Mid­towner’s mil­lion dol­lar idea helps lo­cal char­ity

Bayview Post - - News -

Meet Er­ica God­frey, the For­est Hill res­i­dent re­spon­si­ble for all those big brains pop­ping up across Toronto.

God­frey sits on the board at Bay­crest Health Sciences and came up with the idea for the Brain Pro­ject fundraiser af­ter she was in­spired by New York’s Fabergé Big Egg Hunt in 2014 — sim­i­lar to Mel Last­man’s Moose in the City. It was launched for a sec­ond year at Nathan Phillips Square in July and con­sists of 100 large-scale sculp­tures of the hu­man brain, de­signed by a mul­ti­tude of artists, scat­tered across the city.

In 2016, the pro­ject raised $1.3 mil­lion for Bay­crest to go to­ward Alzheimer’s and de­men­tia re­search and care, with the spon­sor­ship of a sin­gle brain sculp­ture cost­ing $15,000 for the sum­mer and $25,000 to own the brain af­ter­ward.

More im­por­tantly to God­frey, the pro­ject has suc­ceeded at bring­ing brain re­search to the fore­front of the con­ver­sa­tion. “For me, the big­gest mo­ti­va­tion is to try to en­gage young peo­ple,” she said. “I think the stigma is that Alzheimer’s is an old per­son’s dis­ease, but ac­tu­ally there are so many peo­ple in their 50s who are be­ing di­ag­nosed with early-on­set.”

This year, to com­mem­o­rate Canada’s 150th an­niver­sary, 10 of the brains will be de­signed by great Cana­di­ans, such as Wayne Gret­zky, Kurt Brown­ing and John Mann from Spirit of the West — who has waged a per­sonal bat­tle against Alzheimer’s since he was di­ag­nosed with early-on­set in 2014.

God­frey said to keep an eye out, as more brains are ex­pected to go on dis­play this sum­mer.

Er­ica God­frey

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