Red & White Gala for WDMH a patriotic hit

Bob and Sandra Weagant, honourary co-chairs of the Winchester District Memorial Hospital's Red & White fundraiser Gala, pose at the June 3 event, prior to the start of the after-party. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

WINCHESTER — Justin Bieber has left the arena!

And so has Wayne Gretzky, Laura Secord, Alexander Graham Bell and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

They were all at The Red & White Gala for WDMH – in spirit at least! They joined close to 300 guests at the Joel Steele Community Centre, June 3, to support the Winchester District Memorial Hospital.

It was a truly Canadian evening with guests transformed into famous Canadians, while enjoying a coast-to-coast buffet, the sight of Canadian coins and diamonds, and an all-Canadian set list by The Boland Family and The Fundamentals and much more.

Twins? Ed Duncan and Nick Thurler. Courtesy photo by Amy Fraser

The event’s final tally is still being calculated, but funds raised will support the WDMH Foundation Family Care Fund.

Young auctioneering prodigy Brandon Scheepers got things off with bang – taking the highest bid for guests to go first in the buffet line. For the record, the winning table paid $120 for the honour. Later in the evening, Scheepers’s winning style helped raise more than $10,000 more during the live auction.

WDMH Foundation Board Chair Tom Dawson welcomed guests and noted that the Foundation is all about relationships. “We are honoured to work with our local communities to raise much-needed funds for hospital equipment. You provide incredible support to us — and, in turn  — you also support the hospital and the patients and families that are cared for every day.”

Guests were riveted by a story shared by patient Ida Bell and her midwife Rosemarie Parisien. Having WDMH close to home made all the difference when Bell’s son, Ethan, was born. “Ethan’s birth story is truly a beautiful example of how the Family Care Fund benefits patients at WDMH. By having donors to support the purchase of proper equipment, WDMH is better equipped to recruit and retain the best staff – who are so needed in a situation like this, where it’s a big team of people coming together to help during an urgent and scary situation,” summed up Parisien.

At the end of the evening, honourary co-chairs Bob and Sandra Weagant shared their thoughts. “We were honoured to be asked to be part of tonight’s event because WDMH is our hospital and we are pleased to support it. We are all so fortunate to have it right here in Winchester so close to home,” noted The Weagants. “Many people are not aware that our tax dollars do not fund everything that a hospital needs. That’s where we all come in. If we don’t support it, we won’t have the wonderful services and equipment and doctors and staff that we all need.”

To wrap things up, WDMH Foundation Managing Director Kristen Casselman thanked everyone for coming: “Please give yourselves a round of applause for the amazing generosity you have provided toour local hospital here tonight. You make my job so much fun and so rewarding and we can’t thank you enough for your support.”

This was the second consecutive annual Gala fundraiser since the event’s revival in 2016 following several years of hiatus.

This North Dundas Council trio posed for a quintessential Canadian canoe scene, with Mayor Eric Duncan (left) and Councillor Tony Fraser paddling forward as Deputy Mayor Gerry Boyce clutches the lunch basket. Courtesy photo by Amy Fraser


The arena was decorated to represent Canada’s four seasons, including summers on the lake in a canoe. Guests got right into the Canadian spirit! From left: Tara Whelan, Colleen Szeifried, Vanessa McRostie, Liz Sharpley, Ida Bell and Rosemary Parisien. Courtesy photo


The Weagant Family was well-represented at the Gala. Courtesy photo




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