HOUSE AND HOME: Thirteen year old Jacob Bredenhof was looking forward to starting high school and playing basketball when he developed chronic knee pain that stopped him from playing sports. After an X-ray, he was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, the same bone cancer that claimed Terry Fox’s leg and eventually his death. Jacob was rushed from his family’s Abbotsford farm to Vancouver for treatment. The Bredenhof family would spend a total of 182 nights at Ronald McDonald House supporting each other through Jacob’s recovery following amputation of one of his lower legs and multiple chemotherapy treatments.
Grateful for their accommodations and their son’s outlook — Jacob’s cancer is in remission — the Bredenhof family were the guests of honour at this year’s A Night to Dream Gala, Ronald McDonald House’s marquee fundraiser. Staged at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel, more than 400 guests packed the Sapphire ballroom to show community support for the home away from home for hundreds of families seeking respite as their children receive critical treatment in Vancouver.
“So far this year, we have been a home away from home to 912 families and expect many more in the coming months,” said RMH B.C. CEO Richard Pass. “Seventy-three families stay at RMH B.C. each night. Our promise to these families is to endeavour to think of everything, so they don’t have to. Everyone’s support tonight helps us deliver on that promise — providing activities, programs, accommodations and a bit of normal in an otherwise challenging time.”
Steered once again by Lindsay Turner and a dedicated group of a dozen women, the 17th edition saw philanthropists, industry leaders and influencers come together to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the current home — located on the B.C. Children’s Hospital campus — and set a new fundraising standard for the charity dinner. More than $680,000 was raised following the night of storytelling and philanthropy — up $200,000 from last year’s haul.
Singer-songwriter Jojo Mason escorted and his fiancé Chanel to the formal affair at the Fairmont Pacific Rim. The Canadian country singer would perform following the record-setting night. Photo: Fred Lee.
City of North Vancouver’s Mayor’s Gala
BUILDING COMMUNITY: North Vancouver’s inaugural Mayor’s Gala was a qualified success. Led by first term mayor Linda Buchanan, dignitaries, business and community leaders, caring individuals and volunteers convened to celebrate community. Presented by Quay Property Management and held at the Polygon Gallery, the capacity crowd packed the cultural gem to raise money for one of the cornerstones of Buchanan’s vision for the growing city; to build a healthy, vibrant community full of creative hubs, like the Polygon Gallery, where children and families can gather and find inspiration.
Located on the waterfront of Lower Lonsdale in North Vancouver, the purpose-built facility which celebrated its second anniversary welcomed more than 500 guests who took in the sold out, formal affair. Gala-goers paid as much as $20,000 a table to toast Buchanan’s first year as mayor and to support the Polygon Gallery’s children, family and education programs.
Following a sparkling reception and royal repast, attendees showed their support of Buchanan’s vision in spades. Five auction lots that included coveted works by photographer Fred Herzog and painter Gordon Smith, and a private dinner with the mayor got the party started. A paddle raise further fuelled giving. Combined with sponsorships and ticket sales, approximately $350,000 was raised before Buchanan addressed the crowd, and dessert was served.
“I’m so grateful to everyone that joined me tonight, and for your contributions to The Polygon, and their work with children, students and families in our community,” said Buchanan.
“A healthy community is a creative community and an engaged community, where public spaces are animated with programs for people of all ages. The Polygon is one of those places. A place for everyone. It’s a big part of why I think North Vancouver is one of the best communities in B.C. to live.”
Polygon Gallery director Reid Shier welcomed West Vancouver Mayor Mary Ann Booth to the City’s cultural jewel on the waterfront of Lower Lonsdale in North Vancouver. Photo: Fred Lee.
Following the night of fundraising Quay Management’s Gary Mathiesen with his wife Jean Morgan toasted the City of North Vancouver Mayor. Photo: Fred Lee.
Night of the Grizzly
GRIZZLY GUARDIANS: While travelling through the Great Bear Rainforest in 2014, Polygon chairman Michael Audain and his wife Yoshi had a moving experience with a grizzly bear family. Inspired by their humble power and intelligence, and understanding the distinguished role they play in Indigenous cultures, Audain made a $500,000 donation to create the Grizzly Bear Foundation, the only Canadian charitable organization dedicated to the welfare and conservation of grizzly bears.
Following a successful launch in 2017, Audain and board chair Stuart McLaughlin fronted the sophomore edition of Night of the Grizzly, the foundation’s flagship fundraiser. Emceed by television personality Erin Cebula, the formal event drew hundreds of grizzly guardians who packed the Vancouver Convention Centre for the immersive merrymaker featuring environmental advocate David Suzuki.
Nature is incredibly generous when we give her a hand, said Suzuki, who received a standing ovation from the crowd following his inspired remarks.
“Grizzly bears play a keystone role wherever they roam,” said McLaughlin. “They are so valuable that their presence shapes entire ecosystems, and without them that would change drastically.”
The messages from both gentlemen would resonate with partygoers as they generously gave in a myriad of ways. From a raffle to a robust silent and live auction of unique grizzly bear-related items, artwork and excursions, attendees showed their appreciation for the foundation’s education, research and conservation efforts.
Grizzly paintings by Yared Nigussu and Doria Moodie, the foundation’s resident artist, would fetch some of the evening’s top bids. Following the show of love for the grizzly attendees were rewarded with a special performance by Canadian indie band Hey Ocean!
There are an estimated 15,000 grizzly bears in the province of British Columbia.
Executive director Nicholas Scapillati, emcee Erin Cebula and foundation founder Michael Audain fronted the second Night of the Grizzly fundraiser at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Photo: Fred Lee.