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'Black & White' gala to be classy night out

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One of the biggest nights in Borderland is set to make its return this weekend.

The Riverside Foundation for Health Care is holding its annual fall gala at the Copper River Inn this Saturday, and Foundation director Allison Cox shared that the team has been hard at work to ensure this year's event lives up to expectations.

“My volunteers on the special events committee have been very busy the past six months or so getting everything ready to make sure that we have a great evening supporting health care close to home,” Cox said.

The theme for this year's gala is “Black & White,” and while those attending the gala don't need to head out and buy tuxedoes or ballgowns, Cox noted that everyone is encouraged to dress up a little.

“People are encouraged to dress semi-formal,” she explained.

“They don't necessarily have to be in black and white, but if they'd like to come dressed like that they can. We're kind of going for more of a classier upscale evening. The past few galas have all been kind of costume-themed, so we wanted to give people an opportunity to get dressed up for a nice classy evening out, which we don't get much chance to do in this community.”

Even as the look and theme of the gala changes from year to year, Cox said that many of the staple events will stay the same.

“As always, we've got our penny table, silent auction and live auction,” she said.

“We've got Telford Advent on board coming to donate his services for our live auction, so that's always exciting to have him there. And then we have our grand prize, so people will be able to purchase raffle tickets on a $1,000 package of beverages and a bar cart.”

There's also the opportunity to grab a commemorative snapshot of the evening.

“We're excited this year as well to have Amanda Caron from Honey and Clove Photography coming,” Cox explained.

“She's going to be set up with a backdrop to take pictures that will be available for purchase on site. We've got an on-site printer to use for that.”

While there are plenty of activities to take part in—and delicious food to indulge in—Riverside's annual gala is always held for a reason, and this year is no exception.

“This year we're raising funds for a new microbiology system,” Cox explained.

“We do actually already have one on site but it is 12 years old, so it's reached its end of life cycle and needs to be replaced.”

The microbiology system is used by a number of facilities in the Riverside Health Care network, including the hospital here, as well as the health centres and clinics in Emo and Rainy River, and Atikokan General Hospital.

“[The microbiology system's] job is to detect pathogenic bugs that could be causing patients harm,” Cox said.

“These specimens are run through this microbiology system . . . and that system analyzes it and then give suggestions as to the appropriate antibodies to treat the infection. They do run through an average of nine thousand specimens each year, so it is a pretty important system to have here to ensure that the patient standards are being met and that people are getting that good level of care that's provided here.”

A brand new microbiology system will carry a $25,000 price tag, which makes fundraising efforts that much more important, but Cox said that's exactly what the gala is for.

“We expect to raise the full funds from the gala to pay for the entire amount,” she said.

And the foundation is on the way there already. As of Monday afternoon, all of the tickets to the gala were sold, with those still interested in attending being able to call the Foundation to add their names to a waitlist for tickets.

Cox said the fact that the gala sells out year after year shows just how important health care is to the community.

“I think a big part of it is that health care resonates with everyone in the community,” she said, adding that at some point we're all going to have to use the services of Riverside Health Care.

Even though the tickets are gone, Cox said there are still ways to contribute to the gala.

“We are still accepting donations towards penny table and silent auction if anyone's interested in donating towards that,” she noted.

“And there are still some exclusive sponsorship opportunities available to businesses and individuals as well. So if anyone's interested in learning more about that, they can get in touch with me.”

The Riverside Foundation for Health Care Black & White Fall Gala runs from 5-11 p.m. at the Copper River Inn this Saturday.

Those interested in donating to or sponsoring the event, or to be put on the waitlist for tickets, can call the Foundation at 274-4803.

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