The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted charities in a very negative way. As the resident Society columnist for The Suburban, I am accustomed to regularly attending many gala affairs. One such event I never miss is The McGill IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) Research Group “Laugh Your Butt Off” fundraising event. Naturally committee members were short on answers for a 2020 event. An in-person program was out of the question. But the always creative Group Chair Lorne Mayers and the equally sharp coordinator Emily Shore never say never. They reached back to their event from two years ago and recruited international entertainer and mentalist Oz Pearlman to do his always entertaining show via Zoom. And it worked superbly!
The evening also served as a tribute to the late Dr. Ernest Seidman, the renowned gastroenterologist who passed away shortly after last year’s event. There was a beautiful tribute video you can see at www.mcgillibd.ca. Dr. Seidman was a very special man. His death left an enormous void in the medical system.
Pearlman turned out to be just the right attraction, for this event exceeded some mainstream galas that normally take place in non-COVID times. Close to $240,000 was raised and 175 people paid to be part of the live Zoom broadcast. Guests received branded IBD goodie boxes from Brahm Mauer Bar Services and sweets by Java-U Catering. Pearlman, who made international headlines after two high-profile appearances on America’s Got Talent, reached through the computer screen, randomly selected people and guessed where they most wanted to travel, exactly how much money was in their wallet and more.
IRCM CHALLENGE: In the midst of the pandemic, the 11th edition of the IRCM Challenge took place between October 10 and 25, raising more than $160,000 for cutting-edge medical research. Due to sanitary conditions, making the usual gathering of several hundreds of people impossible on the Mount Royal site, the IRCM Foundation made a bet that participants would be just as keen on a remote formula. Under the theme Move with heart, more than 337 participants ran, walked and cycled their IRCM/Montreal Clinical Research Institute Challenge itinerary in support of the cause.
BROADCAST BOW: This week’s Broadcast Bow goes to CJAD afternoon show host Aaron Rand. He has introduced the 2020 edition of his Historic Quebec Anglos T-shirt. Last year it was after Quebec cabinet minister Simon Jolin Barrette brought up the idea of historic Anglos being the only ones who’d be able to continue to receive English services from the government. The T-shirt he designed for that ended up selling better than he imagined –all for charity. This year he created the “Bonjour/Hi” t-shirt, to deal with the same minister’s decision to inject $5 million into the OQLF’s budget to hire 50 more language inspectors – in the middle of a pandemic. Info: www.historicanglos.com.
SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS: The Montreal Lakeshore University Women’s Club (MLUWC) has announced the recipients of the 2020-2021 university scholarships. Carolanne Carr, Sarah-Daoust Boucher, Narjes Hashemi and Justine Soles each received a scholarship or bursary valued at $2,000. In addition to university scholarships, the MLUWC also provides, annually, bursaries for female students attending adult education centers in the West Island and to a female student in a technical program at John Abbott College. All the funds for the scholarships and bursaries are raised by the club with a variety of activities and direct donations to the program. The 2021-2022 program is now in progress. The selection committee will receive applications until Friday, Feb. 26 and the recipients will be chosen at the end of April. If you would like more information about the scholarship program, or, would like to donate, log on to www.mluwc.com.