After a two-year break from in-person events, it was a joy to be back together in Lethbridge to connect with community members during an elegant evening under the stars!
Inside the Sandman Signature Lethbridge Lodge on October 15, Harvest Moon Ball attendees mingled while enjoying signature cocktails, an elegant dinner, inspiring stories, silent and live auctions and live entertainment from Lethbridge band The Chevelles. Thanks to the generosity of guests and sponsors, the event raised over $174,000* to help support compassionate programs, specialized equipment, enhanced care spaces and more at St. Michael’s Health Centre and St. Therese Villa in Lethbridge!
Guests bid on silent auction items donated by generous local businesses and community partners in Lethbridge. Auction proceeds supported Covenant Health’s St. Michael’s Health Centre and St. Therese Villa.
This year, our 19th annual Harvest Moon Ball was presented by Julie Perverseff in honour of Cor Van Raay. Cor had been the presenting sponsor since 2018, including in 2020 and 2021 when the event shifted to a virtual auction during the pandemic. Sadly, Cor passed away in 2021 after a brief time as a patient at St. Michael’s Health Centre.
“St. Michael’s was one of his favourite places to donate to, and he always used to say, ‘A guy’s gotta support St. Michael’s, because a guy never knows when he’s going to need them,’” said Julie, Cor’s longtime partner. Cor believed deeply in giving back to the southern Alberta and Saskatchewan communities he and Julie had called home together, a tradition Julie continues to uphold.
During her speech at this year’s Ball, Julie talked about how important it was to her to honour Cor’s love for his community by continuing his legacy of support as this year’s presenting sponsor.
“Thank you for your generosity – for bringing greater compassionate care and comfort for families in our community like ours when it’s needed most,” shared Julie.
During the program, guests were also treated to a special speech from St. Therese Villa resident Ole Hammerstedt and recreation supervisor Christey-Ann Veldman. Their heartfelt and humorous speech about the Covenant Foundation-funded bus that Ole loves so much brought laughter and tears to the audience who filled the room with applause.
Recreation supervisor Christey-Ann Veldman and resident Ole Hammerstedt from St. Therese Villa delivered an inspiring and humorous speech about the difference support from Harvest Moon Ball participants has on residents and staff at Covenant’s Lethbridge facilities.
Together, Ole and Christey-Ann drove home the point that the donor-funded bus has a tremendous impact on patients, residents and staff at St. Michael’s Health Centre and St. Therese Villa.
Ole and Christey-Ann in front of the Covenant Foundation-funded bus, which transports residents from Covenant Health facilities in Lethbridge to social outings, appointments and more.
Ole explained, “We go for drives a lot – it’s a great way to get out to enjoy the scenery around Lethbridge, and enjoy a coffee or an ice cream treat, or even go out to the lake!”
As the recreation supervisor, Christey-Ann has seen how access to the bus impacts residents.
“Something as simple as getting out for fresh air and enjoying Lethbridge makes a big difference in our residents’ quality of life,” explained Christey-Ann. “It helps them stay connected to the city that many of them had a part in building and making into the vibrant community it is today.”
Throughout the pandemic, with the restrictions in place that affected resident outings and visits from family and friends, the bus provided a sense of normalcy and fun for residents during a challenging time.
“As staff, we can see the change in energy when residents come back from a bus trip – they’re so invigorated and rejuvenated,” said Christey-Ann. “And the energy has been contagious – seeing the way residents light up after a bus trip lights up our staff, too.”
In the six years he’s lived at St. Therese Villa, Ole has been actively involved in a number of activities in addition to bus trips at St. Therese Villa.
Ole explained: “My time here has been wonderful – I love St. Therese. There are always so many activities to participate in, thanks to the caring staff who have access to what they need to organize these things. To me, St. Therese feels like home. I love it here.”
After Ole and Christey-Ann’s speech, the program continued with an exciting live auction and live music from The Chevelles. The evening wrapped up with smiles and hugs, sore feet from dancing and full hearts knowing it was all in support of local health care.
With another Harvest Moon Ball in the books, we reflect on what this event means to the community it supports. At its core, the event is really about an entire community coming together to ensure their friends, neighbours and family members have the best continuing care possible.
Ole Hammerstedt and Carol Lajoie, senior director of operations, rural continuing care, at Covenant Health, dance at the 19th annual Harvest Moon Ball during a set from The Chevelles.
“Harvest Moon Ball is a great opportunity to connect with community members,” says Sherry Irwin, site administrator at St. Michael’s Health Centre. “Because of the support we receive from the sponsors, guests and donors, we are able to meet the needs of many residents by bringing hope and comfort to them and their families in the moments they need it most.”
Written by: Tara Joyce
To learn more and view photos from this year’s event, please visit our Harvest Moon Ball page.
Our 19th annual Harvest Moon Ball wouldn’t have been possible without the tremendous support of sponsors, and the generosity of volunteers who gave of their time and talents, to ensure an unforgettable evening for everyone.