The society that runs the Red Deer Hospice at 99 Arnot Avenue is preparing for their annual gala fundraiser to take place Feb. 25 at the Sheraton Hotel. (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)

Raising money for hospice care

Red Deer Hospice Society’s gala on Feb. 25

The need for the Red Deer Hospice remains high as the non-profit society that runs the facility prepares for its annual gala to raise money to operate the 10-bed facility.

Val Hilario, Red Deer Hospice Society executive director, said hospice staff cared for 157 clients last year.

Since September 2005, the local hospice has provided compassionate palliative care so people can die in peace, comfort and dignity in a home-like setting with support for their friends and family.

“We’re still providing exemplary care. The staff is stable. They’ve been there for years and years. It’s a gem in the community of Red Deer. We’re so fortunate to have it,” Hilario said.

The society would like to expand the facility by adding six more rooms.

She said it would be easy to fill those beds, but more operational funding would first have to be secured from Alberta Health Services.

“We’re having to provide over 60 per cent of our operating budget through our fundraising. We receive only 40 per cent in publicly funded money.”

She said it costs about $500 a day for clients to stay, but the hospice would never charge anyone to stay at the facility.

AHS originally covered close to 60 per cent of operational costs, but as the cost of living has gone up, funding has not.

“There are only three stand alone hospices in Alberta and some are paid up to 60 per cent public money. Our contract needs to be looked at,” Hilario said.

The society wants to meet with AHS to discuss an increase in funding, she said.

The HospICE Gala — Welcome to the Luxe Lounge, on Feb. 25 at Sheraton Red Deer, is the society’s biggest annual fundraiser.

Last year the gala raised $160,000.

Event co-ordinator Lori Dufresne said gala guests can look forward to Edmonton band Bella Rouge whose repertoire includes celebrity impersonations.

“In keeping with the entertainment we hired, we’ve gone with an ’80s glam look for the room, like a club,” Dufresne said.

Tickets are $200 each, with a $100 charitable tax receipt. Tickets can be purchased online at www.reddeerhospice.com, or by calling the hospice at 403-309-4344.

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