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MISSION POSSIBLE: Joelle Paleologou knows first-hand how critical it is to fund new operating suites at White Rock’s Peace Arch Hospital. Two years ago, while waiting in a B.C. Ferries lineup, she experienced a twisted colon as a result of scar tissue from treatment of colon cancer. She was rushed to Peace Arch for emergency surgery but there were no available operating rooms. While waiting, and in excruciating pain, Paleologou suffered a second obstruction before an operating room finally opened up.
Peace Arch Hospital saved her life and Paleologou is giving back, wanting to ensure every family in her community has access to the very best care when they need it the most. She would lead the hospital foundation’s biggest night. Along with co-chair Siobhan Philips and a dedicated group of volunteers, they welcomed a capacity crowd who convened at Centennial Arena to support the foundation’s efforts to build five new state-of-the-art surgical suites for the hospital.
An interstellar-themed affair, attendees were transported to another galaxy for an “out-of-this-world experience.” Produced by Vicki Brydon and FMAV Productions and presented by Neil & Lisa Yarmoshuk, the event delivered. No expense was spared to provide guests a truly galactic experience. Before dinner and the many fundraising games, guests visited Captain Kirk’s oxygen bar, sipped bespoke cocktails in Spock’s Martian-tini lounge and hobnobbed with Storm Troopers, Darth Vader and other celestial creatures who roamed the room.
After many selfies, everyone finally settled into their seats to enjoy a royal repast curated by the Four Seasons Hotel and performances by Lumadrome and opera singer Evgenia Laguna. Local hospital do-gooders Vern and Helga Hoing once again led the fundraising charge. The couple’s $100,000 gift announcement unleashed a torrent of donations during the paddle raise. Nearly $500,000 would be collected. Coupled with proceeds from a spirited live auction, raffle, ticket sales and sponsorships, the Space Odyssey would secure the foundation nearly $900,000 for its efforts.
“May the fourth was a fantastic night of philanthropy,” said Stephanie Beck, Peace Arch Hospital Foundation’s executive director. “With tonight’s proceeds, we have now reached nearly $8 million of our $12 million fundraising commitment to build five brand new surgical suites for our community.”
Dress for Success 20th Anniversary Gala
FASHION FORWARD: For two decades, Dress for Success Vancouver has helped 35,000 women transition back to the workforce by providing them with professional attire, mentoring, career services and skills development training. One of 150-plus chapters worldwide empowering women, the Vancouver branch marked its 20th anniversary with a $200-a-ticket birthday party at the Regency Lexus Dealership in Vancouver. An opportunity to celebrate its past and look ahead to the future, more than 300 guests filed into the Burrard Street showroom to mark the major milestone.
Global TV’s Jennifer Palma and yours truly fronted the Impact 360 festivities, presented by BlueShore Financial. Newly appointed DFS executive director Amy Robichaud welcomed alumnae and supporters along with Vancouver’s most influential business and community leaders to the night of fashion and fundraising. The room was transformed into a Roaring 20s Speakeasy for the firm’s flagship event. Attendees enjoyed craft cocktails and culinary delights courtesy of the Lazy Gourmet before taking in the main event, a signature fashion show featuring nine recent graduates of Dress for Success’ professional development and skills training program.
Speaking to her personal recovery and journey back from unemployment and darkness, Dress for Ambassador Stella Panagiotidis, the evening’s keynote, spark plugged fundraising efforts. A live auction and call out for cash would contribute to a reported record haul of $130,000, ensuring more women have the opportunities for success.
“Dress for Success has been an integral part of my self-actualization,” shares Panagiotidis, addressing the capacity crowd. “I joined DFS in search of personal direction, answers and support of my career. What I didn’t anticipate was the positive ripple effect that would seep into every area of my life.”
“Dress for Success has played a key role in transforming lives and stewarding a healthy and growing economy through ensuring greater economic inclusion of women,” said Robichaud.
“I see not only 35,000 individual stories of empowerment, I also see more than $1 billion put directly back in to the economy in the Lower Mainland through salaries. I see almost half a billion in savings for employers cost-per-hire thanks to our job retention programs and nearly as much in advancement thanks to our professional development and career services.”
Professional Fire Fighters Burn Fund Responders Dinner
HOT RELATIONSHIP: 2007 was a very significant year for Capilano Group’s Nancy Stibbard. That was the year her Capilano Suspension Bridge Park struck a lifelong relationship with the B.C. Professional Fire Fighter’s Burn Fund.
A 46-ton tree fell on to the bridge, closing the popular tourist attraction for five months. At the same time, severe winter storms caused major damage to the Burn Fund’s holiday campaign Bright Nights in Stanley Park negatively impacting donations. To celebrate Capilano’s reopening, a fundraiser was held for the Burn Fund so it could continue to deliver critical prevention programs, enhanced medical care and vital burn survivor services. It was the beginning of a beautiful courtship.
Stibbard has been supporting the Burn Fund ever since. From funding research led by Dr. Aziz Ghahary, a specialist in wound healing, to the building of a new Burn Fund Centre in Vancouver, Stibbard has been a steadfast champion. Her donations have exceeded more half a million dollars. For her generosity and commitment to the Burn Fund, Stibbard and the Capilano Group was recognized at the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters’ fourth annual Responder Dinner.
Led once again by Burn Fund executive director Lisa Lacamell and director Graeme Currie, this year’s charity dinner attracted 200 guests to the Terminal City Club for the night of recognition, celebration and fundraising. Stibbard would continue her giving ways. In the live auction, the Firefighters’ always coveted Fire in the Kitchen culinary package would garner the night’s top bid. Coupled with ticket sales, sponsorships and cash donations, the evening would see more than $150,000 collected at the annual merry maker.
Since 1978, the Burn Fund has been a registered charity of the B.C. Professional Firefighters Association, an organization supported by the province’s 4,000 firefighters. The Burn Fund Centre provides a supportive and nurturing temporary home for out-of-town recovering burn and trauma survivors. The Centre features eight short-term stay furnished suites, along with common spaces, including a children’s play area, large family kitchen and community room. The Centre also offers burn and safety educational resources and programs. More than 150 families have been accommodated since the building’s opening.