Annual Crystal Gala raises more than $200,000

The event was held last weekend in Abbotsford in support of breast health initiatives

(From left) Dorothy Dyck; Abbotsford Police Sgt. Casey Vinet

(From left) Dorothy Dyck; Abbotsford Police Sgt. Casey Vinet

The 17th annual Crystal Gala event raised about $200,000 for breast health initiatives over the weekend.

The event, held Saturday night at the Ramada Plaza and Conference Centre, drew a crowd of about 380 to its “Ciao Bella” theme with a Tuscany flair.

Gerri Charles, chair of the Crystal Gala committee, said the fundraiser was a huge success.

“There was just so much synergy!” she said.

The theme was showcased through everything from the Tuscany-cafe-style backdrop, where attendees could relax or have their photo taken, to the accordion player serenading them as they arrived to the Italian family-style dinner.

Charles said the mood was further established when former mayor Bruce Banman got the crowd on their feet and had everyone sing along to the tune That’s Amore.

Highlights of the evening included a live auction in which Abbotsford West MLA Mike de Jong donated a trip to have lunch with him in Victoria and a tour of the Legislature.

The item went for $5,000, and two other people said they would each donate $5,000 if de Jong offered the same prize to them.

The sale of Vancouver Canucks tickets raised a total of $2,900 when the first two winners donated back the prize and the bidding started over.

Charles said local businessman Dave Holmberg not only wrote a $5,000 cheque for the cause, but when he won a case of wine and a wine rack, he donated back the items.

Charles said the committee was grateful for all the support it received this year, including the donations of prizes for the different fundraising games played throughout the evening.

The prizes included a $5,800 pink sapphire and diamond ring from Lanka Jewels, an heirloom gold bracelet watch from Abe and Elfrieda Konrad, a watercolour painting by Myrtle-Anne Rempel, a four-night Mediterranean cruise from escapes.ca and an exotic car driving experience from Cam Wilson.

Charles said for the first time in its history, the Crystal Gala had a presenting sponsor, Boulevard Group, which contributed $15,000.

She also acknowledged Clearbrook Ironworks, which donated $35,000 from proceeds raised at its annual golf tournament.

The Crystal Gala Foundation has raised more than $1 million to support breast health, including the Crystal Gala Breath Health Unit for screening mammography at the BC Cancer Agency and the newly opened Breast Health Centre in Abbotsford Regional Hospital.

For more information, visit crystalgala.ca.