Skip to content

After a four-year hiatus, Stanton Territorial Hospital Foundation gala returns

It was a sold-out crowd at the Stanton Territorial Hospital Foundation Gift of Giving at the Explorer Hotel last weekend. Angelina Gibson, far left, raises her hands in victory after winning the Heads and Tails Game. Photo courtesy of Munya Visual Factory

Patty Olexin-Lang was lost for words when first asked how last weekend’s gala went for the Stanton Territorial Hospital Foundation. After a moment, she answered.

“Everybody was, for lack of a better word, blown away and ecstatic and happy and partied,” she said. “The whole night was unforgettable.”

The gala took place in the Explorer Hotel, the first one for the hospital in what’s been about four years, said Olexin-Lang, executive director of the foundation.

It’s also a fundraising event, where the proceeds raised go to support equipment purchases at the Stanton Territorial Hospital, she added.

Between live music from the Edmonton group, Five On The Side, and plenty of good company, Olexin-Lang said that small businesses in Yellowknife, still feeling the impact of a COVID pandemic and evacuations, were important contributors to last weekend’s fundraising.

Together, they donated more than 150 items totaling more than $48,000 in value.

“It was unbelievable,” she said.

There’s still no total of what they’ve made yet, but it’ll sure make a dent in covering Stanton’s cost for new equipment, Olexin-Lang said. In fact, the gala saw more money come in than she was expecting.

“The generosity in this town left us speechless,” said Olexin-Lang. “I just sat there in amazement at the bidding wars that were going on.”

In a packed house of more than 280 people, and money seeming to fly through the room, it was all done in the theme of The Great Gatsby.

Between Gatsby-themed backdrops, drinks and live auction boards, one thing Olexin-Lang emphasized was how well everyone dressed the part.

“95 per cent of the women had Gatsby attire on,” she said, adding that there were a good handful of guys that came in Gatsby attire as well.

“It was the roaring 20’s in the Gatsby era, and what are we in now?” Olexin-Lang asked rhetorically. “The 20’s so far have been roaring.”

Raising money is the main goal for this event, Olexin-Lang explained, but for this one especially, there comes a vital social aspect also.

“People needed to get out and do this,” she said.

The last gala for the Stanton foundation was in 2019 and February 2020 was the last Gala for the Yellowknife Community Foundation. By march of that year, Covid-19 had shut them both down.

It’s made the demand for another one strong.

“I didn’t have to advertise at all,” Olexin-Lang said enthusiastically. “So many people were so positive about coming out to it and wanting to share and celebrate the foundation.”

Olexin-Lang also gave a massive thank you to all of her sponsors. She highlighted a cheque presentation from the CIBC Run for Our Lives Committee for the purchase of a new 3D mammography machine for breast imaging for the Stanton hospital.

Olexin-Lang said she’s already looking to book another gala for next year - tentatively next February - and will try and make room for more guests. Until then, she’ll have to ride the high of this year’s reemergence.

“There were people on the dance floor from the first note to the last.”

—By Devon Tredinnick