The second annual Hearts for Hospital Gala was a resounding success, generating over $244,000 for improvements in local healthcare.
The total for the evening was well over the original goal of $200,000 and Hearts for Healthcare chairman Greg Sylvestre is extremely pleased at how the community, corporate sponsors and local businesses came together to show their support.
“It was a fabulous night in support of local healthcare. We almost doubled what was raised last year and that is a clear sign the community believes in what we’re doing,” says Sylvestre.
Over 600 guests were welcomed into the Energy Centre field house, which had been transformed into an elegantly decorated venue. Pink and white lanterns hung from the roof, and each table was adorned with a dozen pink roses.
The Hearts for Hospital fundraising committee -- which includes Theresa Nickel, Jacki Cook, Melanie Beckwith, Valerie Fraser and Katherine Sanregret -- planned, decorated and executed the event on a purely volunteer basis.
“We are blown away by the continued support of this community. It is above and beyond last year’s amount, which makes all our hard work worth the effort. Way to go, once again, Cold Lake!” says Theresa Nickel.
A highlight of the night was an impromptu offer from Smart Electrical to make a $3,000 donation to Hearts for Hospital in exchange for the Mayor and councillors’ ties.
Guests were surprised again, when the winner of the 2009 Honda TRX Quad raffle donated his prize to the live auction. It later sold for $11,000, in addition to the $10,000 generated in raffle ticket sales.
Aside from the quad, the three live auction items which raised the most money were a trip for two to Las Vegas, the Crooked Playhouse and Kitchen Craft Cabinetry.
Hearts for Healthcare also handed out its first ever Award of Nursing Excellence to emergency room nurse Nicola Girardi, to help kick off National Nursing Week, which runs May 9-15th.
One of the final surprises of the evening was an all-expenses paid trip for five to Las Vegas anonymously donated to the Hearts for Hospital fundraising committee. The donor expressed a desire to thank the women for the hundreds of volunteer hours they spend planning the Gala each year.
“We are so very thankful! The trip was unexpected and we thought it was a joke all night until it was confirmed the next morning. And to whoever donated it – we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. It is absolutely appreciated and we are going to have so much fun!” says Nickel.
“The fundraising team gives tirelessly and selflessly for our cause and we so appreciate having them on our committee,” says Sharon Martin, the coalition coordinator for Hearts for Healthcare.
Hearts for Healthcare would like to thank our major Gala sponsor Imperial Oil, in addition to corporate sponsors Cenovus, CNRL and Lakeland Credit Union.
Show Us Your Heart is a $2-million dollar fundraising campaign focused on physician recruitment and equipment upgrades, including a new $1-million CT scanner for the Cold Lake Healthcare Centre.
They started out with one great idea, tons of enthusiasm and a lot of door knocking, and they ended up with a night that surpassed everyone’s expectations. Meet the Hearts for Healthcare Fundraising Committee. Last May, these women organized and executed a first-class gala evening in support of the Cold Lake Healthcare Centre and doctor recruitment. The event was our largest single fundraiser to date, generating $125,000 through ticket sales, a live and silent auction.
”The community was so relieved that somebody was finally doing something,” says Theresa Nickel. “We had a lot of skeptics when we were planning the event, because we did it so fast. People didn’t think it would go as well as it did. And, once everyone got there, I think everybody was wowed!” says Nickel. The women are once again hard at work, planning this year’s event. They are putting out a call for volunteers early, with the hope that a few extra hands can help make the 2011 gala even more successful.
Thanks to Cenovus, almost 500 guests were treated to delicious appetizers and a meal catered by Hamel’s, followed by live entertainment and a dance. Communications Cold Lake also made a large cash donation to help offset costs of the evening.
“You looked around and everybody had a smile on their face, everyone was having fun…it was a great night,” says Nickel.
In addition to ticket sales, revenue was also generated through a very successful silent and live auction. Local businesses were extremely generous, helping the cause by donating baskets, prize packages and artwork, to name a few.
“People were so generous. They would buy stuff at the auction and then re-donate it, they wanted to spend money,” she adds.
A touching tribute was given that evening to Dr. Johann Rautenbach, a Cold Lake physician, who lost his battle with cancer the following month. Dr. Rautenbach had a long and successful career practicing medicine in our community, and is deeply missed.
The money raised at the gala is being used to recruit new physicians to Cold Lake and towards the purchase of medical equipment. Stretchers, monitors and a new CT scanner are among our funding priorities.
Hearts for Healthcare is looking forward to another amazing evening in support of local health care. Your hospital and community need your support. Buy your tickets, sponsor a table or make a donation to our live or silent auction. Your generosity will help ensure the best health care is offered in our community.