Sunset Gala will make a difference for Palliative Care in Saskatchewan

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The debut of the Sunset Gala, hosted by the Saskatchewan Hospice Palliative Care Association, will help shine a well deserved spotlight on Palliative Care efforts across the province.

The Sky Centre will host the inaugural Sunset Gala on Sept. 21, with the dinner and charity auction an important opportunity for the provincial Association. Saskatchewan Hospice Palliative Care Association President Carla Carlson said this showcase event is helping de-mystify the area of Palliative Care.

"We really wanted to spread the message of Palliative Care across the province. And by coming into a community, and raising awareness through a Gala, we have had a tremendous opportunity to educate the public about what services exist in this area. And also to dream with them about what services we'd like to see in the future. So the Gala has really created a tremendous buzz in the community."

Swift Current has been quick to support this first ever Sunset Gala.

"The Gala is officially sold out. All the seats are full, so we're very excited about that," Carlson said. "The sponsors in Swift Current, and around the province, have been extremely generous."

One of the highlight aspects of the evening is a charity auction, but event those without a ticket can bid on a lot of almost 30 items.

"Even if you couldn't get tickets to the gala, you can still participate in the auction," Carlson explained. "What we've done is on our website, there's a link to the auction. You can see all the items that will be coming up for auction that night. And even if you can't attend the Gala, you can still participate by registering through that on-line process and then we'll email you a telephone connection. So you you'll phone into the live auction and you can bid as if you were in the room. You'll hear the bidding. You'll hear the entire process. So you can be part of it as well, so everyone can join us in supporting this great event, and also get some really great products that have been donated from around the community and the province."

Saskatchewan artist Joe Fafard has produced a series of Palliative Care themed art pieces in support of the SHPCA. The first piece in a numbered series of seven bronze sculptures will be auctioned off at the Sept. 21 Gala, with both the live and on-line bidding expected to be a lively portion of the evening.

"We're just so delighted that Mr. Faffard has chosen to be part of our cause."

Currently there are a total of 28 lots up for auction, with major auction items including: a Platinum Double package to the 101st Grey Cup Game (valued at $3,777); an Arctic Cat 550 Limited (retail $10,999); a 2013 Yamaha Golf Cart (retail $6,500); plus a Hillberg & Berk jewellery set (retail $2,500).

Jewellery designer Rachel Mielke from Hillberg & Berk from Regina has designed a charm specifically for the Sunset Gala.

"It's a really exciting opportunity. These charms will make just a beautiful gift for somebody who has maybe volunteered, or been involved in Palliative Care and needs a thank you from a family, or also just in memory of a loved one. So we just see this as a wonderful piece to add to the Palliative Care."

Another highlight of the Gala will be the premier of a video for SaskTel Max Local on Demand, produced in collaboration with Southwest TV News and Bamboo Shoots. This video clip highlights Palliative Care from different perspectives from local families and local people involved in Palliative Care.

"It's a real moving segment, and I think it's there to help inform the public about how Palliative Care really touches families and touches lives," Carlson said. "It touches on themes that will be pertinent to everyone there. Messages that will pull at the heart strings, but will also help people understand how Palliative Care really can make a difference. Quality care can make the transition easier for your family."

Entertainment for the evening will be provided by Banda Brava, a latin band from Calgary that is led by Swift Current born Sarah Chilton. She earned her Bachelor of Music Degree in Voice performance in 2004, and has been vocalist for Banda Brava (formerly Latin Beat) dating back to 2005.

Organizations: Saskatchewan Hospice Palliative Care Association

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Swift Current

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