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Wednesday, Nov 29, 2023

Ballad Health Foundation presents annual Night of Hope and Miracles; proceeds benefit Niswonger Children’s Hospital

Healthcare advocates recognized with 2023 Inspire Award

Night of Hope and Miracles 2023

Ballad Health Foundation’s Night of Hope and Miracles returns to Kingsport for a cozy, ski resort-themed evening that will support the future of healthcare in the Appalachian Highlands.

This year’s gala will transform MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center into an upscale ski village beginning at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2, complete with holiday-themed cocktails, a silent auction and delicious food. The event also features an experience room that showcases future plans for Niswonger Children’s Hospital and includes actual items used every day in the neonatal intensive care unit.

“We’re thrilled to return to Kingsport for another magical year, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome our guests to this ski village for the Night of Hope and Miracles this year,” said Jack Simpson, president of Ballad Health Foundation. “Our teams have been hard at work creating an exciting and immersive experience for guests, and I know we’re all counting down the days until we can treat our guests to a cozy evening at the lodge.”

Tickets can be purchased at Individual tickets cost $150 each and include dinner, complete with specialty cocktails and dessert, and VIP tables can be reserved for $1,600 and include eight guests, as well as two bottles of wine and a charcuterie board. Attendees – donning holiday cocktail attire – will check in at registration upon arrival.

Guests can also participate in a silent auction throughout the evening, which will include a new heat pump with installation fees covered, a ski trip to Aspen, Colorado, an Alaskan cruise, a trip to Mexico and a 6-foot tiki hut with an umbrella. The auction will conducted via an app that provides a convenient way for guests to check and make new bids throughout the evening.

“The Night of Hope and Miracles is always a night to remember, and the best part is, it’s about local kids,” Simpson said. “Every dollar raised from this event goes right back to the community, to the children’s hospital that we are so fortunate to have in the Appalachian Highlands.”

The evening’s festivities will include the reveal of this year’s Ballad Health Niswonger Children’s Network raffle winners, courtesy of Champion Chevrolet of Johnson City. Four winning tickets will be drawn during the event, including the grand-prize winner, who will win a 2023 Chevrolet Colorado. The second, third and fourth drawings will win $2,500, $1,500 and $1,000 respectively.

Raffle tickets are still available for $50 each and can be purchased by visiting or by calling 423-302-3131 until noon on Dec. 2. Winners must be at least 18 years old, and they do not need to be present at the drawing to win.

“Our teams work very hard to enchant our gala guests each year, and the reward for us is the generosity of this community,” Simpson said. “Through the support from our sponsors and every individual who’s ever given even a dollar to one of our fundraisers, we can ensure the future is bright for everyone in the region.”

Ballad Health Foundation names 2023 Inspire Award recipients

Introduced at the 2022 Night of Hope and Miracles, Ballad Health Foundation’s Inspire Award highlights individuals or couples who demonstrate the highest degree of commitment to advancing the mission of Ballad Health and the overall cause of healthcare in the region through philanthropy, advocacy and voluntary action. This year, Ballad Health Foundation is presenting two Inspire Awards during the festivities.

Barbara Allen is a local business owner with a long history of supporting healthcare in the Appalachian Highlands. Outside of her professional career as the general manager of a family-owned storage warehouse company, Allen spends much of her personal time serving on several boards, including Appalachian Christian Camp and the Southern Appalachian Ronald McDonald House, a resource that has benefitted more than 15,000 families since 1997. She received Milligan University’s Leader in Christian Service Award in 2002, and she earned the East Tennessee State University College of Business and Technology’s Horizon Award in 2006.

Additionally, Allen became a crucial and trusted voice on the legacy Mountain States Health Alliance board of directors, where she not only served as chair, but on various subsidiary boards and committees. Allen became a foundational voice that led to the creation of Ballad Health, and her extensive service record earned her a position on the health system’s very first board of directors.

“It’s not an understatement to say Barbara’s impact during that time led to the success of Ballad Health, and we’re honored to decorate her with another well-earned award to celebrate her long service to healthcare in this community,” Simpson said. “Her contributions to the region will be felt for generations to come.” 

Gary and Marilynn Peacock have both served on the Smyth County Community Hospital Trust for many years, hosting an annual gala to support Smyth County Community Hospital. Marilynn’s creative vision leads to a memorable event every year, and Gary spends months sourcing sponsorships and donations to support the event.

Gary has served on the Smyth County Community Hospital board since 1994 and has chaired the board for the past 20 years. He also served on the inaugural Ballad Health Board of Directors in 2017, where he served as finance committee chair and helped guide the health system to its success today. Although he has completed his board tenure, Gary continues to be a fierce advocate for Ballad Health.

When Niswonger Children’s Hospital opened in 2009, the Peacocks also donated the stained-glass kites that still hang in the lobby, enshrining the hospital’s message of hope and healing.

“We are incredibly fortunate that we have some of the most generous folks in the world living right here in the Appalachian Highlands,” Simpson said. “This award recognizes the hard work of everyone who is nominated, as their dedication and advocacy will shape this region for decades and decades.”

Gala benefits Niswonger Children’s Hospital expansion

Proceeds from ticket sales, sponsorships and auction items directly support the expansion of Niswonger Children’s Hospital.

“There’s so much to look forward to for the future of healthcare in the Appalachian Highlands, and our hospital expansion is going to open so many doors for families in our region,” said Chris Jett, CEO of the Niswonger Children’s Network. “Ballad Health Foundation is constantly seeking opportunities and generating support so every child has access to the comprehensive, quality healthcare they deserve.

“We have a lot of exciting things on the horizon, and events like these serve as a reminder that the community is behind us 100%.”

The expansion will include the J.D. Nicewonder Family Perinatal and Pediatric Institute, which will create a regionwide opportunity to serve children with complex medical needs, ensuring more families can receive specialty care close to home. The addition of the institute will also ensure more coordinated care between multiple specialists, while also providing a clearinghouse for public educational service and participation in research and training.

The Niswonger Children’s Network Night of Hope and Miracles is made possible through community sponsors, including Citi, Hard Rock Casino Bristol, ETSU Health, KVAT Food City, Eastman Credit Union, Bank of Tennessee, First Horizon Foundation, Hancock Daniel, Bass Berry & Sims, Humana, Delta Dental, Paragon Anesthesia, First Bank & Trust, Truist, Baker Donelson and PYA.

Night of Hope and Miracles event tickets, details and additional information are available at More information about the Niswonger Children’s Hospital renovation and expansion is available at