For the Townsman
On the wall outside the Zanmitay Health Center in Grand Goave, Haiti, the plaque reads:
“Haiti Arise Ministries desires to express our sincere gratitude and honor to Dr. Robert and Jill Cutler and the Cranbrook Community For your heart, vision and partnership in building and establishing the Zanmitay Sant Sante/ Friends Helping Friends Health Center to provide excellent health care and education to the communities of and around grand Goave Haiti. Dedicated on this day, November 13th, 2014.”
In February, Dr. Cutler received the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Humanitarian Award honouring over a decade’s work. Since 2004, he has provided free medicine and care to impoverished people of Grand Goave including 18 trips to Haiti and the construction and establishment of a full-time medical clinic. In November 2015, Cutler and his team accomplished much in under three weeks.
• 1,003 patients seen
• 53 patients sent for further testing and diagnosis (x-ray/ultrasound/hematology/echocardiogram)
• 50 baby packs distributed—funds for 100 additional left for distribution at the clinic
• Two goats purchased for the goat farm
• Emergency food supplies given to one family
• Nine patients identified for surgery
Portable ultrasound machine left (and training provided) with the local clinic doctor.
In the meantime, Cutler’s wife, Jill, works tirelessly in the background to ensure that he can continue his work in Grand Goave and that medicines and essential supplies can be transported with him and his team every year. The Haitian Benefit Fundraiser is the largest and most successful annual gala in Cranbrook and work begins on the event four or five months early to ensure that the guests are treated to a unique and exciting evening. This year, the 13th annual, is taking place at the Cranbrook Curling Club on May 7.
According to Cutler the joint effort literally comes down to saving lives.
“We are supporting Haitians with life-saving surgeries, and continue to provide HIV and tuberculosis testing and treatment.” he said, pointing out this work wouldn’t be possible without support from citizens of Cranbrook.
“The annual gala and auction fundraiser and numerous volunteers make it possible for us to deliver hope to the people of Grand Goave,” he said. “We have challenges here at home, but are relatively well off compared to the almost unimaginable poverty in Haiti. Our small team from Cranbrook delivers a large humanitarian impact year after year.”
Asked why he thinks the event is so successful each year, Cutler points out a variety of reasons.
One hundred per cent of the profit from the gala goes directly to helping people of Haiti.
“Our guests are gratified that their donations go directly to the people”, said Cutler, adding one of the easiest ways to contribute is to attend the annual Hungry For Life Gala and Auction.
“This event is the result of many volunteers and businesses working together locally to financially support our work in Haiti; It’s what keeps us going back.”
There are still a few tickets available for this year’s Hungry For Life Gala and Auction which takes place Saturday, May 7 at the Cranbrook Curling Club. It will feature renowned auctioneer and entertainer Gery Schubert. The prime rib and seafood dinner is catered by the Stone Soup Challenge winner and Executive Chef at The Heid-Out, Rusty Cox. There will be over 250 silent auction items and 10 live auction items.
Live music for dancing starts after the dinner and auction portion of the evening and there will be free rides home provided between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. This year’s theme is “Under the Sea” and guests are encouraged to dress either semi-formally or in the style of the event. Tickets are $125 each, a portion of which is tax deductible, and can be purchased individually or in tables of eight.
For more information, to purchase tickets or to donate auction items please contact Michele Bates at 250-919-5403 or Jill Cutler at 250-426-4669