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Canuck Place Savours Life at the Inaugural Gift of Love Gala in Abbotsford

February 13, 2015

ABBOTSFORD, BC – February 11, 2015 – Over 300 guests attended the Gift of Love Gala at the Ramada Plaza Abbotsford to support British Columbia’s recognized pediatric palliative care provider, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.

The inaugural Gift of Love Gala, presented by a caring community partnership between Aldergrove Financial Group, Envision Financial and Prospera Credit Union, was hosted Saturday, February 7 and raised over $210,000.

“For all of the kids and families in this province who need our care, the Fraser Valley community powerfully demonstrated their support at the Gift of Love Gala to help us continue the complex clinical care these children and families so desperately need,” said Margaret McNeil. “Our spirits are lifted by the overwhelming response.”

Shelley Besse, President, Envision Financial spoke on behalf of the presenting partner. “Truly making a difference in our local communities means building strong relationships and coming together to find innovative solutions,” she said. “That is why we are proud to have worked in partnership with Prospera Credit Union and Aldergrove Financial Group to support Canuck Place Children’s Hospice for the Gift of Love Gala.”

Gala Co-chairs, Jennefer Vanderpol and Yasmin Alibhai, led an incredible community Gala Committee who brought significant support and leadership to the fundraising Gala.

Canuck Place Chief Executive Officer, Margaret McNeil, spoke to a hushed crowd and shared the highlights of the provincial clinical care provided to over 560 children with life-threatening illnesses and their families through two provincial locations: Vancouver and Abbotsford.

The Abbotsford MEI Screaming Eagles marching band opened the evening and guests enjoyed the Simon Cooksley Design inspired room of brightly decorated tables and chairs with bold fuchsia accents. Nine-year-old singing sensation, Tyson Venegas, filled the room with a high-energy performance while guests dined on a three-course dinner.

Canuck Place mother and Fraser Valley resident, Amanda Sidhu, shared with guests the journey of her daughter, six-year-old Kaitlyn, who was diagnosed at birth with semilobar holoprosenchephaly – a condition where her brain did not develop normally. After her first birthday, Kaitlyn was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma – a rare form of cancer – and their already complicated everyday life was made that much more challenging. In 2011, Kaitlyn and her family were introduced to Canuck Place where the pediatric palliative clinical care team managed her pain and symptoms. Together with Amanda, father Robert, and siblings, Sean and Brittany, the Sidhus were able to reconnect and rest through medical respite stays and counselling at Canuck Place. Today, Kaitlyn continues to receive pain and symptom management at Canuck Place in addition to recreation and music therapy and counselling.

All Photos by True Colors Photography. View the full album.

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