MAPLETON – The 20th annual Palmerston District Hospital Foundation (PDHF) Starlight Gala raised more than $300,000 toward the equipment needs of the local hospital.
PDHF development officer Dale Franklin told Mapleton council the May 25 event, the first in-person gala since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, raised an unprecedented dollar figure.
“This year, we welcomed 630 people to Mapleton and raised well over $300,000 for the equipment needs of the Palmerston hospital,” said Franklin.
“This is a record profit for our fundraiser.”
Franklin noted the hospital was able to purchase a chemistry analyzer, with the rest of the funds designated to purchasing equipment on the hospital’s capital needs list.
The gala was initiated in 2001 by a group of Palmerston hospital staff members and handed off the following year to the foundation.
“Since then, it has grown to be the flagship fundraiser for the foundation and has become the social event of the year for many,” stated Franklin at the June 13 council meeting.
Franklin told council a campaign to cover costs of bringing an MRI machine to the Palmerston and District Hospital was also launched at the Starlight Gala.
“Last year, the Palmerston and District Hospital Foundation offered support to the board of directors of North Wellington Health Care in its bid to receive approval for an MRI machine,” said Franklin.
“And in January of 2023, we found out that we were successful in receiving the approval to bring MRI technology to Palmerston.”
She added, “This is a huge win for our local catchment area as we are right in the middle of one of the most underserved regions in our province for this important diagnostic tool.
“Receiving approval means that we are eligible to have the program at Palmerston, but it also means that we will be engaging in our largest fundraising campaign ever to date, in order to raise the approximately six to eight million dollars that we will need to bring this service to our community.”
The foundation is in the process of forming an MRI fundraising committee, to be co-chaired by Mark Leslie, a current member of the foundation’s board of directors and Dan Hill, a former director.
“We’re starting to build that committee and we are looking for representation from all across Mapleton and Minto, as well as some of the catchment areas that are on the fringe of our area,” said Franklin.
“We will actually be offering this service beyond our usual catchment area and so we would like representation on our committee from those other areas as well.”
Franklin added, “We are grateful to our local municipalities for all of their support in the past, especially through the in-kind support of our gala.
“We couldn’t do that without the support of our municipal councils and staff who assist us in that in that endeavour. We look forward to engaging with all of you to help to help our MRI campaign be successful.”
“Wow – the amount of money raised at the gala, over $300,000, quite a feat, absolutely quite a feat,” exclaimed Mayor Gregg Davidson, who thanked foundation volunteers for their efforts.
Davidson pointed out getting approval for installation of the MRI equipment was also “quite a feat.
“The six to eight million, big number, but we can do it,” the mayor added.
“If we all work together, we can do it. And whatever you need from the township, we will help support you absolutely 100 per cent, because we want we want this for all of our communities.”