Westshore Community Makes History;
Raises $1 Million for Victoria General Hospital

In a true showing of community philanthropy, and for the first time in the gala’s history, the Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s Westshore gala Miracle on the Mountain raised a record-breaking $1 million in support of a new CT scanner for Victoria General Hospital (VGH). Held on Saturday, May 25, at the Westin Bear Mountain Resort the sold-out event announced a preliminary total of $956,000; however, Westshore and Foundation champions came together throughout the weekend to round up to seven figures.

“This final total is a tribute to the incredible philanthropists in our community, and a pure reflection of the Westshore’s generous nature. Seeing donors, caregivers, sponsors, and volunteer committee members united for the greater good of the community—during the gala, and immediately following it—is quite simply remarkable,” shares Avery Brohman, Victoria Hospitals Foundation CEO. “We know that the strongest hospitals across Canada have the strongest philanthropy, and what we have done for our imaging department at VGH is powerful and transformative. It is a great privilege to be witness to such intentional philanthropy.”

The success of the gala was kickstarted by local donor Craig Mearns who announced he would match all donations up to $500,000, encouraging a momentous show of generosity in the room, and post-gala.

“I’m honoured to support our local hospitals, and grateful to be able to amplify the impact we can all have as a community,” says local donor Craig Mearns. “I believe in the Foundation’s mission and the work they do to advance care for all Islanders. I look forward to continuing to support the incredible work done in our local hospitals. It’s so important that we all give to ensure our hospitals have the best technology and latest equipment. We are all better for it.”

In wishing to ensure the match would be fully met, it was Westshore champion Stew Young who rallied another $44,000 by pledging a $10,000 donation from his Westshore Charity Tournament, and inspiring donations from Gary Lunn ($5,000), Tom Burns from Zapco Welding & Fabricating ($5,000), Stew Young Jr from GFL Environmental ($5,000), Gerry Mounce from C-1 Contractors ($5,000), Bill Rai from Maxxam Insurance ($5,000), Russ Trace from Peninsula Rock Products ($5,000), and Sean Hutchinson from Temp Tech Mechanical ($2,000). Bette French, a Foundation donor and one of the volunteers at the gala, closed off the $1 million with a $2,000 donation.

The gala was a true Westshore affair. Emcee AJ Cruze of Ocean 98.5 lives on the Westshore, and internationally renowned magician Jason Verners who entertained the crowd is also from the area.

This Westshore pride was encouraged by the gala’s presenting sponsor Amy and Lewis Ratcliff from Engel & Völkers: The Ratcliff Group, whose office is on Bear Mountain. Amy Ratcliff was the Gala Committee Chair for the second consecutive year.

“We are honored to support the Victoria Hospitals Foundation, knowing that our contributions enhance patient care, equip our caregivers with advanced tools, and strengthen the community we proudly call home,” say Amy and Lewis Ratcliff. “Supporting a cause greater than ourselves and our business brings us immense pride, as it benefits us all.”

Through the night, the Foundation shone a light on the dedication of caregivers. Urologist Dr. Iain McAuley spoke to the importance of having the latest equipment to provide the best in care. His patient, James Anglin shared his moving story, including his journey with a recurrent bladder cancer and pancreatic cancer. James moved the crowd with a surprise rendition of the Beatles’ With a Little Help from My Friends. Both speakers highlighted the importance of the CT scanner.

In total, over 450 guests, donors, and local businesses contributed to the success of the event through auctions, the signature bear raffle, sponsorships, tickets, and a pledge drive.

With the generous $1 million from this past weekend, the Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s Imaging is Power campaign has just a little over $1 million left to go to hit its $11 million goal. The Foundation is thankful for the more than 5,600 donors who have supported the campaign so far, and for this latest momentum provided by the gala. It will continue in its endeavour towards the completion of the imaging campaign.