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Foundation fiesta raises mucho dineros

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The Riverside Foundation for Health Care's “Fiesta like there's no manana” here Saturday night indeed was a reason to the celebrate.

Riverside will be able to purchase a new fetal monitor and new operating room monitor after about 220 district residents raised more than $35,000 while partying at the Memorial Sports Centre auditorium.

“I think it went really well,” said Foundation director Allison Cox.

The 20th Foundation gala marked Cox's first, and she was amazed by the hard work and creativity of the Foundation's special events committee.

“Those ladies do a wonderful job," she enthused. ”Also, I was blown by the support of the community and how much everyone is willing to give.

“I was impressed by how smoothly everything went and I am really looking forward to next year's [gala] already,” Cox added.

Foundation chair Bill Gushulak said the success of the event was due not only to the generosity of those who attended, and the numerous donors and sponsors, but also the hard work of the “esteemed, talented, and very creative” special events committee, including Janice Cousineau, Grace Cridland, Karen Woods, Livia Lundon, Lynne Savage, Jan Abbott, Natalie DeGagne, Neila Booth, and Joelle Blanc-Paull.

“Now aside from the great fun and success that these ladies have had over the years with raising funds to help improve health care across the Rainy River District, what helps to keep this creative group motivated is the continued support they receive from those who attend the many fun events—people like you who have gathered here tonight,” Gushulak added.

“Your participation, generous support, and enjoyment of the various themes they select is what keeps them enthused,” he remarked.

“Thank you to all of you for being here.”

As mentioned, a portion of this year's funds will be used to purchase a fetal monitor with wireless capabilities.

“This allows maternal and fetal heart monitoring while mothers are able to move around freely,” Cox explained.

“Caregivers can also then access the patient information remotely," she added. "So it just really gives these labouring mothers a great experience.”

The balance will allow for the purchase of a new operating room monitor.

“This monitor will be used in the endoscopy suite and will provide an enhanced image, making it easier to detect abnormal tissue and allow patients to view the procedure if they wish to do so,” noted Cox.

The funds were raised in numerous ways, including a live auction.

Auctioneer Telford Advent of Riverbend Auction Services got the bids flowing like sangria on 11 desirable items, ranging from a guided fishing trip for four at Sunset Cove Resort to four tickets to see the Minnesota Vikings, a baseball autographed by Blue Jays' pitcher Marco Estrada, and a Toronto Maple Leafs' package (including tickets, airfare from Thunder Bay, and spending money).

There also was a silent auction, with more than 90 items up for bid, as well as a penny table.

A “Caro O Cruz” heads or tails elimination game saw Darcy Meyers win $588.

There also were “Mucho Dineros” mystery bags sold for a chance to win $100 (this was won by Paigelyn Kitowski, who donated the money back to the Foundation).

The arena auditorium was adorned with colourful, festive decorations in a celebration of latino culture. The ambience was enhanced by Mariachi El Norte, a four-piece “Latin Motown” band from Winnipeg that roamed from table to table playing for patrons during dinner.

They later closed out the evening after the live auction.

“They were great,” said Cox, adding the band went above and beyond what they required for the evening; they just loved playing for the crowd that much.

But it's not a true fiesta without food, of which there was plenty.

The Muskie football team served up appetizers and helped clear the tables after dinner.

Dinner, catered by Tess's Kitchen here, included a Mexican buffet, including a taco bar with all the fixings, followed by a dessert bar with some authentic specialties like arroz con creme (rice pudding) and leche flan.

Flint House, meanwhile, ran the cantina, serving up margaritas, cervezas, and flights of tequila.

There also was a photo booth with props, where dinner guests could grab a sombrero or fake moustache, strike a pose, and say, “Queso” for the camera.

Jay McFarlane of 2tone Music Productions served as emcee for the evening.

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