Langley, get out that Denim and Diamonds for the LMHF gala

Fred Zaitsoff wasn’t sure he’d be around for the April birth of his eighth grandchild.

And he might not have been if not for Langley Memorial Hospital and donor-funded equipment through the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation.

His wife Lorraine Zaitsoff dialled 911 in September 2014. Fred had collapsed in the front hall of their home.

Fred had metastasized bone cancer in his femur and the bone had fractured. He needed surgery and he needed it urgently.

He had been battling the disease for over three years. The cancer first appeared in his right kidney, then his lungs and now in his femur. That day Lorraine dialled 911, she was sure she was losing her husband of 47 years.

They will be sharing their story at the Denim and Diamonds Gala on April 25 at Thunderbird Show Park.

Dr. Rita Whittman is the former head of the Critical Care Unit at Langley Memorial and tells people that their donation does make a difference.

“I see it every day,” she said.

She said when people need medical attention, it’s reassuring to know they have the equipment they need.

“Through your support, you are helping improve medical outcomes, perhaps without really knowing the impact your donation is having on patients and families,” she said.

Denim and Diamonds gala
Nurse Linda Goranko and Dr. Rita Whittman, former director of the Critical Care Unit, in one of the operating rooms at Langley Memorial Hospital. – Keepsake Photography

The LMHF has a variety of fundraisers throughout the year but the Denim and Diamonds Gala has become its signature event, garnering support from the community and sponsors.

On stage this year will be two young women who know firsthand the importance of the local hospital – Robyn and Ryleigh Gillespie.

“Ryleigh and I are proud to say that LMH was where we took our first breaths,” Robyn said. “We were born there. We are lucky to have only had a couple times where we needed the services of the emergency department, fortunately nothing too major, but we do know people whose stays there required life-saving assistance.”

Despite releasing a new song (I Found You) in mid-May and planning for a busy summer of touring, they were glad to help out a hometown cause. They performed at the gala in 2014.

“When we were asked to participate again this year, we were so excited. Last year was a blast, the whole place was sparkling, everybody was rockin’ their denim and diamonds,” Ryleigh said.

They are only too happy to support the foundation so it can devote funds to equipment.

“The purchase of new equipment is necessary on an ongoing basis for any hospital to stay current, to continue to give the best quality care to patients,” Ryleigh added.

Also at the gala will be emcee Peter Fassbender. The former Langley City mayor is now the B.C. education minister but still pitches in at community events when he can.

During the evening, people can buy an opportunity to play in the sandbox with the Diamond Dig. People purchase one ‘dig’ for $20 and three for $50. They have the potential to win the Golden Tree Jewellers donation – a diamond worth $10,000.

There’s a gourmet dinner, presentations by hospital staff and others. The evening starts with cocktails at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 25 before dinner at 6:30 p.m. Thunderbird Show Park is at 24550 72nd Ave.

Tickets, $175 apiece or eight for $1,300, are available in advance at (download and fill out the PDF order form) or call 604-534-4121.

And as the name implies, dig out them country duds and the blingy bits.

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