Even Henry Grady turned out for the 125th birthday party for the hospital that bears his name.

Sure, it was Henry Grady III, the great-great-grandson of the promoter of the New South whose downtown statue faces east toward Grady Memorial Hospital. But Grady’s appearance helped set a festive mood for the more than 800 people packed into the Georgia Aquarium’s Oceans Ballroom on Saturday night, March 18.

The seventh annual White Coat Grady Gala raised a record $1.8 million for the Grady Health Foundation, whose president is Renay Blumenthal. The seven-year total for the event is $9.3 million.

“This year’s gala received an unprecedented level of support from companies, individuals and foundations who give because they believe in Grady’s mission,” Blumenthal said. “What a wonderful way to celebrate the 125th anniversary of a storied Atlanta institution that saves and changes lives each and every day.”

Candy Berman worked nonstop throughout the night to keep the program running smoothly.

In addition to recorded video messages from politicians (Gov. Nathan Deal, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue, Congressmen John Lewis, Hank Johnson and David Scott) and community leaders (Bernie Marcus, Arthur Blank), the celebration welcomed people whose lives have been saved by Grady and the doctors and nurses who cared for them.

Those stories included a teen girl burned over much of her body in a car accident, a police officer with multiple life-threatening injuries after a motorcycle accident, an AIDS patient and a baby born at another hospital who would have died without Grady’s neonatal specialists.

Another Grady baby, former Health and Human Services Secretary Louis Sullivan, was among the dignitaries at the event who were highlighted during the evening.

The after-party featured the music of physician band Phrenzy, with Emory Healthcare CEO Jonathan Lewin sitting in with Marcus Stroke & Neuroscience Center head Michael Frankel and others.

One of the highlights was the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to seven Grady physicians who have practiced medicine at the hospital for more than 40 years and have more than 300 years of collective experience:

  • Al Brann, professor of pediatrics for reproductive health and perinatal care at the Emory University School of Medicine.
  • Joel Felner, associate dean for clinical education and professor of medicine in cardiology at the Emory University School of Medicine.
  • Michael Lubin, professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine, who did not attend the gala.
  • Sidney Stein, chief of hematology and medical Oncology for the Grady Health System.
  • William Torres, vice chairman for clinical affairs and chief of radiology at Emory University School of Medicine.
  • H. Kenneth Walker, professor of medicine and neurology at Emory University School of Medicine and executive director of Partners for International Development.
  • Nanette Wenger, professor of medicine in cardiology at Emory University School of Medicine and a pioneer in research in women’s heart disease.

“These physicians have collectively treated hundreds of thousands of patients while training tens of thousands of residents and new physicians who are now practicing and teaching in Georgia and around the world,” Blumenthal said. “Honoring them is one small way we can thank them for the incredible contributions they have made to the medical profession and over 300 years of combined service they have given to Grady.”

The gala was co-chaired by UPS Chairman and CEO David Abney and his wife, Sherry, and PNC Bank Regional President Eddie Meyers and his wife, Jan. TV journalists Monica Kaufmann and Linda Stouffer emceed the event, and entertainer Jasmine Guy narrated videos about Grady’s history.