(Fort McMurray, AB – May 6, 2019) –Saturday night the feathers were flying at Shell Place! The Grand Ballroom was packed with revelers delighting in New Orleans themed décor that even included three authentic Bourbon Street balconies, adorned with ferns. Guests dined well, danced late and donated generously in support of saving lives. Mardi Gras in May, presented by Suncor, included a gourmet, chef-inspired Louisiana menu with Cajun and Creole dishes, performances by award-winning musicians, The Retrofitz, a popular eight-piece band from Edmonton, and a variety of Mardi Gras games that kept everyone entertained and decked with beads. Guests and staff alike enthused that it was the best event in memory.
Each year, the Local HERO foundation hosts its annual fundraiser the first weekend in May, in support of 24/7 dedicated helicopter medevac services. “The monies raised through Mardi Gras will provide the majority of the funding for life-saving flights in our region this year,” said Paul Spring, Chair of the Local Hero Foundation. Prior to the relaunch of the Speed of Life Campaign, first introduced at last year’s event, a stirring video of a mock medevac was shown to the captivated crowd. “The Speed of Life Campaign, equating one hour of life-saving medevac services to $1200 in flight costs, just brought in the equivalent of 60 saved lives in one night! This community is so generous,” enthused Spring. There were ten popular Live auction lots, the majority of which were items or unique experiences that money just can’t buy.
At what is bound to be the greatest party of 2019, over $245,000.00 (net) was raised for the region’s helicopter emergency medical services. In the first quarter of 2019 alone there have been 21 medevacs for seriously injured or critically ill patients. There is no charge to patients. And now with the new hospital helipad complete, flight times have been significantly reduced, increasing the chances positive health outcomes or even survival.
The success of the event would not be possible without generous sponsors. The charity is extremely grateful to the many companies, businesses and individuals, both local and throughout the province, that supported the charity. HERO would also like to acknowledge the dedication and imagination of the organizers, staff and volunteers. Save the date for next year’s extravaganza, May 2, 2020…the theme is a secret for now!
Paul Spring, President, Local HERO Foundation, surveys the crowd from the balcony above the band, ready to toss some beads.