The annual Bloom – An Evening of Love event is fast approaching and the organizers are looking forward to the big day. Since 2012, this event has been held in order to raise money for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon. In the first year, which took place in May of 2012, there was approximately 150 people in attendance. This year, they are gearing up for an attendance of 450 for the gala. In early years, Bloom was held as a steak night and each year has grown into a more formal venue with an official committee, and numerous corporate sponsors.
Organizer Amy Novakovski, who has been involved with Bloom since inception, had always envisioned that this event would make a difference. “I had these visions of something magnificent that would continue to grow and raise more money each year for the NICU. That being said, I definitely didn’t imagine that we would have so many people who want to be involved year after year – whether it’s on our committee, as a guest at the event, as a corporate sponsor or as a donor. I am blown away each year when I see how many more sponsors come on board and how quickly we sell out tickets,” Novakovski said. This year, the gala was sold out within three days. “There is a lot of love for Bloom and the NICU, which makes my heart so full.”
Over the years, there have been many donations, and many personal NICU stories shared through Bloom; however for Novakovski, one of the most memorable moments happened two years ago. “We had just aired a video showing how two families were touched by the local NICU. Then, we did the draw for the early bird prize. Immediately, that person donated it back to be live auctioned off. Then, the winners of the grand prize trip, which was a trip for two to New Orleans, donated it back to also be live auctioned off in memory of their nephew Kayden Ardell. The atmosphere in the room was something that honestly can’t be described. There were tears, there were goosebumps and there was so much gratitude,” Novakovski shared.
Along with the growth, Bloom has seen a huge increase in the amount of donations that are made for prizes and silent auction items during the evening. With ticket sales, auction items, raffle draws and more, Bloom has risen over $198,000 for the NICU over the past six years. With the donation from last year, the NICU was able to purchase twenty NICView cameras, which allow families to see their newborn via streaming on an electronic device when they are unable to be there in person. This purchase made Saskatoon the first NICU in the country to have this technology.
With an event this size, it takes a number of people contributing in order to ensure the evening is successful. “Some committee members have direct ties to the NICU – their baby was in there, they were in there as a baby, or they work in there. Others simply want to give back to the community and choose Bloom as the way to do that. It’s so diverse and I think that’s what makes it so great,” Novakovski added. Both Novakovski and her Bloom partner Tina Searcy have direct ties to the NICU, as they both had children that required the care of the NICU and the incredible staff that is employed there. Both women are dedicated to continuing with Bloom as long as they possibly can. “We have so many dreams and visions, not just for An Evening of Love, but for other fundraising portions that Bloom in support of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit has done, continues to and will do and we are already planning next year’s An Evening of Love,” said Novakovski.
An Evening of Love will take place May 5th at the Saskatoon Inn, and many of the corporate sponsors, along with numerous individuals who have had the NICU affect their lives in one way or another, will be attending.