Gift of Love Gala raises $275,000 for Canuck Place

Third annual event held last Saturday in Abbotsford

Canuck Place parents Rolf Schwuchow and wife Petra Fellinger shared the story of their son Nicolas during the Gift of Life Gala

Canuck Place parents Rolf Schwuchow and wife Petra Fellinger shared the story of their son Nicolas during the Gift of Life Gala

The third annual Gift of Love Gala on Saturday raised more than $275,000 for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.

The event, held at the Quality Hotel and Conference Centre in Abbotsford, was attended by more than 300 guests.

Sold out months in advance, the event was emceed by Breakfast Television co-host Riaz Meghji and was attended by Canuck Place supporters, including guests, volunteers, sponsors and staff.

Gala co-chairs Jennefer Vanderpol and Lisa Fershau led a volunteer gala committee who connected with the Fraser Valley community to make the event so successful.

Canuck Place CEO Margaret McNeil said more than 40 per cent of the children and families in the Canuck Place program reside in the Fraser Health region.

“The funds raised at this event by our guests and community partners ensure we can continue to provide complex clinical care to children with life-threatening illnesses and help meet the growing need around the province,” she said.

The evening also featured a moving personal story from Canuck Place parents and Abbotsford residents Petra Fellinger and Rolf Schwuchow, whose son, four-year-old Nicolas, is on the Canuck Place program.

Both parents shared their family’s experience caring for a child with spinal muscular atrophy Type 1 and the critical role Canuck Place has in their lives as they work through their daily challenges and the need for ongoing support.

“Nicolas’s medical care can be labour-intensive, so being able to come to Canuck Place and have the nurses, doctors and volunteers step in is a huge weight off our shoulders,” Petra said.

The Gift of Love Gala featured an prohibition-era theme and included entertainment by the Jennifer Hayes Trio and the Pacific Mennonite Children’s Choir, as well as the Fascinatin’ Rhythm dancers.

Canuck Place in Abbotsford is located on the Dave Lede Campus of Care on Marshall Road, adjacent to Abbotsford Regional Hospital.