Lakeland Gala Raises Funds for Robotic Surgery Program
Nov 19, 2014 Share

(ST. JOSEPH) – More than 300 southwest Michigan residents recently attended the annual Lakeland Health Foundation Gala, held at the Inn at Harbor Shores in St. Joseph.

The event’s theme, “A Night of da Vinci Masterpieces,” was inspired by Lakeland’s three da Vinci® surgical robots that are used by specially trained surgeons to perform bariatric, cardiothoracic, general, gynecological, and urological procedures. Through sponsorships, ticket sales, a silent auction, and a raffle, the Gala raised $70,000 to benefit the robotic surgery program at Lakeland.

“We use the phrase ‘da Vinci Masterpieces’ to describe our 900 or so patients who have experienced robotic surgery at Lakeland,” said David Burghart, President of the Lakeland Health Foundations. “We are honored to support this valuable program, and we look forward to seeing many more patients who will experience a better quality of life through this revolutionary technology.”

In keeping with the theme of the evening, guests heard from Benjamin Stockton, MD, Medical Director of Robotics at Lakeland. A video presentation featured patients who had undergone procedures using robotic surgery at Lakeland discussing the benefits of choosing the da Vinci technology, including fewer incisions and a shorter recovery time. 

“As a physician, it’s been amazing to witness the growth of robotic surgery at Lakeland—and even more amazing to see its effect on patients,” said Dr. Stockton. “It has truly changed the experience of surgery for the patient and the surgeon, allowing for safer, more complex treatment.” 

Attendees had the opportunity to try a da Vinci surgical robot on hand for the event. The event also featured live entertainment from The Three Waiters, who surprised the audience with an interactive, operatic performance during dinner served by Plank’s Tavern.

About the Lakeland Health Foundations

The Lakeland Health Foundations are nonprofit organizations with a shared mission to support Lakeland HealthCare by raising philanthropic funding for needs not otherwise provided by the operating budget. The Foundations are governed by volunteer boards of citizens from across Lakeland’s regional service area. Since their inception, the Foundations have received over $35 million to further the goals of Lakeland HealthCare, helping to acquire state-of-the-art medical equipment, facilities, and services. For more information about the Lakeland Health Foundations, call (269) 927-5143 or visit

Family Medicine Physician Dr. Doug Tacket, Dr. Ann Hamel, and Lakeland CEO and President Dr. Loren Hamel 

Dr. Benjamin Stockton, Medical Director of Lakeland’s robotics program, shows guests the da Vinci Xi

The audience was treated to a thrilling operatic performance by The Three Waiters

Lakeland Trustee Emeritus Bill Johnson with his wife, Patt, a longtime Lakeland volunteer


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