Over 61,000 of Vanderhoof dollars left town this year to support B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation, providing “the care that we want none of our kids to need.”
With more than 200 attendees, the seventh annual Dinner and Auction Fundraising Evening for BC Children’s Hospital took place at Nechako Senior Friendship Centre on Nov. 5.
The evening, emceed by Michelle Roberge, began with the reading of a thank you letter from Suzanne and Paul Hartwig, whose child Jessi was one of 71 from the Vanderhoof area that made 215 visits to BCCH in 2015.
“They seem to possess warrior strength,” they write. “These kids need you more than you’ll ever understand.”
From newborn babies to teenagers, children of Vanderhoof and area visited BCCH for doctor’s appointments, surgeries, and long-term stays. BCCH specialists also fly to Prince George at times to save travel time of families in the area.
For Roberge, the BCCH allowed two of her five children to live today. Needing life-saving surgeries when they were newborn, the two children are now six and eight years old.
“That’s where our journey started,” she said. “They don’t require surgeries anymore, but they continue with follow-up appointments to ensure they are developing as they are supposed to and lead a normal kid’s life.”
BCCH staff also provide support to the children’s parents, who may be emotionally overwhelmed, with services such as a designated staff contact for queries or a helper who can accompany the child and provide parents some mental relief. Parents may be emotionally overwhelmed by not only the child’s suffering, but also the letting go of natural instinctive control over their children to the physicians.
“That’s why fundraising for children’s hospital is not a hard thing to do; the facility is there with specialists that save your kids,” Roberge said. “It’s a completely different operating room for a 12-day-old baby than for an adult.
“And just to have this facility fairly local, compared to having to fly to Toronto.”
Over dinner provided by Vanderhoof caterer Kari Neudorf and live music from Colin and Meghan Walker, attendees bid on over 150 silent auction items and raffle prizes donated by local businesses.
Auctioneers Ken Threkheld and Walt Dettwiler directed the live auction of nearly 50 items including a year’s supply of eggs, winter driveway shovelling, baked goods, quilts, Vanderhoof Canucks jerseys and game tickets, and a Rio Tinto smelter tour in Kitimat.
For Terry Paton, who has attended the event several times over the years, it’s an opportunity to be generous.
“It’s an unnecessary evil to have sick children in the world,” Paton said.