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VIDEO: $15-million fundraising goal for Langley hospital shattered this weekend

Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation’s annual gala Saturday pushed the organization way over the top

They did it, and then some.

Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation had a goal to raise $15 million towards building a new emergency department and a MRI suite for the local hospital, and Saturday night blew that goal out of the water.

They came into the evening with $12.8 million in the bank (85 per cent of the way to their goal) thanks to multiple small contributions and a few key big donations.

But they were still shy of the ultimate goal, as 400-plus people began to gather inside an almost unrecognizable fieldhouse at Langley Events Centre on June 1.

By the time the guests began funnelling out just before midnight that same night, the goal had been shattered – and more – boasted an exuberant Vivian Smith, the foundation’s executive director.

“A new emergency department and an MRI suite are coming. And because of that generosity, we’re well on our way to fully equip that new emergency department with the latest and best medical equipment possible.

“I’m so very proud to announce that our campaign closes with $16,750,000 and counting,” she announced to loud cheers and applause. As the crowd reacted to the news, Smith quick clarified the total had actually reached $17 million.

READ: $30 million expansion of Langley Memorial Hospital ER announced

Between flashes of extreme emotion that alternated between tears, hugs, and dancing about with her hands pumping the sky above her head, Smith described it as one of the most emotional nights of her life.

“I feel so full of joy and so humbled to be a part of this great community, and happy, happy beyond belief,” she said, taking a moment – right after the announcement and after climbing off the stage at the end of the official celebrations, to do a party dance with one of her staffers to the Wanna Kick It, Jackie Chan song.

Calling it an amazing evening, this was the 27th annual hospital gala – but the second consecutive event dedicated to fundraising specifically for the new ER and MRI under the foundation’s ER Response Campaign.

Earlier in the evening, noting that the organization was very close to its goal, Smith and committee chair Phil Jackman put out a plea to the crowd to help make it possible on Saturday night. They came through, she explained.

The campaign began a little more than a year ago.

READ: Fundraising campaign kicks off for new Langley ER

Recounting a number of the bigger donations ahead of this weekend’s gala, Smith noted that the largest single donation to the drive was $5 million, which came from Maria and Ron Martini and the Martini family. There was also $2-million committed out of the gate from Allan and Clarice Skidmore and the Allan Skidmore Family Foundation.

The LMH auxiliary stepped up with its largest gift ever to the hospital, committing $1.5 million. In subsequent months the Eric Woodward Foundation, through a matching drive, also raised $1.1 million. Darcy and Manjit Gill hosted a big fundraiser back in February, then again matched part of the donations, then and topped it up significantly, bringing their total donation to $1 million.

Another half million was donated by Ann Blaauw, in addition to $500,000 from the Carlson family, $250,000 from Hugh and Susan Dobbie, $100,000 from Scott Kemp and Langley Toyota, and another $100,000 from the inaugural Mayor’s Charity Gala and the Township of Langley Firefighters Charitable Society.

READ MORE: Fundraiser for new Langley Memorial Hospital ER opens with announcement of $7 million in donations

Early in the evening, in thanking all the contributors leading up to the night’s festivities, Smith said: “We have a vision: Our eyes are on the day when local health care services have all the resources to meet Langley’s needs. Your support tonight has really taken us one giant leap forward to fulfill that vision. For this, we are eternally grateful.”

On Saturday night, there were a number of new donations that helped push the mercury on the hospital thermometer over the boil mark.

There was an announcement of a $500,000 donation from Marco Paolella, on behalf of his family and the Marcon Group of Companies at Saturday’s fundraiser. That was matched by another half million dollar contribution from Aaron and Bernie Rokstad of Rokstad Power. Another $250,000 was also announced from the Beedie Foundation at Saturday’s event.

Another quarter million dollars was donated by Mark Omelaniec and the Langley Concrete Group of Companies, who learned his generosity from his parents. So, it was no surprise for foundation organizers to receive a further $100,000 gift from the family matriarch, Frances Omelaniec.

Nick Nuraney from the A&W Langley family kicked off the evening with a $100,000 donation, but by the end of the night had upped their contributions to $200,000.


Qualico Development donated another $100,000, and similarly, another $100,000 was committed by Quadra Homes. Likewise, there was $100,000 donated by the Langley McDonald’s restaurant owners, another $100,000 from Centra Construction Group’s charitable arm – Centra Cares – as well as $100,000 from the Rotary Club of Langley Central, and Smith was approached that night with a $100,000 contributed by Ryan O’Shea on behalf of Ken Mitchell and the Mitchell Group.

There was also a $50,000 donation made by the gala’s presenting sponsor, Mike Laurin, of CIBC Wood Gundy – The Laurin Financial Group, plus an anonymous donation of $50,000 made during the gala, as well as a $50,000 contribution recognized from Windsor Plywood Foundation. There were a number of smaller donors honoured, including foundation board member and lawyer Rebecca Darnell, who was recognized for her gift of $25,000, another $25,000 was gifted by hospital physician and board member Dr. Leo Wong and his wife Dr. Flora Wong. Mayor Jack Froese and his wife Debbie were also lauded for committing another $25,000.

That didn’t include $10,000 donated for the VIP table during Saturday’s gala. For the fourth consecutive year, Kimz Angels’ Kim Snow purchased rights to what she called “the bling, bling table” at the gala. This time she partnered with a few doctors to make the donation.

There was also $30,000-plus raised from the other live auction items Saturday night, and the amount collected from the new online silent auction and the direct purchase of various pieces of equipment for the hospital is still unknown.

“Langley is so blessed to have such great friends committing to improving quality of life for everyone in our community,” Smith said. “Thank you,” she said to all those in attendance and all those who contributed to pushing the campaign past its goal.

READ MORE: Work begins: Langley Memorial Hospital becomes a construction zone

The audience rose to their feet and joined in the cheers when Smith shared the news that they’d surpassed the $15 million mark.

“That standing ovation is for each and ever one of you,” she said, beaming from ear to ear.

“We’re a little bit speechless up here, and a little shaky,” Smith said.

“We knew we had a generous community, but wow, oh wow. You have shown how much you care about the people who are impacted by our hospital. I am extremely happy, but I’m not done yet,” she told an anxious crowd, announcing one last significant contribution.

Phil and Barb Jackman, in addition to contributing countless hours and energy to this campaign, personally committed $1 million.

“Working on this campaign has been such an immense privileged for myself. I’m so grateful to be surrounded by such a giving community,” Jackman told the crowd. “Thanks for allowing me to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime journey. Thank you.”

Adding up the last minute donations, Smith commented on the legacy that’s being created for current and future generations.

“Is that not a great way to end the gala. We are still tallying up everything that you have done here tonight. But we can say because of all the generosity in this room, and because of Phil and Barb’s gift, we’ve completed our commitment to Langley Memorial Hospital.”

Smith concluded the evening by sharing that the campaign closed well over its $15-million mark. On Saturday, while last minute donations were still coming in, she confirmed that they had commitments for $17 million.

“Thank all of you for trusting us with your vision for philantrophy and for local health care. Your support is improving life in Langley for today and the years ahead.”

• Much more to come


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Roxanne Hooper

About the Author: Roxanne Hooper

I began in the news industry at age 15, but honestly, I knew I wanted to be a community journalist even before that.
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