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PAIN RELIEF: Arthritis Research Canada’s seventh annual ARThritis Soiree received a $2 million boost from B.C’s provincial government. Health Minister Adrian Dix made the announcement at the annual fundraiser, a lavish cocktail party, held at The Roof of the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. The cash injection catapulted the event’s final tally to a record $2,355,000 in support of life-saving arthritis research.
Chaired by Sandra Girard and Amanda Girling and presented by MacDonald Realty, the affair brought together the city’s business, community and government leaders, as well as philanthropists, doctors, scientists, health care professionals, and many others who share an appreciation of art and a desire to support arthritis research. This year’s music theme treated guests to a special performance by arthritis champion Mike Reno, lead singer of Loverboy, who along with an all-star band sang some of his greatest hits.
More than six million Canadians, including 800,000 British Columbians of all ages live with the pain and disability of arthritis. It is reportedly the No. 1 cause of work disability and costs the Canadian economy an estimated $33 billion per year in cost of treatment and lost productivity.
“By providing this funding, my ministry aims to help Arthritis Research Canada continue to improve the lives of British Columbians living with arthritis, and reduce the burden this disease places on our health care system,” Dix said.
The Soirée is the signature event of Arthritis Research Canada (ARC), Headquartered in B.C. and steered by Dr. John Esdaile, Arthritis Research Canada’s Scientific Director. ARC is the largest clinical arthritis research institution in North America.
“This event plays an important role in creating awareness about the more than 100 forms of arthritis and how only through arthritis research can we tackle the pain and disability experienced by millions, young and old, who suffer with this disease,” said Esdaile.
“Our research is focused on arthritis prevention, early diagnosis and better treatment. Thanks to the generous support of everyone who attended the ARThritis Soiree, and because of the funding provide by the provincial government, we can continue to change lives.” adds Esdaile.
West Point Grey Academy Masquerade Ball
ARTS EDUCATION: After six years at Vancouver’s West Point Grey Academy and a 35-year career in education, Head of School Tam Matthews is retiring. Academy staff, students, parents and alumni of the Independent coed school gave the educator a fitting send off at the academy’s annual benefit, a masquerade themed affair. Led by Tracey Blackham, Jillian Dixon and Cheryl Araki, more than 650 attendees filled the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver ballroom to fundraise and bid farewell to their leader.
Yours truly served as master of ceremonies at the school dinner and dance. Partygoers were treated to a bubbly reception followed by a sumptuous wine paired dinner to fuel raffle purchases, gifts of cash and bidding on unique one-of-a-kind items and experiences.
In the spirited live auction, three coveted parking spots for a year went for $40,000 each, bringing gala-goers to their feet. A David Hawksworth catered dinner for 10 served up an equally impressive response fetching $30,000. More than $600,000 would ultimately be raised to go toward the expansion of the junior and senior school’s Fine Arts and Performing Arts Program. .
Along with Hawksworth and his wife Annabel, other notable West Point Grey Academy parents attending the masked ball included recent B.C. Sports Hall of Fame inductee Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canuck’s, and his wife Marinette; Varshney Capital’s Praveen Varshney and his wife Anuja; entrepreneur Dave Barnett and his wife Sarah Ferguson; Cressey Development’s Hani Lamman and his wife Megan, and West Coast Fishing Club principal Brian Legge.
Richmond Sunrise Rotary Gala and Charity Auction
SERVICE CALL: A staple on Richmond’s social calendar, the Richmond Sunrise Rotary hosted its 31st gala dinner and charity auction at the Riverside Grand Ballroom. Rotary president Larry Thompson and auction chair John Marquardt were the grand marshall’s leading this year’s charge, a Rhinestone Cowboy themed affair. Cowboy chic attire, sequins and bling were de rigour for some 500 cowboys and cowgirls that packed the community centre to help make a positive difference in their community and around the world.
Rooted in the belief charity begins at home and service above self, attendees demonstrated that in spades. The merrymaker would generate more than $140,000 — a new fundraising standard — to support a host of programs in the Lower Mainland and abroad.
This year’s featured charity was the Nurturing Empathy in Children (NEIC), Roots of Empathy project, a classroom program designed to reduce levels of aggression and violence among schoolchildren while raising emotional competence and increasing empathy. Children identify and reflect on their own feelings, and feelings of others as they interact with a baby and its mother over a period of time.
The emotional literacy pilot would collect $24,000 in the call out for cash. This year, a total of 35 organizations will benefit from the Rotarians good work. Beneficiaries include Turning Point Recovery, Richmond Food Bank and B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs. Since its inception, the Richmond Sunrise chapter — one of 35,000 Rotary Clubs around the world — has disbursed more than $1.2 million to charitable organizations locally and internationally.