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Western Suburb residents attend Top Hat Ball, help raise $350,000

With a small Geoffroy leopard cat in one corner, a zebra in another and a native-African-style dance performance commanding attention in the center of the ballroom, the 18th annual Marklund Top Hat Ball triumphed as a fundraiser, and netted nearly $350,000 for the nonprofit organization.

With its African Adventure theme, the Feb. 1 event blended décor and entertainment with Marklund’s mission of serving children and adults with profound developmental disabilities. Many of the 580 guests at the event, held at the Chicago Marriott Downtown, complemented the theme by wearing animal-print fashions, and enjoyed photo opportunities with a variety of real-life animals including an albino python, macaws, chinchillas and a desert fox.

“Everyone seemed to really enjoy this year’s Top Hat Ball, and amazed all of us with their generosity,” said Gilbert Fonger, president and CEO at Marklund. “We are so grateful that they chose to take part in our largest fund-raising event of the year, and help us achieve our mission to ‘make everyday life possible for individuals with development disabilities.’”

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