The 2022 Vaisakhi Mela celebration was capped off with a special announcement – a huge personal donation to nearly complete the fundraising for Mission’s CT scanner.
The April 8 Clarke Theatre event celebrating the start of the Punjabi New Year, hosted by the Mission Punj-Aab Culture Club, also served as a fundraiser for the CT scanner equipment for the hospital.
“Everyone is so impressed, and so happy to have received the very generous donations from the Indo-Canadian community,” said Dr. Andy Edelson, spokesperson for Mission All Together for Healthcare (MATH).
Tickets ranging from $25 to $50 brought in upwards of $20,000 (the total is still being counted), which was matched by another cheque for $21,000 from the Mission Punj-Aab Culture Club.
The Mission Punj-Aab Culture Club was very happy with the turnout, said Satti Grewal, a member who also sits on the MATH board. He said he brought fundraising to the attention of the club and everyone agreed.
But a donation from developer Sukh Grewal (no relation to Satti) – the father of Geet Grewal, the Liberal candidate for Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon in the 2021 Federal Election – surprised everyone.
Satti said mid-way through the event, while he was emceeing on stage, Sukh asked: “‘How much are you short of the total?’”
Satti said he responded 550-ish: “‘Okay, I’ll pay for it.’ And I remember asking him again, because it’s $550,000. He said ‘Yeah, yeah.’
“That was totally unexpected.”
The CT scanner project has already been approved by Fraser Health, but MATH still needed to raise approximately $1.3 million for its ancillary equipment, similar to what other communities have paid.
MATH had raised approximately $464,000 before the event; they are now over the million dollar mark.
Ken Selvaraja, the owner of Lanka Jewels and a founding member of MATH, said getting the CT scanner is just one of the initial steps for the organization. He said he hopes to see the hospital become a training centre for first responders.
“The vision started about three years ago when we realized the physicians here don’t have adequate equipment to make proper diagnostics and treatments,” Selvaraja said. “A million dollars is a lot of money in a very small community.”
He said the fundraising efforts have inspired everyone, and all donors – big and small – are appreciated.
Selvaraja said one woman walked into his store during a raffle, wanting to donate $10 because she couldn’t afford the $100 ticket.
“That obviously touched me, and I said ‘This is what communities are made of. Everybody chips in.’”
This is the second Vaisakhi Mela celebration to take place in Mission, the first being almost 10 years ago, Gill said.