Annual BACI Ball raises funds and spirits
Friday November 18, 2011 — Camille Jensen
If Sommer Fetherstonhaugh could have it her way, every family would experience the support and resources her family had when her youngest son was born.
The mother of three proudly describes her son Sam as an active six-year-old who loves playing with his sisters, riding his bike and learning to skate, so he can play hockey.
But when he was first born, and Sommer and her husband Colin learned he had Down syndrome, they felt unprepared, and full of questions.
It was the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion’s (BACI) Infant Development Program (IDP) that helped Sommer and Colin weave through the plethora of inundating information to get the right services for Sam: from simple things like finding a dentist or an appropriate playground to providing speech-therapy services and sign-language learning material.
“What IDP did for us is it gave us the information, the resources, the contacts and support Sam needed, and that we needed, so we could feel confident and help Sam strive to be the best that he could be,” says Sommer. “Early intervention is so important, and I’m here to tell you that it’s working.”
Sommer shared her story at the BACI Ball, an annual fundraiser for the organization’s children’s services. The Nov. 3 gala evening convened 140 people for a three-course dinner, entertainment from Double Overtime and a live and silent auction.
Krista Moldowan, BACI’s IDP senior manager, says the fundraiser is critical to ensure BACI is able to provide therapy services to 175 children under three in their homes.
“It really benefits a wide range of families,” says Krista.
This year, attendees were able to bet on the largest amount of auction prizes BACI’s ever had, with items ranging from an original art piece, Canucks tickets, vacation packages and women’s jewellery.
During the live auction, auctioneer Ed Hill was able to sell a $20 bill, which also served as a tax-free deduction, for $1,700 to BACI vice-president Troy Nikolai and his wife Tanya.
Other items that raised large amounts for BACI included Whistler summer and winter getaways, which went for $1,700 and $1,400 respectively.
All in all, the BACI Ball raised $27,000 for its children’s services.
“We’re really pleased with the success of the event,” says Carol Broomhall, BACI’s manager of communications and co-chair of the planning committee, noting this year saw a larger and more diverse turnout than past years.
“Everyone who attended seemed to have had a terrific time. There was great energy in the room and we were really happy with the generosity of the guests who participated in our live and silent auction.”
Guests were further enchanted by a magician, who performed magic tricks for the crowd.
In addition to raising funds, Carol says a key outcome of the event is to bring people together in an environment that models the healthy and happy communities BACI strives to create.
This year also saw the inaugural presentation of BACI’s Inclusion through Innovation awards, which is furthering the event’s goal of fostering inclusive communities.
As a testament to creating an inclusive environment, Karey Degenova says several first-time gala attendees came up to her during the event offering to volunteer their time for next year’s BACI Ball planning committee.
“That’s the big part of the message we want out there: This is a community and we want you to be part of that community,” says Karey, a BACI senior manager and co-chair of the event’s planning committee.
BACI is extending a special thank you to the many people and sponsors who made this this year’s event a success.
This includes the BACI Ball planning committee: Hanifa Ladha (co-chair), Jennifer Ghioda, Kathy Kalia, Michelle Kosciecha and Krista Moldowan, as well as BACI’s prize gathering team: Avelina Britton, Laurie Maguire, Arlene Moore, Dean Renning, Alisha Robb, and Zach Sinclair.
The BACI Ball: Beyond Abilities, which took place at Vancouver’s Pan Pacific Hotel, received sponsorship from Design Network, Enviromold, the Burnaby Board of Trade, and Rogers.
Click here to view photos from the BACI Ball
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