The Emerald Ball was started four years ago by the Oilfield Wives and Girlfriends, a local nonprofit, looking for a way to to back their Relay For Life team.
Relay For Life is a charitable event put on by the American Cancer Society. At the event, teams from all different backgrounds —families, support groups and businesses — join together to raise funds for research and awareness to save lives from cancer. There is no set dollar amount, but each team is then encouraged to to have a fundraising event.
The Emerald Ball was a small idea at first, but has turned into a grand occasion for the Oilfield Wives. The event started out with about 75 attendees the first year and has gradually increased each year.
This year’s event will be at the Williston Recreation Center, from 7 p.m. to midnight. Tickets are on sale now to the public, age 21 and older, at Williston Curves, C Cup Express, Love is in the Hair and Bride to Be. There will also be a few tickets left at the door, available for purchase the night of the event. For more details email OFWWilliston@gmail.com.
“We set a goal of 200 a year,” Heidi McCormick said. She is a committee member. The group has a committee of five and between 20 and 30 members. The ladies split into three committees, to divide the responsibilities for the Emerald Ball, and spend hundreds of hours on the event to make it a special occasion.
Last year, they donated $6,325 and this year hope to be on track to donate as much or more. They were able to offset floral costs of this year’s ball by donating their time to deliver flowers for Shepard’s Garden during their Valentine’s Day rush.
This year’s Emerald Ball will host more than 100 members of the community dressed in their finest formal wear. Behind all the glitz and the glam, however, remains a very serious cause — the fight against cancer, a disease that has affected many of the OIlfield Wives and Girlfriends personally.
McCormick lost her grandmother when she was in junior high to the disease.
“It was really hard for me,” she said. “My aunt had it twice and survived. On my husband’s side his father passed away at a young age, just a year after we were married. There have been other family members who have battled cancer as well. Most of them have fought it and won, but not all of them.”
MCCormick is not the only one in the group with such a story to tell. Most of the members have been affected in some way by the disease, which strikes 1,665,540 people each year, according to the American Cancer Society.
The Emerald Ball is a great event for a great cause, McCormick said, but it only happens with the generous donations of cash, silent auction items, as well as advertising from community businesses, with 100% of proceeds donated to Relay For Life.