Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Gala Sells Out Early, Adopts Old Shanghai Theme

By Jenny Berg May 12, 2011, 2:40 PM EDT

Photo: Dan Rest

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago's Medicine Ball
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Paper umbrellas, golden statues, and a Chinese-candy buffet filled the Peninsula Chicago on Friday night for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago's Medicine Ball, which had a “Night in Old Shanghai” theme.

Chairs Karie Katz and Christine Nappo worked with women's board coordinator Babette Nyka to plan to fund-raiser, which sold 450 tickets—even before invites were mailed out. Part of the draw, Nyka said, was due to the new location. “People were really excited to attend an event at the Peninsula,” she said. “That is the feedback we heard.”

Katz and Nappo based the theme on perceived parallels between the Chinese city and the Rehabilitation Institute itself. “Like the transformation of the city of old Shanghai in the 1930s into the cutting-edge city it has become today, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago continues to evolve and explore the possibilities of rehabilitation medicine in the 21st century,” they wrote in their introductory letter to the program. 

Kehoe designer Tara Murphy gave the gala its exotic look. Three different tabletop designs included mirrors with custom cherry-blossom graphics, sepia images of Shanghai streets, and vintage Chinese lanterns. Bars got Chinese tassels and bamboo backdrops, and Chinese characters for “hope” and “strength” appeared in patterned lighting on the walls.

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