DUNNVILLE—The Dunnville Hospital and Healthcare’s (DHHF) first in-person Hearts & Heroes Winter Wonderland Gala, held on November 4, 2023, is in the books. It was quite an impressive first attempt, pulling in $75,000 for the purchase of a new CT Scanner at Haldimand War Memorial Hospital (HWMH).
“It was a beautiful event from start to finish, as guests were greeted upon arrival with a small bouquet of flowers courtesy of Rosa Flora and a lovely holiday cocktail to begin their evening,” said former DHHF Executive Director Penny Banks. “The splendour of the Winter Wonderland theme was captured from the moment guests arrived.”
“It was wonderful to be present and feel the overwhelming support for Haldimand War Memorial Hospital at the first ever Hearts and Heroes Gala on Saturday night” said Joanna Brzozowska, Board Chair for Haldimand War Memorial Hospital and Edgewater Gardens.
The event is a new outlet for DHHF, whose fundraising efforts for HWMH run throughout the year and include the Dunnville Tim Hortons Smile Cookie Campaign, Trees of Hope, the Henriette McMichen Stride and Ride, and the Care and Win 50/50 lottery.
Many community businesses and partners helped bring the gala to life, with Tammy Summers of I Do Décor and Rentals from here in Dunnville bringing the theme to life, and hors d’oeuvres and a main course provided by Debb Davies of Debb’s Cuisine on Queen.
The evening’s Master of Ceremonies was none other than local legend and famous former TV weatherperson Matt Hayes.
Banks was one of several featured speakers who addressed guests throughout the evening, in addition to Board Chair Joanna Brzozowska, Mayor Shelley Ann Bentley, and DHHF Board of Directors Chair Sandie Heirwegh.
“When asked to speak about our success, I have to celebrate each one of you. There are individuals in this room that have been giving to the foundation for 30 years,” said Heirwegh in her address. “I can’t express my gratitude enough. I am honoured to be a part of a community that is as kind and caring as each one of you. Thank you.”
The $75,000 raised is a tremendous step up from the $10,000 raised through a virtual gala held in 2021 during the pandemic.
“You are here tonight because you believe in the mission of the Dunnville Hospital & Healthcare Foundation. You believe that everyone in our community is entitled to have a hospital close to home, equipped with the best possible medical equipment and healthcare teams,” said Hayes during the formal part of the evening.
Guests were moved to tears when local resident Nicole Breadner took the stage to share how the team at HWMH saved her life when she went there with a grave condition and was quickly diagnosed and treated by the kind, courteous, and professional staff at the hospital. Without a CT Scanner, patients like Nicole could face a much more dire outcome, highlighting the need for a new scanner at HWMH.
Breadner shared, “I knew that if my story could help just one person in Dunnville receive lifesaving care then it would be worth it. Our hospital saved my life, and I would not be here today, if it were not for the CT Scanner AND the amazing doctors and nurses.
The gala played host to DHHF’s first-ever Fund-A-Need, which raised an astounding $58,630 in just 15 minutes, as guests were given paddles and asked to raise them to commit to a pledge as Hayes called out various dollar amounts.
With the formalities out of the way, guests danced the rest of the night away to the sounds of Black Creek Music.
“The generosity of the guests in attendance was incredible, inspiring, and without a doubt, will see us raise the remaining balance of the $1.5 million promised to the hospital for the purchase of the CT Scanner,” said Banks.
She continued, “On behalf of the DHHF Board of Directors, please accept our heartfelt thank you to our business partners, donors, volunteers, and staff, who made our Hearts & Heroes Winter Wonderland Gala an outstanding success. We are honoured to be a part of a community that is as kind and caring as each one of you.”
Ralph and Arielle DeBoer of Rosa Flora Limited, lead sponsors for the gala, shared the following comment, “We are genuinely pleased to partner with DHHF in their mission to support the Dunnville hospital in its efforts to purchase a new CT scanner. It truly benefits all of us to support health care in our town, both with volunteer time and financial assistance. We wish the foundation every success moving forward.”
HMWH President and CEO Sharon Moore thanked all participants, “I can confidently say this gala has been incredibly successful, raising the much-needed funds to support a new CT scanner for the hospital. Thank you to everyone who supported this event.”
“It was a magical evening. The gala exceeded my dreams on every level. Our community out did themselves with their generosity and moved us that much closer to making a new CT scanner a reality,” concluded Heirwegh.