The Airdrie Health Foundation’s inaugural fundraising gala is shaping up to be a fantastic event.

Light up the Night will be held at Chinook Winds Firehall on Sept. 27 and will feature a catered prime rib dinner, entertainment by circus and fire performer Safire, a dance and a live auction.

“We are really excited about the event,” said Mayor Peter Brown. “We expect to raise a significant amount of money … and highlight the work of the Foundation.”

Tickets for the black-tie event were $125 and are almost sold out, said Michelle Bates, AHF’s vice chair, adding 270 seats were available.

Bates said organizers are still looking for high-end auction items to augment what they have already received including a 65-inch television, a week at a cabin at Gleniffer Lake, a golf package and the opportunity to dine at Il Forno with Mayor Peter Brown and MLA Rob Anderson and their wives.

Bates said in addition to raising funds, she hopes the event will help raise the non-profit’s profile in the community.

“We are there to raise funds, but (the gala) is more about us getting out into the community,” she said, adding the money will go towards augmenting health and wellness services, facilities and equipment for the people of Airdrie and area.

Brown agreed.

“It is to celebrate the AHF,” he said. “We are now going to be the voice for health-care needs in our community.”

Brown said the future looks bright for health care in the city, explaining several members of the AHF have been on a working group with staff from Alberta Health Services (AHS) and other health-care agencies since the beginning of the year.

That group, said Brown, has been busy determining what services are needed in the community, both now and in the future, and is now moving on to the next stage.

“We are moving into the community engagement phase,” he said, explaining the format for getting the public’s input is up to AHS.

“(The working group) is very exciting because the No. 1 thing we have been fighting for is the recognition that our community is growing faster than any other in Alberta and we need to start providing some of those health care services in Airdrie,” continued Brown.

Brown said the likelihood of a hospital is remote, but 24-hour health care is possible, as is more medical equipment and services in the community.

“We have already shown there is a need there,” he said.

“We want to make sure is someone is sick in the (night) that they have an alternative … that is really what this is all about.”

Brown added some efforts have already come to fruition, explaining an obstetrics clinic is set to open up later this fall in the city.

It is something Bates is excited about.

“We are feeling the ripple effects,” she said of the many volunteer hours that have gone into the creation of the AHF and the working group.

She added the group is still looking for people to get involved by volunteering, donating or joining the AHF.

Written by: Dawn Smith, Airdrie Echo

Tuesday, September 23, 2014