The 10th annual Canuck Place Gift of Time Gala took place Saturday, September 27th at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver. The black tie reception and dinner brought together community supporters, families, businesses, and friends in support of an amazing cause. As the Social Media Sponsor, I had the pleasure to attend the event and while following the program in person, I shared messages and photos from attendees using the tag #GOTGala on Twitter and Instagram.
Canuck Place Gift of Time Gala Wrap Up
365 days a year, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice (CPCH) cares for 560 children with life-threatening illnesses and the families who love them. One night a year, the Gift of Time Gala provides a fundraising boost through a live auction, silent auction, raffle, and various other generous donations. The event itself is very special and on Saturday, the first thing my sister and I saw when we entered the Westin Bayshore lobby were inspirational posters on easels, immediately setting the tone of the evening:
Life’s journey is who you are with and how you are with them. Hope. Light Love.
After registering and picking up an auction card, guests were served cocktails, provided with a TELUS photobooth opportunity, and the chance to browse sparkling jewels provided by Cavalier Jewellers before entering the main reception area. Once through the white curtains, silent auction items were laid out by category (for example technology, spa experiences, kids items, etc.) and ready for bids. Resident CPCH PADS dog Poppy Poppy, was also making the rounds, posing with guests and volunteers.
When it was time to enter the grand ballroom the doors opened and I gasped as I walked through to the space and was hit with a dreamy landscape. Simon Cooksley’s red event design was stunning with red Murano glass chandeliers, floral arrangements bursting with dahlias and roses, red candelabras, silver chairs, and sparkling accents.
This is the now. The moment you are in. Live it well with a loving heart.
The evening’s program kicked off with a performance from the MEI Screaming’ Eagles Marching Band and then the evening’s emcee, Global BC’s Chris Gailus, took over on stage.
The program alternated between dinner courses, performances including Alyssa Gutierrez and Affinity Dance, live auctions by Trevor Moravec of Ritchie Bros. Nebraska, silent auction updates and trips to the wine cellar to bid on tens of thousands of dollars worth of old and new world wines.
The evening’s speakers always provide insight, including Jill Schnarr, VP of Community Affairs at TELUS, who announced that over two decades, TELUS has given over $2.5 million over in support to Canuck Place. On Saturday, TELUS matched a $77,000 gift for a live auction item to fund medicine and minor equipment.
Every year a courageous family heads up on stage to tell their story and share their Canuck Place experience. This year it was the brave parents of Sam Treschow, who would have been 24 years old the following day. Jill and Michael Treschow started on the Canuck Place program when Sam was 7 years old. The Kelowna pair said that, “Canuck Place was a haven for our worst kind of fears. Not a haven from them, but for them.” They shared the full story of their journey with Sam at Canuck Place. “There’s a certain kind of gift in knowing life will be short – you want to pack in life and savour it.” What they loved most about Canuck Place was that their whole family was taken care of by the whole staff.
Other speakers included CPCH’s Medical Director, Dr. Hal Siden who said, “We never give up on providing comfort for the kids on our program.”
To say the evening is moving is an understatement. You can’t help but feel deep sorrow when families speak but then at the same time you get lifted up so high with so much love and hope that it is palpable.
As the evening came to a close, before the dance floor opened up, the live auction ramped up. Bids for experiences like a private dinner for 40 with Chef David Hawksworth or a suite at the 5 Seconds of Summer concert went for upwards of $16,000. By the end of the night, over $1 million was raised for Canuck Place.
Donations help fund respite care, medical care, pain and symptom management, meals, recreation therapy, education, art, counselling, music and play therapy for children with life-threatening illnesses and the families who love them. With these generous gifts, Canuck Place can provide care for newborns, children, and teens with respite days which is a large part of what they do. There are currently over 560 kids and families in the Canuck Place program.
You can support Canuck Place at any time through online donations, volunteer opportunities, or a wealth of other avenues. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more information about their organization, their work with BC families (including a second provincial location, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice – Dave Lede House Abbotsford) and ways that you can get involved.