Tania Woodbeck hopes an upcoming auction in Courtenay will raise a record amount of money for a foundation that grants wishes to sick children and their families.
The May 30 auction/dinner at the Westerly ballroom is a benefit for the Help Fill A Dream Foundation — a Vancouver Island and Gulf Island-based organization that provides services and support to youngsters suffering from life-threatening diseases. The Flying Canoe West Coast Pub hosted last year’s auction.
Woodbeck and her friend Cory Labbey have been “pounding the pavement” as they speak with businesses and acquire auction items.
Call it a labour of love for Woodbeck.
“My husband (Wayne) and I were inspired many years ago by friends in Victoria who did an auction at a pub. We helped out. It was a lot of fun, so we thought, ‘Why aren’t we doing that in our community?’ We used to do it at the Griffin Pub.”
The couple had organized foundation fundraisers from 1999 to 2003 until their lives became busier when their son Austin was born. Last year, they decided to re-start the fundraising — this time, with help from business partners Jason and Jennifer Borth, with whom they co-own Fix Auto Courtenay (Georgia Straight Collision & Towing).
“At the Griffin, our maximum amount we pulled out after an auction was about $8,600,” Woodbeck said. “Last year, leading up to the auction, we were thinking it would be awesome if we could do $10,000. It would be record-breaking. We ended up with over $16,000 for the night.”
June 11 marked the eighth birthday of Austin, who asked for donations instead of gifts to support Help Fill a Dream. He raised $265, which put the fundraising total over the $17,000 mark.
“It was fantastic,” Woodbeck said. “We were blown away.”
Last year, the Flying Canoe donated service charges to the cause.
This year, tradesmen will again do custom work for the auction, which will feature an assortment of items, such as gift baskets from the Royston Roasting Company and Hot Chocolates. The first big ticket item has come from Island Home Furniture, which has donated a glass top table and a print, which retail for $899 and $399 respectively.
Other items include a Tayco Paving gift certificate for 14 tons of material, Judi Wild art, Wade’s Auto Works gift certificates and a watch worth $300 from SKINsational Body & Skin Solutions.
Guests can also bid on a ‘wall of wine,’ sponsored in part by Gary Marcus Trucking.
About 150 people attended last year’s auction. Woodbeck expects about the same number this year — which will hopefully be another record-breaker.
She and Wayne used to cover administration costs, which the business now covers.
“We’re so proud to be part of this organization,” Woodbeck said. “It is awesomely heartwarming the way that our community pulls together to assist the children and families that are going through challenges. We are truly blessed to live here and be a part of it all.”
Since its inception in 1986, the foundation has helped more than 2,100 children on Vancouver Island. Locally, it has assisted Markus (Dream RV trip to LEGOLAND), Linden (Disneyland) and Nikko (Hawaii).
Help Fill A Dream was the vision of founder Rick Thomas, a bus driver in Victoria. Touched by a sick passenger’s wish to visit her grandmother in Nova Scotia, Thomas set out a plan to make it happen. Less than a year later, the foundation was formed.
Help Fill a Dream differs from other children’s foundations by offering three programs:
•Family Assistance — to enable parents to be with children during treatments and hospitalizations. It contributes toward transportation, accommodations and food, and sometimes child care for siblings.
•Quality of Life — to ease day-to-day life by way of home adjustments such as wheelchair ramps, or special therapy such as music or equine.
•Dreams — to provide children over three and their families with hope; Dreams could be a Disney vacation, meeting someone famous, or visiting family members in distant locations.
“The Courtenay auction is a prime example of how community members can join together to help people in their own communities,” Help Fill A Dream president Denyse Koo said. “Whether large or small, every contribution (auction donation or purchase) supports the dreams of the children and their families. Every contribution of volunteer time contributes to the feeling of support from the community and gets family through the struggles of dealing with illness in the family. People may be quite happy with the items they acquire through the auction, but much more significant is the hope and happiness that their donations help to provide to children.”
Tickets for the Courtenay gala dinner and auction are $40 each. Cocktails are at 5:30 p.m., dinner is at 6 p.m. and the auction starts at 7:30 p.m. Seating will be available for those not wanting dinner.
For more information call Woodbeck at 465-8401 or Labbey at 792-1961. Visit Facebook at on.fb.me/1bw1U4U.