Cariboo Foundation Hospital Trust volunteers Tammy Tugnum and Joy Hennig work the front of the Gala while attendees enter for the evening. Tara Sprickerhoff photo.

Fire and Ice Hospital Gala raises $75,000

Money to go towards equipment at emergency room, surgery room and obstetrics

Stunning dresses and a decor to match graced the Sacred Heart School for the Cariboo Foundation Hospital Trust’s 13th annual Christmas Gala on Nov. 25.

The theme, somewhat fortuitously, was Fire and Ice, with dresses and suits matching the reds and whites of flame and snow.

Through tickets, donations and the silent auction, this year’s gala raised approximately $75,000 in funds that will go towards purchasing equipment for the Cariboo Memorial Hospital.

“I don’t know how to verbalize our appreciation for the community and how generous they are,” said Richard Nelson, Cariboo Foundation Hospital Trust co-chair.

This year’s gala was one of the most prosperous that they’ve had, he said.

“This year we didn’t know how it would go because of the fire and the problems we had but this year people sure came through,” he said. “The fire generated a real community spirit.

The meal was sold out and attendees bid very generously on the silent auction items, said Nelson.

This year’s money will go towards purchasing equipment for the operating room, the emergency room and obstetrics.

Through an agreement with the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District, the fund contributes 60 per cent to the cost of a machine, while the regional district contributes the additional 40 per cent.

In the past, the fund has purchased items such as mammography units, CT scanners and an echo cardiogram.

“We’re all volunteers and virtually all the money that we raise stays in the community,” said Nelson. “We’re trying to improve conditions for local people in terms of providing equipment so they don’t have to travel. One of the big issues with providing diagnosis or treatment is all the travel. You have to go to the Okanagan or Kamloops. If we get the equipment here then we don’t have to plus we retain doctors or specialists here.”

Nelson encourages anyone who is thinking of donating for equipment at the hospital to contact the trust, so that they can leverage the money with their agreement with the regional district.

Otherwise, the trust already has plans for next year’s fundraisers. On Aug. 25, they’re planning an old-fashioned barn dance and barbecue at the Jacobsen Estate north of Wildwood.

“Anybody who can can remember the old barn dances out at the Horsefly area, this is going to be something that hopefully will remind people of that,” said Nelson.

The $75,000 brought the funds the Hospital Trust has raised in the community since its inception around the year 2000 to over $2 million.

“Thanks to the local community for the donations. We get blown away every year. You think you’d get used to it.”

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Tara Sprickerhoff photo Abbi King, Heather Cowan and Christy Smith wear dresses reminiscent of flames and ice matching the fire and ice theme of the gala.

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