On Saturday, February 25, 2023, our Celebration of Care Gala – A Sweet Escape welcomed over 680 of Surrey’s business, community, medical, and philanthropic luminaries at the Aria Banquet Hall. With the community’s support, we raised over $2.4 million for children’s health in Surrey!

This year’s theme – A Sweet Escape – welcomed guests into the French Court and Royal Garden, our two reception areas, where guests enjoyed cocktails and deliciously made appetizers. With thanks to our Reception Sponsor, Qualico, guests were able to be taken away from reality with Marie Antoinette on stilts, trees coming to life, and a very talented caricaturist.

The night began as guests were whisked into the ballroom with a surprise performance from the UC Acrobats and the Surrey City Orchestra provided by our Twilight Surprise Sponsor, Virk Viyas and Associate Lawyers. It was an absolute sight to see!

With our hosts of the night, Sonia Sunger from Global BC and Surrey Memorial Hospital’s very own, Dr. Imran Ratanshi, the show began. Starting off with the dynamic duo, our Presenting Sponsors, David McFarlane from EllisDon and Ralph Berezan from Berezan Group, toasted to an evening of excitement and raising money for children’s health.

Not too soon after, Marina Haddad went on stage to surprise everyone with a million-dollar donation in memory of her late husband, Sherrold Haddad, who was a key figure in supporting Surrey Memorial Hospital and the community of Surrey at large. Guests rose to their feet in standing ovation of Marina Haddad’s donation, bringing the sweetest of tears to her eyes and everyone else’s.

The party continued with an announcement from our hosts. Thanks to our Raffle Sponsor, Air Canada Foundation, our raffle prize this year was two Business Class tickets valid for travel to any Air Canada destination. As guests purchased their raffle tickets in the hopes of receiving this sweet escape, the Giving Tree would light up brighter and brighter as more tickets sold. Suffice to say that the tree was beaming positively bright by the end of the night. Thanks to everyone’s participation in the raffle as well as our match challenge by Bob Hans of $50,000, this year we raised a record-breaking $104,000 from the raffle!

One of the best parts of the night was the live auction thanks to our Auction Sponsor, BMO. Our Auctioneer, Fred Lee, was on fire that night inspiring the crowd to lift up their paddles one after the other. Guests were heated in competition to win one of the incredible live auction prizes which varied from travel across the world to once in a lifetime dinners provided by well-known chefs. The spotlight of the night was taken by one of our live auction items generously donated by Kirmac Collision & Autoglass for a full-day exclusive event at Canada’s world-class Formula 1 racetrack. The competition for this item was fierce as bidders were throwing their paddles up into the air. In fact, the competition between bidders was so intense that Kirmac decided to donate three prizes instead of one so everyone could have their sweet escape at a Formula 1 racetrack. This was unbelievable turn of events as the bidders committed to $17,000 each raising the total for this item to $51,000! We are so grateful to Kirmac for their generosity.

With all of the excitement, guests were famished and our Dinner Sponsor, CWB, and caterer, Lazy Gourmet, delivered the most exquisite three-course meal. Bringing guests on a food journey across a variety of international cuisines, the flavours, textures and colours truly indulged your senses. Our Wine Sponsor, the Wubs Family, and our Scotch Tasting Lounge Sponsor, RBI Group of Companies, provided an excellent variety of wines and scotch to pair with this decadent meal.

As the night continued on, we were incredibly moved by the words of Harp Dhillon, Chair of the Surrey Hospitals Foundation Board of Directors. He emphasized that although Surrey is a large and growing city, our community continues to lack the specialized care we need close to home. Not only does that include children’s health, but it also includes the health of all, as Surrey is the only major city that does not have specialty services to treat the three major causes of sudden death. He stressed that contribution is key, but it does not have to be only through monetary means. Through your time, knowledge, and most importantly, your voice, you can bring about great change for our city.

“There is a simple but powerful saying that, ‘alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.’” – Harp Dhillon, Chair of the SHF Board.

Following his message, Harp introduced Grace and Laura who shared their cancer journey with the crowd. It is one thing to envision the change that the community can make when working together, it is another thing to see with your own eyes what that change has accomplished. Grace and Laura’s story of a mom and daughter battling against cancer together was truly inspiring and warmed the hearts of so many. We are grateful to have had Grace and Laura take the stage and share their difficult journey as well as their triumphs as a result of health care that was made available to them close to home.

On that note of keeping health care close to home, our Fund-A-Need began. Again, with Surrey’s beloved Auctioneer, Fred Lee, paddles were flying up in the air as guests were bidding across the room during Fund-A-Need to support children’s health.

And just like that, the night was over and it was time to announce the total number of how much we, as a community, raised that night. We cannot express how grateful we are to have been able to gather so many wonderful people into a room and raise over $2.4 million for children’s health! With these funds, we can help so many young people, like Grace, on their health care journey.

Despite the snow, we still ended the night off with a dance party as Dr. Strangelove Band took the stage thanks to our Entertainment Sponsor, Central City!

The Celebration of Care Gala – A Sweet Escape was a huge success! We could not have done it without the support of so many. We would like to give a big thank you to our Gala Committee; our Board of Directors; our Event Emcees, Dr. Ratanshi and Sonia Sunger; our incredible Auctioneer, Fred Lee; our Live Auction and Silent Auction donors; our 30th Anniversary Pearl donors; our long list of amazing sponsors; and of course, all of our guests!

To check out some more photos from the event, visit our event page.

Thank you to our Live Auction Donors:

Spirit Ridge Resort, DeVino Wine Tours, Trading Post Brewing, Valley Commons, Stoneboat Vineyards, Phantom Creek Estate Winery, EllisDon, Sutton Place Wine Merchant, C&S Group, Big White Ski Resort, Aplin Martin, Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society, Kirmac Collision & Autoglass, Allure Ventures, as well as Dr. Greg Haljan and Surrey Memorial Hospital’s ER Doctors

Thank you to our sponsors: