By the time guests left Saturday’s glamorous aviation-themed gala in support of the Surrey Hospital & Outpatient Centre Foundation, more than $1.33 million had been raised for Surrey’s world-class thoracic surgery program.

The Sky’s the Limit Gala: Celebration of Care in Support of Thoracic Surgery marked the official launch of a campaign to raise funds for Surrey Memorial Hospital’s highly specialized thoracic surgery program, which serves patients from across the Fraser Valley and beyond. Guests were introduced to some of the more than 20,000 patients who have been served by this regional program since its inception in 2004.

Thanks to the support of early donors from the community and the generosity of gala participants, the foundation is already making great progress toward the end goal of more than $2 million.

The funds will be used to purchase state-of-the-art equipment for the program, enhancing the team’s ability to perform innovative procedures for patients and train new thoracic surgeons.

“We are so pleased to be able to put the money raised through our gala towards the immediate purchase of the most urgently needed equipment,” says Jane Adams, CEO of the Surrey Hospital & Outpatient Centre Foundation. “It’s a great start towards our goal of $2 million, and we hope that the community will continue to support this program that literally saves patients’ lives.”

The event was held inside Metro Vancouver’s newest aircraft hangar at Boundary Bay Airport in Delta, and featured a 1960’s style aviation theme. As well as a plane parked beside the stage, guests (or passengers) were invited on board by flight attendants, and were treated to luxurious cuisine courtesy of Hawksworth Restaurant.