December 8, 2023

While every seat at the 23rd annual gala is expected to be filled on April 15, the foundation is still seeking volunteers to help with the event and sponsors to make the evening of fundraising as successful as possible.

BONNYVILLE – A Night in the Emerald City is a theatrical fundraising event that the Bonnyville community has clearly been waiting for.  

In just 15 minutes, all 700 tickets for the Bonnyville Health Foundation’s comeback gala were scooped up on Dec. 1. 

While every seat at the 23rd annual gala is expected to be filled on April 15, the foundation is still seeking volunteers to help with the event, donors to provide items for their in-person and online silent auctions and sponsors to make the night of fundraising as successful as possible.

On Feb. 14, Dawn Weber, the executive director for the Bonnyville Health Foundation, presented to the MD of Bonnyville council seeking a $10,000 sponsorship for the gala. 

“This is a very anticipated event,” Weber told council. “We did have some ups and downs since 2020. Our 2020 Gala was cancelled 12 days before the event. So, we suffered some losses there with vendor deposits, but we made a quick recovery in 2021.” 

After three years of cancelling the foundation’s annual gala due to the pandemic, the foundation had to pivot and discover new ways to generate awareness for community health initiatives while also fundraising in new and creative ways. 

“Four years will have passed since our last gala event by the time we revive this incredible evening of fundraising,” noted Weber. 

Established in 1997, the Bonnyville Health Foundation, its local board of trustees and its committed group of volunteers have been working towards enhancing health-related programs in Bonnyville. 

“The funds raised not only maintain the current quality of care at the Bonnyville Health Centre, but also strengthen and expand the range of specialized health services available to our community,” explained Weber. 

The foundation has raised over $3.8 million dollars with community donations in the last six years alone. Over the years, funds have gone towards leading-edge programs and services, research, education, and the purchasing of state-of-the-art equipment for the Bonnyville hospital. 

The foundation has five main areas that it supports through its fundraising initiatives. These include the Bonnyville hospital’s areas of greatest need, the Tyler Chislett Memeorial Fund, the Bonnyville Community Cancer Clinic, the Long Term Care Fund, and the Palliative Care Fund. 

The current project the foundation is helping the Bonnyville Health Centre achieve is upgrading the maternity ward’s bassinets.  

“Bassinets run for about $5,000 a piece and they need eight for the maternity ward,” said Weber. “The bassinets that are currently in the hospital are from the 1960s. So, this will be a real modernized style of bassinet that encourages moms and new babies to be able to stay close together.” 

The foundation has also helped purchase a vein finder device for the hospital’s emergency department, which is currently on order. 

“A vein finder runs around $12,000 to purchase and this will make it easier in the emergency department for patients that have veins that are hard to find for emergency IV use,” she explained to council. 

While the MD of Bonnyville already has a table reserved for the gala, council will make a decision on sponsoring the Bonnyville Health Foundation’s event at a future meeting. 

Umbrella projects 

The Bonnyville Community Cancer Clinic is one of the funds that falls under the purview of the Bonnyville Health Foundation 

“We currently, are caring for approximately 100 patients per year with chemotherapy and immunotherapy in our clinic at the Bonnyville Health Center,” Weber said. 

Through the Tyler Chislett Fund, the foundation focuses on mental health initiatives locally. 

“We have some great collaborations right now with The Hive youth group and we also have a really great program called our comfort kit program,” she said.  

The Bonnyville Health Foundation has also taken on the palliative care fund. Weber explained that the foundation is focusing on improving palliative care and compassion care within the Bonnyville hospital. 

“We are looking at some growth in the future to try and expand palliative care funding within the community,” she added. 

When it comes to the foundation’s Long Term Care Fund, Weber explained, “We currently have 30 residents in our long-term care department at the hospital, and it’s our goal to continue to improve the dignity of care that is given to seniors at out hospital as well.” 


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