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The 13th Ball with Heart - This year we collected money for the Respite Care Center

Xiii ball with heart johnnybros foundation

The JohnnyBros Foundation has once again supported the organisation of the charity Ball with the Heart, becoming a Diamond Sponsor of the event. The 13th edition of the Ball was held on January 20, 2024, with the aim of raising funds for the Respite Care Centre.

Over 200 guests, record-breaking auctions, romancing with Bulgarian culture through cuisine and dance – all of that taking place on the 34th floor of the Olivia Star office block, offering the breathtaking skyline of Gdańsk. This is, in a word, how the 13th edition of the charitable event Ball with the Heart, organised by the Hospice Foundation, unfolded. The donors did not disappoint, making it possible to generate almost a quarter of a million zlotys from the donations alone. The JohnnyBros Foundation was a Diamond Sponsor of the event, which was once again a major success.

Saturday, January 20. A few minutes past 6 p.m. The glass room located at the very top of the Olivia Star starts filling with guests. The people gathering there are friends of the Hospice Foundation which runs the Father E. Dutkiewicz Hospice and the Respite Care Centre in Gdańsk.

More people take their seats at round tables. On the large stage, lone microphone stands are waiting. In the background, the motto of this year’s ball: “Together, we are strong”. “Although we have been involved in organising the Ball with the Heart for many years now, this year’s event is particularly important for us because the raised money will go toward funding the Respite Care Centre, which opened in September and of which we were a strategic donor”, stated Julian Pawlukiewicz, the founder of JohnnyBros foundation which donated six million zlotys for the construction of the care centre. “We value activities for the local community, and that’s why we will gladly and thoroughly enjoy participating in every action supporting this place”.

johnnybros foundation at the ball with heart auction
Fot. Artur Łopatniuk

It’s important to note that the annual cost needed for the Respite Care Centre to function comes to four million zlotys, and accumulating it is a tough challenge for the Hospice Foundation. “As of right now, there is no systemic financing for respite care in Poland, but we firmly believe that our house’s activities will enable us to change this”. - said Agnieszka Wirpszo, director of the Respite Care Centre, from the stage. “Thank you to everyone present in this room for your support because without it, this centre would have never been established”, she added. “We want you to create heartfelt hospitality with us for all those in need, the same way it’s done among friends”, she appealed to the gathered guests.

This year’s ball was held under the patronage of the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in Warsaw, as well as the voivode of the Pomeranian Voivodeship, the marshal of the Pomeranian Voivodeship, and the President of Gdańsk. Mrs. Margarita Ganeva, Bulgarian Ambassador to Poland, said during her speech: “I took patronage of this ball with great pleasure, especially since it falls on the 105th anniversary of founding the first diplomatic establishment in Poland, and Gdańsk is always open to Bulgaria. I am greatly impressed by the activities of the Hospice Foundation for those most in need”.

The band Iglika allowed the guests to learn about Bulgarian folklore, got everyone dancing, and heated up the atmosphere. However, it was the charity auctions that were the highlight of the event. The minor ones took place off to the side of the main hall. As midnight approached, both the number of entries and the figures on the cards began to rise noticeably. The JohnnyBros Foundation managed to win the auction of Iga Świątek’s sports shirt which became a part of our collection of sports trophies.

iga swiatek and jakub blaszczykowski t-shirts
Fot. Jacek Koślicki / Trojmiasto.pl

However, the auctions conducted by Maciej Miecznikowski, the host of the evening, and Paweł Ryta from the Hospice Foundation, were the most dynamic and thrilling to watch. With passion and persistence, the generous donors bid on such items as a yacht cruise and sailing training under the supervision of an experienced crew, a visit to the European Parliament and a lunch with Magdalena Adamowicz, or a walk around the city with the President of Gdańsk, Aleksandra Dulkiewicz.

But the auction that our foundation was looking forward to the most was the last one, titled “Athletic Surprise”. Two years ago, we were able to get a hold of coach Czesław Michniewicz’s notes from Poland’s championship play-off victory over Sweden, so when a ball autographed by the legendary Bulgarian football player Hristo Stoichkow was at stake, we could not remain indifferent..

The intense auction finished at 25,000 zlotys, and the signed football will now be part of the collection that decorates the walls of JohnnyBros, along with Pele and Maradona’s sports shirts as well as Robert Lewandowski’s shoes. The auctions alone raised a total of 224 thousand zlotys, setting a new record for the Ball with the Heart.

"Every single penny raised during today’s ball ensures a brighter future for the Respite Care Centre and its residents. We strongly encourage everyone to support this innovative and, above all, really necessary venture”, said Julian Pawlukiewicz while summarising the success of the Ball.

Everyone who wishes to give their support is encouraged to make payments to the JohnnyBros Foundation bank account: 21 2490 0005 0000 4530 2438 5795 (with the note: Respite Care Centre) or directly to the Hospice Foundation account: 60 1540 1098 2001 5562 3339 0002.

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