The heart-wrenching plight of a terminally ill White Rock girl inspired thousands of dollars in donations Saturday for Canuck Place, the Vancouver children’s hospice that has been a lifeline for her family.
Sandra Christian, owner of Creative Kids Learning Centers, said Monday a preliminary tally puts the total raised by the Mom’s Night Out event at around $11,000 – more than five times what organizers were hoping for.
“It was such a hit… out of this world,” Christian said.
The soiree was organized in honour of Gabrielle Ross, the year-old sister of preschool student James Ross. Gabrielle was born with Inclusion-cell (I-cell) disease, a rare and incurable genetic disorder in which lysosomes in her cells aren’t properly storing waste.
She and her family – mom and dad, Amy and Regan, and brothers James and Michael – have received tremendous support from Canuck Place on their journey.
Their story, detailed in the Peace Arch News Nov. 17, “really affected this cause,” Christian said, estimating 150 women turned out to shop, bid on auction items and socialize.
“It was full the entire time,” she said of the fundraiser, which was held at Creative Kids’ Rosemary Heights location.
Silent auction items that helped drive up the total included a dinner from Cactus Club, a birthday party package from 4Cats Arts Studio, a signed Whitecaps jersey and Canucks tickets.
Cash donations also played a significant role, and included $1,000 from King of Floors and $2,500 from an anonymous donor.
Christian said part of the night’s proceeds will go directly to the Ross family to assist in the purchase of a special walker and high chair for Gabrielle, to help her see the world from the height perspective of a healthy one-year-old.
Amy Ross – who stopped by with husband Regan after watching election results that put her father, Wayne Baldwin, in the White Rock mayor’s chair – described the event as “overwhelmingly awesome.”
“Gabrielle was a little star,” she said.
Combined with her dad’s win at city hall, “it was a really exciting night for all of us.”