Reviews and recommendations are unbiased and products are independently selected. Postmedia may earn an affiliate commission from purchases made through links on this page.
MIRACLE WORKERS: On the heels of Diwali celebrations, the South Asian community came together for the 11th A Night of Miracles fundraising gala, dinner and auction. Warnett Hallen LLP’s Manjot Hallen and a tireless committee of Miracle workers steered this year’s merrymaker at the Marriott Pinnacle Hotel.
More than 440 philanthropic, business and community leaders from B.C.’s South Asian community convened to raise nearly $750,000 for B.C. Children’s Hospital. Guests in attendance represented the largest turnout in the event’s history.
Founded by Robin and Rena Dhir in 2009, the event — a must-attend on the South Asian social calendar — has raised $6.1 million demonstrating the community’s long-standing commitment to providing the best health care imaginable to kids across the province. This year’s efforts would see attendees focused on funding pediatric diabetes health care.
Presented by Faskens and Rogers, it was another extraordinary evening of fine dining, dancing, and fundraising. Guests were enthralled by the transformation of the hotel into a vibrant garden party at the Taj Mahal — this year’s gala theme. Masters of ceremonies Randip Janda of Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi edition and Tara Jean Stevens of KISS Radio lit up the stage as they co-hosted the night of giving. As always, the ballroom was decked out in florals and vibrant colours, matching the ultrachic crowd. Guests were treated to live Indian and traditional music, Bhangra dancers and of course, delicious Indian fare by executive chef Ben Mattman.
It was clear from the onset guests — including Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence and Harry Bains, B.C.’s Minister of Labour — were ready to party and to give. In the live action, five unique experiences commanded bids well above asking. An address by the Gills, this year’s patient family, and the story of care they received at B.C. Children’s Hospital to manage their son Jayden’s type 1 diabetes, sparkplugged more giving. Major gifts from the Shokar family, Stephens family, Raju family and others ensured the second largest tally in the event’s 11 years.
“As we celebrate our 11th year of A Night of Miracles, I’m inspired as I look back on the many ways this annual gala has helped make a positive difference for kids’ health across the province,” said Teri Nicholas, President and CEO of B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation. “And tonight, I am deeply grateful for the support that this event’s guests and partners have raised to help advance care at B.C. Children’s for kids and families who need it most.”
“It’s such a great privilege and opportunity to bring this community together once again to build on the amazing work already accomplished, as we look ahead to help push the boundaries of what’s possible in child health across B.C.,” said Manjot Hallen, chair of the A Night of Miracles cabinet.
KPMG’s Sukesh Kumar and restaurateurs Tomoko and Raji Sandhar were among the 440 well-heeled guests in attendance at the 11th A Night of Miracles Gala. Photo: Fred Lee.
Randip Janda of Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi Edition and Tara Jean Stevens of KISS Radio emceed this year’s gala dinner and auction at the Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Hotel. Photo: Fred Lee.
THE BEE’S KNEES: Family Services of Greater Vancouver hosted its second annual Roaring 20s Speakeasy soirée — a nod to the founding of the social agency back in 1928. One of the longest-serving social agencies in the province, the society began with a single case worker and mission to support struggling families in British Columbia. The Agency has since grown to almost 500 staff operating more than 80 community and social services programs across 13 locations in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. Last year, FSGV helped more than 12,000 families, seniors, women and youth when they needed it most.
Staged at the Terminal City Club and presented by the McGrane-Pearson Endowment Fund, the members-only space was transformed once again whisking guests back to the prohibition era with bespoke cocktails and period music from the Gatsby Strutters greeting some 250 guests who made the scene. CEO Karin Kirkpatrick, and a very capable committee of dedicated volunteers and staffers — Prathna Batra, Natalie Harcourt, Susanne Kingshott, Marcela McBurney, Claudia Wand, Trevor Zeck, Amanda Sayfy and Lisa Mitchell — led this year’s event and fundraising charge.
No shortage of funding games — from a raffle, to a silent and live auction — there was ample opportunities to give. The biggest give as always came in the paddle raise. Following a heartfelt story from the Reids, a client family, attendees opened their hearts and wallets. Not knowing where to turn to get help to deal with their son’s ADHD, Tanya and her husband Chris credit FSGV for saving them. Working with a counsellor, the couple was able to address their challenges, gain confidence and resilience as parents.
More than $170,000 was reportedly raised, toppling last year’s inaugural success by $25,000.
“Thank you to everyone for coming out and showing your support for your friends and neighbours in the community,” said Kirkpatrick. “Should you ever need us, Family Services is here for you and your family — because no one is exempt from life’s challenges. Family Services is here for everyone.”
Terminal City Club General Manager Peter Jackman and Global TV’s Fiona Forbes hosted Family Services of Greater Vancouver’s flagship fundraiser. Photo: Fred Lee.
65 Roses Gala
OH LA LA!Leona and Max Pinsky have been tireless champions of Cystic Fibrosis after their young daughter Rina was diagnosed with the genetic disorder. They were told she would not live to be school age. The couple created the 65 Roses Gala 19 years ago to bring more awareness to the cause and much needed investment in research and care for people living with CF. Since its inception, the event has raised more than $4.2 million. While there is still no cure, thanks to the advancement of science — including the Canadian discovery of the gene responsible for CF — individuals with CF can be expected to live into their 50s. Rina Pinsky is now studying at the University of Victoria.
The couple would lead the fundraising charge once again at the 19th 65 Roses Gala — called such when a four year old child hearing the name pronounced cystic fibrosis as 65 Roses. The Pinsky’s $10,000 gift ignited a tidal wave of giving at the Parisian themed La Nuit en Rose fundraiser resulting in a $250,000 night for Cystic Fibrosis Canada.
Another tireless advocate was CF patient Eva Markvoort. Eva was 26 when she died in 2010. The former 2002 Miss New Westminster beauty queen often blogged about her life, family and trials living with CF. She also chronicled her wait for a life-saving double lung transplant in an award-winning documentary. Her death sparked another annual fundraiser Lawn Summer Nights. In Markvoort’s memory, a gaggle of pageant queens greeted 65 Roses gala-goers in memory of the young woman who championed organ donation and put a spotlight on cystic fibrosis worldwide.
“The funds raised are so critical to our investments in research, health care and advocacy,” says Kelly Grover, President and CEO, Cystic Fibrosis Canada. “While we have made wonderful progress, there is still much work to be done. The generosity displayed will have incredible impact and is what will change the future of this disease.”