The annual Christmas Gala for Cariboo Memorial Hospital is sold out but help is still needed in the form of donations for the live and silent auctions.
All 240 tickets to the $95 a plate formal gala were sold about two weeks ago, but there is a waiting list in case someone is unable to attend and needs to re-sell their ticket, says Rick Nelson, a director with the Cariboo Foundation Hospital Trust.
“This is the earliest it’s ever happened and it’s getting earlier every year,” Nelson says of the gala’s growing popularity.
The Christmas Gala and related fundraising efforts are part of the ongoing work by the hospital trust to raise enough money to purchase a new digital mammography unit for the hospital.
The trust volunteers are about half way through raising the 60 per cent local share (approximately $700,000) the community needs to raise in order to purchase the $1.2 million piece of equipment.
Nelson says the goal this year is to raise $50,000 after expenses on the gala, auction and raffles associated with the event. Other years fundraising has come in at around $45,000.
Some of the bigger items in the live auction include a dream vacation package at a sheep farm in New Zealand; a fly fishing adventure for four at the Northern Lights Lodge in Likely, and a weekend on Plato Island at Quesnel Lake.
Nelson says it would be nice if someone could donate some air miles they aren’t using to go with farm vacation packed in New Zealand.
Two local jewellers have been long-time supporters of the gala.
Excelsior Jewellers has donated another beautiful necklace as a raffle item during the gala.
Woodland Jewellers is currently selling raffle tickets on a one-of-a-kind diamond ring designed and made by the company’s jeweller Geoff Bourdon and valued at almost $10,000.
This is the sixth year Woodland’s has donated a ring for the cause, Nelson says.
Only 600 tickets will be sold at $20 each on the ring that is created using 19 carat white and 18 carat yellow gold and embedded with 1.61 carats of white, champaign and chocolate diamonds.
“There is a lot better chance to win this ring than on many lotteries,” Nelson says.”One in 600 is not bad and it goes to a good cause.”
He says 99 per cent of the funds the Hospital Trust raises goes directly to the hospital.
Current fundraising for the digital mammography unit is part of a program by the foundation to bring good health care closer to home for Williams Lake and area residents.
Past fundraising projects have included the purchase of a CT scanner used to help diagnose soft tissue problems, and eco-cardiogram machine used to diagnose heart and vascular problems.
“We are trying to provide good, modern health care in the Cariboo and cut down on people’s need to travel for treatment, especially for older people,” Nelson says.
Having modern equipment here at CMH will also help to attract specialists to the community he adds.
People who have items they would like to donate for the auction are asked to drop them off with Carol Taphorn or Joy Hennig at Remax on Third Avenue South.