Hospital fundraising gala could use a little help

The hospital gala Saturday, Nov. 24 is already sold out but that doesn’t mean a ticket can’t be had or that fundraising is all sewed up.

The fourth annual hospital gala coming up Saturday, Nov. 24 is already sold out but that doesn’t mean a ticket can’t be had or that fundraising is all sewed up.

The formal Christmas gala with this year’s theme An Evening in Paris is sponsored by the Cariboo Foundation Hospital Trust and continues two years of fundraising efforts toward the purchase of a new digital mammography machine for Cariboo Memorial Hospital.

The gala includes dinner, dancing and entertainment with the band March Hare from Vancouver, live and silent auctions, and a special diamond ring raffle sponsored by Woodland Jewellers.

Hospital Trust co-chair Rick Nelson says organizers are taking names for a ticket waiting list because there are always a few people who buy tickets early on to support the cause and then find they are unable to attend.

“Also we are in desperate need of donations to cover expenses,” Nelson says.

“We would appreciate silent and live auction items as well as cash donations to help cover expenses.”

He says some of the auction donations to date include a week at a retreat in New Zealand, a week at a golf resort in Phoenix, Az., a week at Sun Peaks, plus smaller items such as photographs by Mike Jacobson, watches and sun glasses.

The earlybird raffle draw is for a weekend at the Hester Creek Winery bed and breakfast.

Once again, Nelson says Woodland Jewellers has also generously donated a diamond ring designed by Geoff Bourdon for a fundraising raffle. The pink diamond ring is valued at $9,995. There are only 600 tickets at $20 a piece and they sell quickly.

“Every year they sell out,” Nelson says.

Tickets to the formal gala are $85 a piece but even at that price he says costs take a big chunk of the profits so the more in-kind and cash donations that are received the more of the money raised will go toward the purchase of a new digital mammography machine for the hospital.

This year will be the fourth year the Cariboo Foundation Hospital Trust has held a Christmas fundraising galas to raise funds for major diagnostic equipment needed at  Cariboo Memorial Hospital.

He says the trust started raising funds for major pieces of hospital equipment in 1999. Purchases have been based on recommendations by the local doctors.

The first project was the purchase of the existing mammography machine. Following that the trust helped to purchase a CT scanner and an electrocardiogram machine for the hospital.

Now, for the past two years, he says they are back to raising funds to replace the mammography machine which is now outdated.

The new machine will cost about $1 million (plus). Nelson notes the local community needs to raise 60 per cent of the cost of the equipment or about $600,000. So far he says the community has raised about $260,000.

Nelson says local doctors estimate they do 50 mammography diagnostic and screening scans a week or approximately 2,500 per year.

He says the screening and diagnostic images taken with the existing analogue equipment need to be sent away for assessment by specialists in larger communities which takes time.

The new digital mammography unit for detecting breast cancer in women and men has the advantage of providing clearer, brighter and more detailed images which can be sent in real time by fibre optic imaging to a specialist in another community.

If necessary to speed diagnosis and treatment, he says the specialist can view and consult on the images as they are being taken. He says the whole purpose of having up to date diagnostic equipment in the community is so that people don’t have to travel to larger communities for assessment.

Having up-to-date equipment to work with at the hospital also helps to attract doctors, specialists, surgeons, and technicians to the community, he notes.

Last year Nelson says the hospital gala raised about $48,000 for the project which was an all-time best for the event. This year they hope to break $50,000 with fewer guests.

He says they try to circulate holding the gala in different venues each year. Last year 230 tickets were sold for the gala held at Thompson Rivers University, but this year the gala will be held at the Gibraltar Room which is a slightly smaller venue so they were only able to sell 220 tickets.

Nelson says the Hospital Trust will issue receipts for tax purposes on donations.



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