Canuck Place parents and Gift of Love Gala speakers Aaron and Kaiti Luyt are shown here with Canuck Place CEO Margaret McNeil. (True Colors Photography)

Canuck Place parents and Gift of Love Gala speakers Aaron and Kaiti Luyt are shown here with Canuck Place CEO Margaret McNeil. (True Colors Photography)

Gift of Love gala raises $410,000 for Canuck Place

More than 450 guests attend event for Abbotsford children’s hospice

More than 450 guests gathered at Abbotsford Centre on Saturday for the fourth annual Gift of Love Gala, which raised $410,000 for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.

The event was MC’ed by Breakfast Television’s Kevin Lim and was attended by Canuck Place supporters, including guests, sponsors, volunteers and staff.

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

Canuck Place CEO Margaret McNeil said the agency is expanding its services in Abbotsford, opening patient beds in May of this year.

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

The evening also featured a personal story from Canuck Place parents and Abbotsford residents Aaron and Kaiti Luyt, whose three-year-old daughter Layla is on the Canuck Place program.

Both parents shared their family’s experience caring for a child diagnosed with Pontocerebellar hypoplasia type 2D, a rare genetic condition that is both progressive and life-limiting, and the role that Canuck Place has in their lives as they work through their daily challenges and the need for ongoing, regular support.

“Canuck Place gives us peace of mind knowing that Layla is in capable hands at the hospice with around-the-clock care,” Kaiti said.

“We had both forgotten what a full night’s rest feels like. It brings such a sense of peace to know that now there is a whole team of support backing us up. It isn’t all on our own shoulders anymore.”