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Each year, a program, center or other important project/initiative, such as a scholarship or a clinical/research program, at UMass Medical School or UMass Memorial Medical Center is selected as a beneficiary of proceeds raised during a special segment of the live auction: the Fund-a-Need. Here's a look at the beneficiaries.

2019: Pediatric Cancer Care and Research

2018: Cochelar Implant Program

2017: UMass Memorial Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

Babies born prematurely can weigh under a pound at birth.

They are fragile. They can experience respiratory distress and lose body heat rapidly. They are at risk for anemia and jaundice, as well as gastrointestinal and heart problems. Their underdeveloped immune systems put them at risk for infection. For some, life can be tenuous.

Full-term babies may also have complications that are life-threatening. They may have trouble breathing or be diagnosed with birth defects. They may have critical medical conditions resulting from illness or difficult deliveries.

These babies need expert care, informed by the latest research, in an innovative, internationally recognized neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) with the best technology available.

These babies, and their families, need the UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center NICU.

2016: Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders (CANDO) Clinic

According to national surveys, approximately 11 percent of children ages 8 to 11 and 22 percent of teens ages 13 to 18 suffer from a mental illness. In addition, the rates of certain neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD and autism have been increasing over the past few decades. Yet only half of youth with a mental illness receive any behavioral health treatment.

Defined as disabilities associated with the functioning of the neurological system and brain, neurodevelopmental disorders are numerous, and include ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities, intellectual disability and other developmental delays, as well as significant mental health disorders including psychosis, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders. Difficulties with behavior, emotion regulation, language and speech, sensory processing, motor skills, learning, memory and more can result, which can adversely affect a child’s intellectual, social-emotional and physical development—and, thus, his or her ability to cope and thrive within the family, school programs and community.

Diagnosis and treatment are critical, particularly for youth diagnosed with multiple mental health conditions, as they are more susceptible to social pressures or bullying, impulsive behavior, poor problem-solving skills and depression. These are all risk factors for suicide, which is the second leading cause of death in teens—and rates in the U.S. have been on a steady rise since 2007, increasing by a staggering 140 percent for youth ages 10 to 14.

Nearly $250,000 was raised for the CANDO Clinic at the 8th Annual Winter Ball. This is the highest amount raise for a Fund-a-Need recipient, and will be matched by an anonymous donor.


2015: Transplant Patient Assistance Fund

Because many transplant patients—both living donors and recipients—encounter financial hardships as a result of their illness or organ donation, the UMass Memorial Transplant Patient Assistance Fund (TPAF) was created to provide financial relief for those patients and their families in need to ensure stability and continuity of care. TPAF provides short-term assistance with expenses such as groceries, transportation, utilities, rent, unexpected car and appliance repairs, and medical equipment not covered by insurance.

Pledges of more than $200,000 were made at the seventh annual Winter Ball. This support ensured that future UMass Memorial transplant patients—recipients, donors and those awaiting transplants—and their families will be able to keep their focus getting and maintaining essential pre- and post-operative care.


2014: Craniofacial Anomalies Clinic

The Craniofacial Anomalies Clinic at UMass Memorial Medical Center treats children and adults with skull and facial deformities, such as cleft lip and palate. Nearly $200,000 was raised in 2014 to help families with expenses not covered by insurance during their children’s treatment for cleft palate and other birth defects of the head and face. This video, shown during the 2014 event, highlights the services of the Craniofacial Clinic and its impact. 


2013: Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders (CANDO) Clinic 

The CANDO Clinic provides access to comprehensive clinical services for children with autism spectrum and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Established to address the rising prevalence of autism spectrum disorder, which now touches one in 50 children, the clinic offers evaluation and treatment services for children with complex needs who are otherwise unable to obtain stabilizing treatment or have long waits to receive services from other centers outside the region. Care and services are provided by an interdisciplinary team of specialists from UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care. went toward matching funds for a $500,000 donation from an anonymous family. 

More than $150,000 was raised during the 2013 Fund-a-Need auction to support CANDO; that money went toward matching funds for a $500,000 donation from an anonymous family.


2012: Endowing a scholarship at UMass Medical School to support the caregivers of tomorrow

The 2012 Fund-a-Need established an endowed scholarship at UMMS to make an exceptional medical education accessible to many bright, deserving students from across the commonwealth. In doing so, this scholarship would enable these future doctors to focus on their educational and professional goals rather than on the debt they will have to one day repay, which will serve to advance and safeguard the health and well-being of our communities for years to come. More than $150,000 was raised, fully endowing the scholarship, which was named for John O’Brien, former president and CEO of UMass Memorial Health Care, to acknowledge his commitment for giving back. Mr. O'Brien retired in early 2013. 



2011: Family comfort packages for the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit 

To significantly enhance the environment of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) so that our young patients and their attentive families can focus on healing. The comfort packages were to will include sleep aids (noise-reducing headphones, sleep masks and appropriate bedside sleeper chair/sofas), comfort aids (rocking chairs, adjustable bedside stools, lamps, new furniture in family lounge and a blanket warmer for the unit) and improved communication tools  (care team update boards, a parent paging system and electronic care plan system).  


dedicated breast CT2010: Dedicated breast computed tomography (CT) scanner

In 2010, our researchers were part of an elite group of scientists worldwide studying breast imaging technologies, including a new technique called dedicated breast computed tomorgraphy (CT). It was considered by many to be one of the most promising avenues in the broader search for better breast cancer screening and diagnostic tools.

Dedicated breast CT is different from conventional mammography in that it creates a three-dimensional view of the breast, rather than the compressed two-dimensional view. In addition to eliminating the compression from mammography that most women find uncomfortable, this new technology has the potential to increase the rate of detection of breast cancer, decrease false positive results and improve treatment strategies. 

More than $100,000 was raised at the Winter Ball to help pay for this clinical diagnostic equipment, which was, at the time, only available for research purposes. In order to conduct clinical trials, UMass Medical School had been using part of its federal research funding to support the University of Rochester for the use of its experimental breast CT system, one of only four sites in the world to house this type of equipment. 


ACC 2009: Ambulatory Care Center (ACC)

A seven-story, 258,000-square-foot patient care and research facility shared by UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care, the Ambulatory Care Center (ACC) unites patient care and medical research teams in an effort to accelerate the translation of research discoveries into new and more effective treatments. In 2009, the Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation of California awarded a $12.5 million challenge grant to support capital and programmatic initiatives within the ACC. Funds raised by the 2009 Winter Ball Fund-a-Need auction and the 2010 event were matched by this grant.

A collaborative effort between UMMS and UMass Memorial, the ACC was designed to allow physicians, nurses, researchers and other members of the care team to work collaboratively under one roof, combining their varied and broad expertise for the benefit of patients who require seamlessly coordinated care among specialists.