By Celina Ip, The Daily Observer
GARRISON PETAWAWA – The 12th annual Black and White Gala raised more than $150,000 in support of the Pembroke Regional Hospital Foundation and in honour of Canada’s 150th.
Each year, community leaders, philanthropists, businesses and politicians gather for the annual Black and White Gala in support of the PRH Foundation. The black tie affair fuels the advancement of local health care for families and individuals across Renfrew County, by supporting the PRH’s constant strides towards improvement.
This year’s charitable gala, once again taking place at the Normandy Officers’ Mess at CFB Garrison Petawawa, attracted more than 200 attendees who were dressed to the nines for the elegant evening of dinner and dancing. Guests enjoyed a delectable meal catered by Ullrich’s, a raffle featuring exquisite prizes, and the chance to dance into the wee hours of the night with live music by The Paperboys.
“What an honour to be here at CFB Garrison Petawawa to celebrate the incredible generosity of our community. It seems so fitting to be at this location, in Canada’s 150th year, to commemorate one of the very things that makes us so proudly Canadian – we take care of one another,” said Laura Carroll, chairwoman of the Black and White Gala. “More than a decade ago, our community decided to re-define our expectations for local healthcare. We chose to no longer be limited by geographic location, and bring state-of-the-art medical care to Renfrew County. The call to action was enormous, the community rallied, and the Black and White Gala was born.”
Along with the evening’s key addresses from Carroll and PRH president and CEO Pierre Noel, many honourable figures – including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – had offered their own congratulatory remarks and best wishes prior to the event.
“Since it was first held in 2006, this event has raised over $1,000,000 to enhance patient care and health care at the Pembroke Regional Hospital. Funds raised this evening will support capital improvement projects, the purchase of medical equipment and programs and services for patients,” Trudeau had personally written in a letter. ‘I would like to thank everyone in attendance for supporting this worthy cause. I would also like to commend the Pembroke Regional Hospital Foundation’s staff and volunteers for their hard work and dedication. Such generosity and compassion exemplify what it means to be Canadian.”
On behalf of the Government of Ontario, Premier Kathleen Wynne extended her own warm greeting to everyone who participated in the Gala fundraiser.
“There is perhaps no more vital cause than protecting our most important resource – our people’s health. In Renfrew County, this cause requires ensuring that quality health care services are available close to home for the community’s inhabitants,” wrote Wynne in her letter. “I therefore applaud attendees who are continuing a gala tradition of philanthropy and contributing to the more than $1 million raised in previous years to expand health care services at PRH. Your generosity represents a significant contribution to a caring and compassionate society in Ontario.”
The lavish event, organized by a dedicated team of PRH staff and volunteers, was aimed at raising funds to support the PRH Foundation’s Cutting Edge Campaign.
The fundraising efforts are focused on supporting the reconstruction of the Surgical Department and the addition of an Orthopedics Program. Once the planned upgrades are achieved, the hospital will have new orthopaedic equipment, a new surgical day care area with 12 recovery stations, four new private in-patient suites along with upgrades to existing rooms and a new family lounge.
After being quietly launched in late 2016, the campaign has now raised more than $1.2 million through generous community donors and the $150,000 garnered from this year’s Black and White Gala – with Melissa Robinson, owner of Pet Valu, donating $5,000 that provided the necessary push to reach the evening’s fundraising goal.
Having reached the halfway point of their $2.5 million goal, the gala served as the official public launch to kick the campaign into high gear in order to swiftly raise the remaining funds over the coming months.
“We’ve been quietly talking to people about supporting the campaign and now we’re really at the halfway point and we’re inviting everyone to get behind this and help support the hospital to make sure that we have the most up-to-date facilities,” said Noel. “Everybody needs a hospital or family members need a hospital at some point in their lives, so having everybody support this campaign is really quite important. This is the official launch of the public phase of the campaign where we’re inviting everyone to get behind this great effort because it takes a whole community to support a regional hospital.”