It was a night to remember for attendees of the 27th annual Compass Group Canada Festival of Trees RBC Black Tie Gala! A memorial tree, created by the late Audrey Parker, sold at auction for more than $61,000!
Parker, a Halifax advocate for changes to Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) law, worked with the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia and a special group of friends to produce a Chanel-themed Christmas tree before she died on Nov. 1st.
Her hope was to see the tree raise $50,000 and to have it donated to the Hospice Halifax.
“We are absolutely thrilled we were able to make Audrey’s dream (and then some!) come true,” says Starr Cunningham, Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia President & CEO. “Our friends at the J&W Murphy Foundation made this possible by donating $50,000 at the beginning of the night. Lisa Murphy and Karen Spaulding are dedicated supporters of the Foundation and Hospice, so it was a natural fit. We will be forever grateful to these incredibly generous Nova Scotia sisters.”
The $50,000 grew to over $61,000 and counting after Starr challenged the room to surpass Audrey’s original goal. “It was truly magical,” says Starr.
“It's amazing how Audrey Parker's legacy continues to touch the lives of others. We are thrilled that a generous donation for Audrey's tree will benefit the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia and we're equally pleased to display the tree -- truly a unique creation -- at our temporary office this season, knowing we will showcase her tree at future holiday events at the new hospice residence. Thank you, everyone,” says Gordon Neal, CEO Hospice Halifax.
The Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia is still accepting pledges toward Audrey’s Tree. If you would like to help that total grow, you can link to the pledge page by visiting – www.mentalhealthns.ca
The RBC Black Tie Gala also featured a video interview with Parker and a moving performance of Don McLean’s Vincent (Starry, Starry Night) by Zoe Leger that was set to a video presentation by RPM Productions. The evening wrapped-up with dancing and music by Asia & NuGruv.
Beyond the RBC Black Tie Gala, Festival weekend included the Shannex Holiday Luncheon on Friday, November 23rd. The afternoon event featured a poignant reading of the book EveryBody’s Different on Everybody Street by friend of the Foundation, children’s author and mental health advocate, Sheree Fitch.
The Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia would like to extend gratitude to its Festival Event Sponsors: Compass Group Canada, RBC and Shannex; Media Sponsor, CTV; Branding Sponsor, Revolve; A/V Sponsor, FMAV and Video Sponsor RPM Productions. A full list of sponsors and partners can be found online at www.mentalhealthns.ca/festival-of-trees/
Funds raised at the Festival of Trees support mental health programs and services across Nova Scotia.