Our Hospital, Our StoriesNinth annual Harvest Celebration moves hospital one step closer to seventh operating room

Posted on: Sep 20, 2019

Each year droves of Edmonton's most notable citizens reunite after the summer to welcome the harvest season. Harvest Celebration, now in its ninth year, is the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation's gala supporting the Lois Hole Hospital for Women.

Photo: Event Co-Chair Melanie Nakatsui embraces patient advocate Tawsha Klein-Sparks at Saturday's event.

For the third and final year, the gala focused on fundraising for a seventh operating suite at the hospital. The need came to life through an emotional video profiling Tawsha Klein-Sparks, a surgical patient of the hospital, and guest at the event.

After being diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer in November 2018, Tawsha experienced first-hand the need for additional surgical capacity at the hospital.  

"When you have cancer that is this aggressive and can spread so fast, waiting more than a month for surgery is just too long," said Klein-Sparks.  

The urgent need to complete the funding for the seventh operating suite was tangible. Klein-Sparks, who is no longer in remission, and once again fighting ovarian cancer stood to be acknowledged as the crowd rose to its feet. 

There are currently six, fully-equipped operating theatres in the hospital (including the da Vinci theatre) handling vital gynecology work including general, reproductive endocrinology and infertility, urogynecology and cancer surgery, as well as the emergency and planned caesarean section deliveries that take place daily. The hospital requires an additional operating room, currently being held as shelled space, to be completed. 

Once in place, thanks in large part to Harvest Celebration sponsors and attendees, the new operating room will mean nearly 1,500 more procedures are possible each year.

"It is an honour to represent the Lois Hole Hospital for Women in this way," said Krista and Andrew Ference, two of the evening's four co-chairs.

"The ever-increasing number of surgeries now clock in close to 7,000 per year. This additional operating room is critical for women across northern Alberta to be able to receive the care they need in the shortest period possible."

"To all of our Harvest Celebration sponsors, you have and hold our most profound appreciation," said Board Chair Zaheer Lakhani. "Their support is critical to the success of this event year after year. It is thanks to our sponsors that 100% of ticket and table sale revenues go directly to our cause of opening a seventh operating room at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women and we could not be more grateful." 

To make your impact on women's health for women just like Tawsha, make your gift to the seventh operating room by clicking here. Thank you for helping us reach our $1.7 million goal.