A celebration of life and a determination to end the grip cancer has on so many lives resounded at the River Rock Show Theatre on April 8.
It was the 16th annual Richmond Nite of Hope Gala and a packed audience of around 400 were witness to an evening full of emotion, generosity and gratitude.
Co-chairs for the event, the husband and wife team of Rob and Richelle Akimow, said they were delighted with the turnout and grateful for the support in raising $180,558 which will be used to help purchase state-of-the-art diagnostic breast cancer screening equipment at Richmond Hospital.
“This was an amazing event,” Rob said. “The elevated mood made this a very uplifting celebration of life.”
“We’d like to thank everyone who had a hand in making this a great success — the countless hours by the organizing committee and a host of volunteers who kept everything running so well,” said Richelle.
Money raised on the night came from a variety of sources.
The Harness the Hope event at Fraser Downs Racetrack and Casino provided just under $12,000, while the Richmond Firefighters’ Charitable Society provided a cheque for $5,000, plus another $4,000 from their auction prize contribution of preparing two meals in the winners’ homes.
The visit of three of Vancouver’s finest food trucks to the Richmond News office a week prior to the Nite of Hope Gala added $2,000.
The River Rock Casino added $5,500.
The remainder came from live and silent auctions, 50/50 ticket sales, plus numerous other fundraising activities on the night.
Overall, the Nite of Hope events — two others were spawned in White Rock, and the North Shore — have raised close to $4 million over the years.
“Needless to say that I am extremely proud of the growth of this event,” said Judi Knapp, founder of the Nite of Hope in her opening remarks to the audience. “The community awareness that it has received and the countless lives in British Columbia and beyond which have been touched through the breast cancer research funding our event has provided.”
Knapp added that the biggest reward for her in creating the Nite of Hope — something she embarked on after losing her mother and sister in law to the disease — is seeing how it has brought people together.
“We all needed a platform from which to fight back,” she said. “And I am in awe of the volunteer committee who make this evening happen, and the amazing survivors who have shared with me their stories of despair, recovery, and return to a full and thriving life.
“They really are the ‘hope’ in the Nite of Hope.”
For more stories on the 16th annual Nite of Hope, click on the links below:
Daughter draws strength from caring crowd
Horse lovers harness hope for Nite
Nite a touching moment for 50/50 guys
Firefighters warm up to Nite of Hope
Radiologist praises promise of new equipment
Donations rise as diners tuck into food truck fare