Donors champion hospitals’ causes at gala

Live and silent auctions bring in thousands to help provide better patient outcomes in Greater Victoria

The Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s annual Visions gala reached new heights on Saturday night, as donors contributed $619,000 towards the purchase of 72 pieces of leading-edge surgical equipment for the Victoria General Hospital in View Royal and Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria.

Held at the Fairmont Empress Hotel, the Visions event hosted 300 of Victoria’s health-care and business leaders and raised funds through ticket sales, significant community sponsorships, a bear raffle, live and silent auctions and a pledge drive.

The celebratory evening was made special with a spirited performance from the eight-piece Vancouver band, Side One, and a spectacular pledge drive that energized the room to come together and give thousands in cash donations towards the cause.

“The impact this event has on our community each year is astounding,” said Lise Gyorkos, chair of the Visions steering committee.

“There was a current of positive energy in the room last night. It was wonderful to watch a whole community come together to create such an incredible result.”

Visions is a major component of the Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s fall campaign, which this year aims to raise $1.8 million for critical surgical equipment.

The campaign will benefit thousands of patients across 14 surgical specialties, including general and cardiac surgery, urology, gynecology, ear nose and throat surgery (ENT), thoracic surgery, and ophthalmology surgery.

“Donor funding through the Victoria Hospitals Foundation allows us to leapfrog innovation,” says Dr. Paul Whelan, executive medical director of surgical services for Island Health.

“In every area of care in our hospitals we have seen advancements in care that would not be possible without the support of donors in our community.”

Among the highlights of the evening was a live auction where attendees bid on such items as a two-week expedition trip to Greenland, a luxury cruise to Tahiti, a farmhouse dinner at Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse and a 14-karat First Nations pendant and earring set. Officiated by Vancouver auctioneer John MacDonald, the live auction raised $63,300.

A silent auction raised another $52,000 with items ranging from fine art and travel getaways to luxury home items, jewelry, fashion and spa packages. And a teddy bear raffle contributed $15,500.

Visions is one of Victoria’s longest running gala fundraisers. Since the Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s inaugural gala back in 1991, this event has helped fund hundreds of pieces of leading-edge equipment and raised more than $7 million for the region’s two largest local hospitals.