Sammy Cavallaro

Sammy with his parents.

A year ago at this time, the society scene was still intact before the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down indefinitely. As a result so many events have been cancelled, including Sammy’s Valentine’s Gala which raised much needed funds for SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy Canada). In fact, since its launch in 2003, $1.5 million has been raised.

Sammy is Sammy Cavallaro, a 20-year-old Kirkland resident who indeed inspires us all. With the support of his parents Aniello and Rosa and his sister Julianna, he is committed to finding a cure for SMA. Despite his physical disability, Sammy is a social media genius. He goes under the brand Sick Highlights, which has 2.1 million followers on Instagram. There is also a clothing line and a podcast, hosted by Tony Marinaro and Shaun Starr called The Sick Podcast. In total, Sammy’s Sick Media Agency has five million followers. When he was named one of the top 15 Young Entrepreneurs by Yahoo Finance Canada in 2020, he was described as someone who has “continued to push the envelope by building upon his previous successes and never settling for what he already has.” He maintains that staying positive and believing in oneself is the key and his record of business successes are a testament to that.

Past galas have contributed to new research into SMA treatments and more. Sammy is a business student at John Abbott College.

Here is hoping that next year at this time we are reporting upon the return of Sammy’s Valentines Gala at Plaza Volare. In the meantime, stay tuned for news about an online raffle coming soon. “Our goal is to stop the progression of the disease, which I think we have done and find a cure,” said Aniello, whom I first met decades ago.

LCC PODCAST: The Sustainable Burrito, a student-produced podcast, was recently launched by members of the Lower Canada College Green Team, reflecting their growing determination to bring environmental issues to light and motivate action. Through their involvement on the Green Team, Grade 11 students Mareike, Savini and Edouard actively promote the integration of sustainable practices into school culture, and now, through their podcast, are expanding their reach to beyond the school community. Through a series of interviews with experts, some of whom are members of the LCC community, their hope is to address and answer one question: how can we as individuals become engaged in combatting global crises and make a difference?

The Sustainable Burrito can be found on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

COHEN CHATTER: Sources tell me that an announcement by CFQR AM 600, which currently plays canned music (pretty good music, I might add), could be forthcoming about a talk radio format debut. The ownership appears to be spurred on by recent programming changes that Bell Media imposed upon CJAD… Gildan Activewear Inc. was awarded a Silver Class distinction, which recognizes that the company’s ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) score is within one to five percent of the industry’s highest performing companies. Gildan scored particularly high in categories related to climate strategy, operational eco-efficiency, occupational health and safety, and risk and crisis management… Cummings West (Cummings Centre West Island) will feature Robert Wise, co-founder of the RISE Anxiety and Depression Clinic, as discusses the fears and anxieties of COVID-19. The March 3 online presentation will conclude with a Q&A. To register call 514.343.3510 or go to See my SJN column in the Cohen Chatter columnist’s section of our website for more.

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