The financial support given to Abbotsford’s Crystal Gala Foundation has likely saved lives.
The foundation has been raising money for 24 years, all to improve breast cancer diagnosis and treatment at the Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre. They put on the city’s biggest, most glamorous party every year, and have raised more than $3.6 million in the process.
And since they couldn’t do it without their partners and sponsors, they make sure to celebrate them on their donors wall in the hospital. But this year, they outgrew their space on the first floor and have expanded into the second floor of the cancer centre.
Now, when cancer patients, family members and staff get off the elevator at the clinic entrance, or head into a room for diagnostic tests, they will see names on the wall of those who have supported their health care.
The wall is filled with triangular tiles of varied shades of pink, along with the phrase: “In grateful recognition of those who have joined the Crystal Gala Foundation in the battle against breast cancer. Give Locally. Make a Difference.”
A ribbon cutting was held Thursday evening, and donors, staff and the media were invited to celebrate the installment. Gerri Charles, chair of the foundation, spoke briefly to those gathered.
She held back tears at one point, and spoke of how impactful the donations have been over the years.
The most recent donations to the foundation have been able to replace the original screening mammography machine from when the cancer centre and new hospital was built, she said. That has been ordered and on the way.
Charles thanked the donors, and also every staff member at the cancer centre.
“Everyone here has played a part in our success stories,” she said. “You are the ones working hand-in-hand and heart-to-heart in early detection, and with the patients battling breast cancer every day.”
And onto lighter things, she noted that this year’s 23rd annual Crystal Gala will be held Oct. 23, with the theme of Nashville Nights.
“Glamorous and fun. I know you’re going to enjoy that,” she said.
The foundation continues to purchase much-needed equipment, which includes tissue processors, a neoprobe, a diagnostic mammography machine, breast ultrasound, as well as funding for research initiatives. More information is available at crystalgala.ca