The Canuck Place Gift of Time Gala took place at the Westin Bayshore on Saturday, October 19th. Hundreds attended the gala dinner, silent and live auctions, and heard the words of many inspirational speakers. The evening was filled with celebration for the work that Canuck Place does for BC families along astounding generosity from supporters.
The Westin Bayshore was beautifully decorated with sheer white drapes, fragrant white lilies, floral centrepieces, and warm azure lighting that bathed the ballroom in blue. Each of the eighty tables featured centrepieces that were stamped with hand and foot prints by Canuck Place kids, in collaboration with volunteers, and there was a gift bag at every seat. Inside the gift bag were a few trinkets and tokens of appreciation for attendees including a cool wrap-around leather bracelets that featured some of the inspirational words that were written on placards around the reception area.
As various courses were served for dinner the master of ceremonies, Global BC’s Chris Gailus, introduced pianist Michael Kaeshammer who entertained with his band and was joined at one point by 8 year old Elias Tyson Venegas who belted out a jazzy number. The most impactful element of the evening was the line-up of speakers that included Canuck Place CEO Margaret McNeil:
“When people find out where I work, they often pause and then say ‘Ahhh. That must be a hard place to work. How do you do it?’. I tell them that I work in a place of awe and wonder. I live in awe of our staff who are present with families and kids every moment of every day, regardless of what is happening with their child. Our nurses, physicians, counsellors, therapists, cooks and housekeepers and every volunteer is there to listen, to support, to enjoy, to help every family, every child, regardless of what is happening with that family. I live in awe of our families. They hold hope and reality in their hands at the same time. I see the joy and pain of parenthood, and I see the love for their children in every action.“…
Another moment that left nary a dry eye in the house was when we heard from the incredibly strong 18 year old Sadie Lourenco, who spoke on behalf of her family about her twin sister who passed away in March, 2013 after a 6-year battle with cancer.
As their first-ever Social Media Sponsor it felt great to see the event trend on Twitter in Vancouver and then Canada. It was an incredible honour to take part in this event, that raised hundreds of thousands for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice — including a single big for the TELUS suite at Rogers Arena for the Beyonce concert that fetched $200,000 in the live auction. With a fundraising goal of $100,000 for the evening, I am fairly confident that the goal was achieved — and then some.
Donations help fund respite care, medical care, pain and symptom management, meals, recreation therapy, education, art, counselling, music and play therapy for kids at an acuity 1 and 2 level, and much more. With these generous gifts, Canuck Place can provide care for newborns, children, and teens with respite days which is a large part of what they do. There are currently over 450 kids and families in the Canuck Place program right now.
You can support Canuck Place at any time through online donations, volunteer opportunities, or a wealth of other avenues. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook for more information about their organization, their work with BC families (including the new Abbotsford Canuck Place) and ways that you can get involved.