RN Susan Chatelier examines a Lucas system during the Night of 1000 Lights Gala event. Looking on is hospital manager Gary Housty (l) and Denny Island resident Doug Sharkey.

‘Magical’ inaugural hospital gala in Bella Bella raises more than $40,000

“Magical” is how Dr. Lauri Ann Shearer describes the first ever R.W. Large Memorial Hospital gala fundraiser held last month. The place to be on Feb. 24 on the Central Coast was the Shearwater Bar & Grill on Denny Island where 160 guests gathered for A Night of 1000 Lights Gala.

The target was $25,000 to purchase a Lucas ® Compression System for the hospital, but community generosity pushed it to $41,000.

“What an unforgettable night,” says Lauri Ann, Bella Bella’s Local Medical Director.

Lauri Ann joined forces with lab technician Janet Titanich and Kathy Sereda, Pacific Coastal Airlines base manager-Bella Bella, to organize the debut gala.

“I have to admit that planning this event was a real challenge,” says Lauri Ann. “We had a small organizing committee and we were doing it after work hours. I am glad we did it because it was a magical night,  a boost to the community to have the gala and  raise money for a good cause.  It showed what the community and the hospital  can accomplish when we work together.”

Event volunteer and hospital cook Heather Mason enjoys a quiet moment before the start of the gala.

Donors included:  Craig Widsten Family Foundation ($5,000), Hailka’as Health Centre ($5,000), North Arm Transportation ($2,500), Bella Bella Physician Group ($2,500), Marine Harvest Corporation ($2,000), North King Lodge ($1,000), Borelax ($1,000) Drs. Lea/Westerberg ($1,000), Woodward Foundation ($15,000).

Pacific Coastal Airlines also donated a door prize of a return trip from Bella Bella to Vancouver.

“We also had many individual donors who contributed smaller amounts or donated gifts for our auction.  Large or small donation, everyone helped us reach/exceed our goal,” says Lauri Ann. “We also had volunteers donate their time to help set up and take down decorations.”

The funds will be used to:

  • Purchase a Lucas ® Compression System
  • Purchase 2 AEDs for the community – one to be given to the Band Store and one to be given to the airport.
  • The remaining funds – $15,000 – will be put toward the purchase of a Cardiac Telemetry System for R.W.Large Memorial Hospital in partnership with VCH.

“It is unfortunate that weather prevented anyone from the Vancouver base from attending and seeing the generosity and goodwill that was extended toward the hospital on that night,” says Lauri Ann.

But there is always next year.

“After the success of this gala, we are inclined to try again next year,” says Lauri Ann.

Guests enjoying the Night of 1000 Lights Gala, a fundraiser for R.W. Large Memorial Hospital in Bella Bella.

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