story by marie mcaden photography by paul nurnberg
Dr. Perry Burrus has seen a lot of changes in the operating room since he performed his first surgery in Beaufort Memorial Hospital’s OR 24 years ago.
“New technology and equipment are constantly being developed,” he said. “You have to stay up to date to provide the best possible care to patients.”
This fall, Burrus will do his part to help make much-needed improvements and upgrades to the facility. The general surgeon and his wife, Sarah, are serving as co-chairs of Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation’s 2018 Valentine Ball benefiting the renovation of the Surgical Pavilion.
“In addition to updating equipment, we’re making changes to improve patient flow,” Burrus said. “It will be a better experience for the patient.”
The physician and his wife are working with co-chairs Laura and Robert Achurch III to plan the 29th annual Valentine Ball taking place Saturday, Feb. 10, at Tabby Place in downtown Beaufort.
“We were blown away and honored to be asked to co-chair the event,” said Sarah Burrus, who met her husband at BMH while working as a social worker in its ICU. “Our love for this hospital goes back a long, long way.”
Sarah was born in the hospital and landed her first job at BMH straight out of college and obtained her master’s degree while working at BMH. Her husband also began his career at Beaufort Memorial after completing his plastic surgery fellowship at the University of Tennessee. Three of their four children were born in the hospital.
Co-chairs Robert and Laura Achurch also have deep connections to Beaufort Memorial and the Valentine Ball.
Robert is Beaufort Memorial’s longtime general counsel. His wife has been a Valentine Ball volunteer since its inception in 1990. Over the years, she has served on several committees, most recently co-chairing the auction committee. The couple also has hosted numerous pre-ball dinner parties at their home.
“The Valentine Ball has become the party of the year in Beaufort,” Laura Achurch said. “It’s a fabulous fundraiser for a wonderful philanthropic organization.”
To date, the ball has raised more than $4.7 million for a wide range of hospital projects, from the renovation of the ER to construction of the Keyserling Cancer Center.
Now in its 29th year, the Foundation’s signature fundraiser will kick off Feb. 9 with a Cocktail Affair in Tabby Place. Kevin and Rosemary Cuppia are serving as honorary co-chairs of that event.
Longtime Beaufort Memorial supporters, the Cuppias have deep roots to the hospital. Rosemary was born at BMH, delivered her three children in its birthing center and was diagnosed with breast cancer at the hospital. The couple served as co-chairs of the Valentine Ball in 1998, the first year proceeds from the fundraiser were earmarked for cancer services.
“Beaufort Memorial is the lifeblood of the community,” Kevin Cuppia said. “So many people rely on the hospital for their health care, whether they can pay for it or not.”
The Valentine Ball will follow the Cocktail Affair Saturday night with pre-ball dinner parties at private residences and a black-tie gala at Tabby Place.