from us for the past 24 years. So many of them who bought tickets from us over the years they supported us, individual friends they supported us fully.”

She said next year she will assemble a bigger and better team.

“I’m going to get a group that is willing to assist and not just talk,” she said. “I need people who are going to make a difference, a difference in the lives of Parkinsonians.

Ultimately, Saturday’s event attracted hundreds of people dressed in ball gowns and black-tie suits, a live band, a raffle, and a five-course meal.

Health and Wellness Minister Dr Michael Darville spoke briefly, stressing the importance of educating the public on Parkinson’s disease.

Several people were honoured, including journalist Jerome Sawyer, Captain L Roscoe Dames III, and Leslie Miller. 

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