Gift of Love Gala raises $210,000 for Canuck Place

The inaugural event was held Feb. 7 at the Ramada Plaza and Conference Centre in Abbotsford

The MEI Screaming Eagles marching band performed at the Gift of Love Gala for Canuck Place on Feb. 7.

The MEI Screaming Eagles marching band performed at the Gift of Love Gala for Canuck Place on Feb. 7.

More than 300 guests attended the Gift of Love Gala at the Ramada Plaza and Conference Centre in Abbotsford on Feb. 7, raising over $210,000 for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.

The inaugural event was presented by Aldergrove Financial Group, Envision Financial and Prospera Credit Union.

The gala committee was chaired by Jennefer Vanderpol and Yasmin Alibhai.

The Abbotsford MEI Screaming Eagles marching band opened the evening, which was emceed by Breakfast Television co-host Riaz Meghji.

Guests dined on a three-course dinner and were entertained by nine-year-old singer Tyson Venegas.

Canuck Place chief executive officer Margaret McNeil shared highlights of the provincial clinical care provided to more than 560 children with life-threatening illnesses and their families through two provincial locations – Vancouver and Abbotsford.

“For all of the kids and families in this province who need our care, the Fraser Valley community powerfully demonstrated their support at the Gift of Love Gala to help us continue the complex clinical care these children and families so desperately need,” McNeil said. “Our spirits are lifted by the overwhelming response.” ‘

Envision Financial president Shelley Besse spoke on behalf of the presenting partners.

“Truly making a difference in our local communities means building strong relationships and coming together to find innovative solutions,” she said.

Canuck Place mother and Fraser Valley resident Amanda Sidhu shared with guests the journey of her daughter, six-year-old Kaitlyn, who was diagnosed at birth with semilobar holoprosenchephaly – a condition where her brain did not develop normally.

After her first birthday, Kaitlyn was diagnosed with neuroblastoma – a rare form of cancer – and their already complicated everyday life was made that much more challenging.

In 2011, Kaitlyn and her family were introduced to Canuck Place where the pediatric palliative clinical care team managed her pain and symptoms.

Amanda, father Robert, and siblings Sean and Brittany were able to reconnect and rest through medical respite stays and counselling at Canuck Place.

Today, Kaitlyn continues to receive pain and symptom management at the facility in addition to recreation and music therapy and counselling.

Canuck Place in Abbotsford is located on the Campus of Care on Marshall Road next to Abbotsford Regional Hospital.

For more information, visit canuckplace.org.