“It was a smaller crowd than we’ve had in the last couple of years … We were just quite lucky in a sense that maybe, economically, we hadn’t … seen so much of an impact until this year, but … overall we were still really pleased with the support we had from the community,” says Joel.
The community members supported the event by donating items to the auction. Attendance was about 100 people. Last year, about 180 people took part.
Joel says they also think the reason for the lower attendance this year had to do with holding the event on Family Day long weekend, so a lot of people were away.
Fewer dollars were raised this year than in past years, but compared to the crowd that came out organizers were pleased with the amount raised.
“Any amount of money that we make certainly … goes to good use,” adds Joel.
They are always looking to support health-care projects, so every dollar makes a difference. Joel says the money they raise at this event usually goes towards much-needed equipment for the Fort Macleod Health Centre.
This year, funds will be used toward the cost of purchasing a bus for the special development unit. Similar to a handibus, it helps people get to various appointments and other outings.
Most of the people who will use the bus are wheelchair bound and don’t have the ability to get around independently.
The current bus that is in use is getting older and more difficult to repair.
The bus will cost about $100,000. Joel says they already had some money raised which they hadn’t dedicated to any other projects, so they will be using those funds along with this year’s funds to purchase the new bus.
As well, Joel says the foundation does a Casino every three years, so they’re pretty close to their purchase price goal amount.
“There’s always … a list of things that can be enhanced or updated that’s for sure. Technology always changes in health care,” adds Joel.
One of the next projects the Health Foundation has planned is to replace the cardiac monitors that are in the emergency department with ones that are mounted to the wall.
“There’s always something possible or … in need of upgrades,” she adds.
Joel says the Health Foundation has been around for 20 years and for the last nine years, they’ve been holding the annual Close to Your Heart Fundraiser.
“We’re really humbled by it. I think people are always really generous with (the) support of health care and so I think … even people who couldn’t make it to the event supported us in some way and so that’s really heartwarming to see.”