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19th annual STARS and Spurs gala raises a record $1.1 million

01.22.2013 Fundraising Calgary

It’s one for the record books.

The popular STARS and Spurs Gala, an annual fundraiser presented by the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC), raised a staggering $1.139 million Saturday night in Calgary.

The total amount surpassed last year’s successful gala by about $250,000.

The support and generosity of individuals, corporations and the energy industry left STARS president and CEO, Andrea Robertson, bursting with pride.

“How do you thank these people,” she asked. “The support is overwhelming.”

The 19th annual event, held at the BMO Centre at Stampede Park, was attended by roughly 1,200 guests, who dined on prime rib, enjoyed music by country singer, Gord Bamford, and participated in an entertaining live auction, led by auctioneer Danny Hooper.

The live auction was an incredible success and a highlight of the evening. One energy company CEO spent $175,000 on three different industry packages, which included well services and a cement job. He was the only person to purchase more than one item from the live auction, which raised a total of $417,750 from 13 items. There were 168 items in the silent auction, which raised $70,236.

In addition to representatives from the energy sector, the event was attended by a number of STARS Very Important Patients. One of those VIPs, Michelle Salt, shared her experience with guests. Salt was injured in June 2011 when she had an accident on her new motorcycle as she travelled near Cochrane.

At the collision scene Michelle’s life depended on the quick response of STARS to get her to the hospital so doctors could stop the blood loss. Upon arrival, Michelle’s family was told her outcome would have been different if she had arrived two minutes later. In order to save Michelle’s life, doctors had to amputate her right leg eight inches above the knee.

“Even though I don’t remember much of that day, I have heard from many people the incredible story of Fraser and Karla, my pilots, who took a chance and made the decision to land right on the steep Cochrane hill, something I have been told is dangerous and almost impossible,” she said. “Doctors still to this day tell me I’m very lucky to be alive but I know it has nothing to do with luck. It has everything to do with the red and white helicopter in the sky filled with a talented crew that has the skills to help keep people alive.”

You could hear a pin drop in the sprawling room as Michelle told her story. Many people cried. Michelle received a standing ovation when she told the crowd that she has her eye on qualifying to represent Canada at the 2014 Paralympic Games in snowboarding.

Longtime STARS flight paramedic, Ken King, was also honoured at the gala, with the 2013 STARS and Spurs Gala Honourary Patron award. Ken, who has been with STARS since the early days, was recognized for his dedication.  Ken serves as vice president of patient access and safety at STARS. Last June, Ken made STARS history by becoming the first flight paramedic to fly 1,000 patient care missions.

STARS and Spurs Gala chairman, John Gorman of Halliburton, thanked all the volunteers for a job well done. “The STARS and Spurs Gala is a great showcase of the generosity of our industry and the commitment that we all have to ensure safe and vibrant communities and to organizations like STARS who make that commitment easy to keep,” he said.  “What we accomplish here could not be possible without the amazing efforts of my fellow committee members and all of the volunteers who have given substantial time over the past year in helping plan, organize and work this event.”

Next year’s gala, the 20th annual, will be held on Jan. 25, 2014.

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