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Summa Health 20th Sapphire Ball 

Akron's premier fundraising gala shines light on the lifesaving care of the Summa Health Neuroscience Institute 

Reflecting the sparkle of its namesake gem, the 2023 Summa Health Sapphire Ball dazzled as guests celebrated Akron’s 20th premier philanthropic gala at the John S. Knight Center on Saturday, September 23.

Sponsors and guests from across the region donned their finest black-tie apparel to support the Summa Health Neuroscience Institute and other key clinical programs of the health system. Delivering award-winning care at multiple locations, the Institute’s dedicated neurology and stroke teams provide the highest quality, compassionate care when every second counts. 

Raising more than $14 million in its lifetime, the Sapphire Ball helps to advance clinical excellence and strengthens lifesaving programs for Summa Health patients throughout the health system since the very first gala in 2001.

Throughout the star-studded night, guests enjoyed fine dining and delectable desserts with dinner music provided by local musicians of the Theron Brown Quartet. The 20th gala was topped off by very special entertainment from Starship, featuring Mickey Thomas.

Gary and Rhonda Didado, longtime philanthropic leaders in the Akron community, represented Summa Health as the honorary chairs. 

For his second year, Don Rife served as the fundraising committee chair, leading a group of 18 volunteers and community leaders focused on fundraising efforts.

Physician chair was Susana Bowling, M.D., medical director of the Summa Health Neuroscience Institute.

Next year’s Summa Health Sapphire Ball is scheduled for October 5, 2024. For more information, contact Nikki Hawk at 330.375.3548 or

More about the Sapphire Ball


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