Sunset Gala showcases touching topic through celebration

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The Sunset Gala on Sept. 21 was certainly a shining moment for the Saskatchewan Hospice Palliative Care Association.

The gala sold out back in May, but the building anticipation for the dinner and charity auction was well worth the wait, with the 300 person capacity audience showing overwhelming support during the evening hosted at the Living Sky Casino.

The live charity auction portion of the evening generated approximately $80,000 for the Association, and other evening fundraisers were equally successful.

Recently elected SHPCA President Jeff Christiansen noted that the Association also benefited greatly by such visible support for the cause of Palliative Care.

"In an increasingly competitive healthcare environment, where we focus daily on care and cure and healing and saving lives, it's very easy for the needs of dying people to be forgotten," he told the crowd. "And so as the voice of Palliative Care, we are your voice. We are the voice of each person you love, as we work to raise awareness and understanding through education, advocacy, research and network to improve the availability and the quality of Palliative Care, and to truly change the nature of the dying experience for people in our province. That's what you're doing by being here tonight."

The Saskatchewan Hospice Palliative Care Association does not provide direct service, as their mandate is to support palliative care service providers through education, networking, research and advocacy.

Christiansen felt that the personal touches which are addressed by Palliative Care have a deep meaning for people.

"Palliative Care's most important contribution may be to broaden the horizon of care as people approach death," he said. "The care that people receive has the power to sustain hope in the face of fear, and create meaning in the midst of despair and confusion. Which one of us would not want that, or want anything less than that for ourselves, but more importantly for those we love."

He was also appreciative of efforts of the organizing committee for holding an overwhelmingly successful event.

"I would be absolutely remiss if, as the president of this board, I didn't extend to you our deepest and heartfelt thanks for everything you have done. For breaking the ice on this inaugural event. For putting other communities around our province in a position to move forward and do this again year after year, with courage, in support of this very important area of healthcare."

Christiansen also expressed appreciation for now former Association president Carla Carlson for her extraordinary efforts in hosting the inaugural Gala and her work during her term as president.

"Her dedication and commitment and leadership have really, truly, brought this organization and the cause of Palliative Care in our province to the place it is today."

The live auction portion of the evening was a special time, with auction items going for well above their value.

The auction's grand finale saw a bid of $7,400 for a limited edition bronze sculpture created by renown Saskatchewan artist Joe Fafard. The lamb sculpture is numbered one of just seven created by Fafard especially for the Palliative Care Association.

Another special portion of the evening was the sale of a limited edition of 100 specially made charms designed for the Sunset Gala by jewellery designer Rachel Mielke from Hillberg & Berk from Regina.

The evening also featured the debut of a Palliative Care video produced for SaskTel Max which highlights that quality palliative care can make a difference. The video will soon be available via SaskTel Max On Demand.

Organizations: Saskatchewan Hospice Palliative Care Association

Geographic location: Saskatchewan

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