The “Old Hollywood” Gala in support of Cameryn’s Cause was held on April 25 at the Sportsplex and raised $47,000.
Tickets for the event sold out within one hour resulting in 350 guests attending and dining on a gourmet meal provided by Quay West Kitchen and Catering that featured themed cocktails, appetizers and dessert bar.
Guests were welcomed by a red carpet with old-fashioned cars parked outside. A replica of the Hollywood sign was set up on the Sportsplex Hill.
Inside everyone enjoyed dancing to the music provided by The P-Nut Gallery and Theo. There was also a silent auction and a live auction.
The emotional heart of the annual event was given a voice by Cameryn’s Cause founder Shayleen Harris.
Before 2007, Campbell River was a very different place for families with sick or injured children, or for families that were dealing with the death of a child, Harris said.
Without warning, a family’s life is thrown into turmoil. Expenses come out of nowhere. Flights. Ferries. Gas. Hotel rooms. Long-term parking at the hospital. Childcare for the children left at home. Meals. Back at home, the mortgage is still due. The hydro needs to be paid. The bills don’t have sympathy for their plight. And one parent, usually dad, is away from the family trying to pay for it all. The reality? These should be the least of their worries.
“When a child dies, the expenses are ones that you never even want to think about, but again – the reality is they are there,” Harris said. “For the last eight years, for 120 families to date in Campbell River, something was to change. Not the expenses and the reality of dealing with a sick child – that didn’t go away. But the ability to cope better did, in the form of Cameryn’s Cause. Very quickly, families are able to receive funds to keep them going. To take that flight to get there faster, to get a hotel room instead of sleeping in a chair at the hospital. To have both parents there at the child’s side, which is the best medicine a child could have. And for grieving families facing a loss, Cameryn’s Cause provides funds to help pay for the funeral, and allows the families to give their child that last gift.
“So how do we pay for this? This past year Cameryn’s Cause had a variety of successful fundraising events. We had last year’s gala, which raised an amazing $37,000. We had a radiothon hosted by 99.7 Today FM, a golf tournament put on by Sequoia Springs, a comedy night, a Shopping For Cameryn’s Cause event, the Storm vs. Cameryn’s Cause Charity game, a Onesie Party, to name the larger ones. We also had raffles like the Brown’s Bay Hawaii trip. Some of my favourite donations come from children from things like bake sales and birthday parties. We also had a one-day dance-a-thon put on by the kids at Urban Dance which raised an amazing $6,000 for Cameryn’s Cause. There’s something really wonderful about kids helping other kids. And there are many more donations or smaller contributions that are just as important and make a huge impact for our families.
“One of the things that has come out of this experience is something that families have shared with me time and time again – it’s not just about the money. As one father put it, there’s something comforting in knowing that your community is behind you that makes things easier to bear. And that is, I believe, one of the greatest blessings of Cameryn’s Cause, and the thing that makes all the work worthwhile.
“I’d like to end with a quote from Albert Schweitzer, who said, ‘In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flames by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.’
“Cameryn, her life and her legacy, were that spark for me. And it is through all of you, and with your support that we are able to be that spark for our families. Thank you for helping to rekindle their spirits, and for helping us build a support system for many more families in the years to come.”