Two pint-sized ‘graduates’ of the NICU helped present a $51,000 cheque from ‘Bloom: An Evening of Love’ to the unit on Monday at Royal University Hospital (RUH). Their moms are co-event directors for ‘Bloom’ and were pleased to hand over the results of the fund raising efforts.
“We’re absolutely thrilled,” said Amy Novakovski,founder of Bloom. “We had always hoped to hit the $50,000 mark and to hit it in our fifth year is phenomenal. It’s very, very exciting.”
Novakovski launched Bloom after her son, Dutch, needed the care of NICU. “They gave me my baby boy. And now he’s doing wonderful.” Bloom is her way of giving back.
Co-event director Tina Searcy shares a similar experience. Her daugher Charlie was born two months premature. The emotions attached to Charlie’s perilous 12 days in NICU are still close to the surface for Searcy. She joined Bloom a year after it was launched.
“We exceeded our initial expectations by far,” said Searcy. “Over five years we’ve donated just over $140,000 to NICU in Saskatoon.”
Over 300 guests attended the May fund-raising gala at the Travelodge. The event has sold out each year and sought expanded venues each year. Searcy said sponsorship is key. “We grew in sponsorship from 14 sponsors last year to 27 this year.” Bloom has maintained and added some exciting new corporate sponsorships, and hopes to continue to grow the event.
RUH staff assembled to received the cheque. Adele Riehl, manager of nursing at RUH said the cheque for $51,000 was another great donation. “It’s wonderful, every year it’s more. I was shocked to hear how much they raised this year.”
Riehl said while basic equipment is covered in their budget, there are many enhancement needs for the unit that
are not covered. She said they’ve been working hard in the past couple of weeks, reviewing their equipment needs for the new Children’s Hospital
“We’ve been identifying things that we will be bringing with us and not bringing with us. We’re really going to be conscious about how we spend this money and make sure we get something that we’re going to be bringing with us to the new hospital. This is a huge piece of money so it will be great to have something that we will be able to bring with us, and that we’ll be able to say, ‘this is where we got it from’.”
Novakovski said Bloom may have a couple of ideas for allocating the funds based on what they’ve seen implemented in other NICU’s in Canada. “This year we’ll maybe make a suggestion for a couple of different things we’d like to see our NICU be able to house. Stay tuned.”