Friends of Mercy prepares to host 86th annual ball


For more than eight decades, the Friends of Mercy Hospital have kicked off the holiday season with their annual Mercy Ball, a celebration of the care provided by Catholic Health’s Mercy Hospital to the surrounding communities.

Friends of Mercy Hospital, which has been in existence for nearly 90 years, is composed of men who have volunteered in support of projects that advance the medical and surgical care of the hospital’s patients.

On Saturday, more than 400 people are expected to attend the 86th annual Mercy Ball at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury.

Rockville Centre Mayor Francis X. Murray will receive the Bishop John R. McGann Lifetime Achievement Award this year, which is presented to a distinguished volunteer who has raised funds through the Friends of Mercy to advance the level of care at the hospital.

“I am truly humbled by this recognition and award,” Murray said in a statement. “Mercy Hospital and its staff continue to be a big part of our community and consistently provide tremendous service and care to our residents. It is where I and so many of my family members were brought into this world. They will always have a special place in my heart. I am grateful and thankful for all the good they do and the fact that we can always count on them for the well being of our village.”

Two other awards will be presented at the ball. Dr. Aleem Ali will receive the Theodore Roosevelt Award for Outstanding Achievement, presented by the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council to an individual who has contributed to the development of Long Island’s community hospitals, in the spirit of the renowned president’s lifelong devotion to public service.

In addition, Helen Helkowski will receive the Sister Mary Nadine Casey, CIJ Award, which honors a member of the Mercy staff who best personifies the values of the hospital and the Congregation of the Infant Jesus, whose members founded it in 1913.

The proceeds from the Mercy Ball will help support two new facilities coming to the hospital, the Pain Management Center of Excellence and the new state-of-the-art Pre-Surgical Testing Center, both of which are expected to open in next year.

“We are looking forward to a successful Mercy Ball as we celebrate over 109 years of quality health care to the community,” Friends of Mercy President Michael Boranian said in a statement.

Murray will also serve as one of the chairs of the event, along with Gloria DiSciullo, of Muttontown.

One of the ball’s annual traditions is the presentation of the Mercy Honor Guard, which is composed of high school students, who escort the Grand March of dignitaries into the ballroom, preceded by a color guard from the U.S. Marine Corps, and are then presented to the bishop. Following the program, guests enjoy dinner and dancing.

This year marks a return to normalcy after virtual celebrations were held in the interest of caution during the pandemic. For tickets, sponsorship opportunities and complete event information, go to, call (516) 705-2618 or email