Gift of Love Gala raises $210,000 for children and teens with life-threatening illnesses

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More than 300 guests attended the inaugural Canuck Place Children’s Hospice Gift of Love Gala at the Ramada Plaza Abbotsford on February 7 to help raise money for end of life care.

And raise money they did.

The gala, presented by Aldergrove Financial Group, Envision Financial and Prospera Credit Union raised over $210,000.

Gala co-chairs, Jennefer Vanderpol and Yasmin Alibhai, led an incredible community evening that brought significant support and leadership to the fundraising event.

The Abbotsford MEI Screaming Eagles marching band opened the night, which was emceed by Breakfast Television co-host Riaz Meghji.

The inaugural Gift of Love Gala kicked off with the MEI Screaming Eagles – a high-spirited 80-musician marching band from Abbotsford .

The inaugural Gift of Love Gala kicked off with the MEI Screaming Eagles – a high-spirited 80-musician marching band from Abbotsford

Surrounded by brightly decorated tables and chairs with bold fuchsia accents, guests enjoyed a performance by nine-year-old singer Tyson Venegas, as they dined on a three-course dinner, including roasted yam and coconut soup, peppercorn crusted New York strip loin, pomme puree, roasted potatoes, port and black current au jus and a dessert of triple decadence torte, crème anglaise and fresh berries.

Canuck Place chief executive officer Margaret McNeil shared highlights of the provincial clinical care provided to more than 560 children with life-threatening illnesses and their families through two provincial locations – Vancouver and Abbotsford.

“For all of the kids and families in this province who need our care, the Fraser Valley community powerfully demonstrated their support at the Gift of Love Gala to help us continue the complex clinical care these children and families so desperately need,” said McNeil. “Our spirits are lifted by the overwhelming response.”

Shelley Besse, President, Envision Financial spoke on behalf of the presenting partner.

“Truly making a difference in our local communities means building strong relationships and coming together to find innovative solutions,” she said. “That is why we are proud to have worked in partnership with Prospera Credit Union and Aldergrove Financial Group to support Canuck Place Children’s Hospice for the Gift of Love Gala.”

Honourable Peter Fassbender, Michael and Donna Hillman and Charlene Fassbender joined the over 300 guests for the inaugural Gift of Love Gala.

Honourable Peter Fassbender, Michael and Donna Hillman and Charlene Fassbender joined the over 300 guests for the inaugural Gift of Love Gala

Canuck Place mother and Fraser Valley resident, Amanda Sidhu, took the stage and shared with guests the journey of her daughter, six-year-old Kaitlyn.

“How can someone so small, endure so much?” she asked to the hushed room, seapking of her daughter, who was diagnosed at birth with semilobar holoprosenchephaly – a condition where her brain did not develop normally.

After her first birthday, Kaitlyn was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma – a rare form of cancer – and their already complicated everyday life was made that much more challenging.

In 2011, Kaitlyn and her family were introduced to Canuck Place where the pediatric palliative clinical care team managed her pain and symptoms.

Together with Amanda, father Robert, and siblings, Sean and Brittany, the Sidhus were able to reconnect and rest through medical respite stays and counselling at Canuck Place.

Today, Kaitlyn continues to receive pain and symptom management at Canuck Place in addition to recreation and music therapy and counselling.

“We savour life and live in the moment,” said Sidhu. “The many positive experiences we have had together were made possible by Canuck Place.”


 

Canuck Place Children’s Hospice is British Columbia’s recognized pediatric palliative care provider. Over 560 newborns, children and teens with life-threatening illnesses and their families receive care from CPCH through outreach programs and two provincial hospice locations; Vancouver and Abbotsford. Services include clinical respite and family support, pain and symptom management, 24-hour phone consultation support and in-house clinical care, art and education, recreation therapy, grief and loss counselling and end-of-life care. Through the investment of the community, our talented team, and over 325 energetic volunteers we make a lasting difference in the lives of children and the families who love them. www.canuckplace.org

 

Images: Submitted

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