Lip-synch fundraiser col­lects over $18,000 for pan­cre­atic can­cer

Montreal Times - - News - By Stu­art Nul­man mtl­times.ca

Over 300 peo­ple gath­ered at the Phi Cen­ter in Old Mon­treal for the 3rd an­nual Lip Sync Bat­tles Can­cer fundraiser, which was held on Novem­ber 24. The event, which was held in as­so­ci­a­tion with Pan­cre­atic Can­cer Canada, raised a to­tal of $18,805 for re­search into -- and in­creas­ing aware­ness of -pan­cre­atic can­cer, an ag­gres­sive form of can­cer that has a 93 per­cent mor­tal­ity rate, and re­ceives only a mere 2 per­cent of any re­search fund­ing.

The lip sync bat­tle pit­ted six con­tes­tants who per­formed a lip sync rou­tine of two cho­sen songs, com­plete with chore­og­ra­phy, make-up and cos­tumes (and rep­re­sented a wide range of pop and rock stars, such as Bruno Mars, Fred­die Mer­cury, Madonna, Mi­ley Cyrus, Lady Gaga and Aretha Franklin) be­fore a panel of three celebrity judges (Ray­mond Ablack from the “De­grassi” TV se­ries, Brit­tany Dris­delle from the “Jack Ryan” se­ries on Ama­zon Prime, and Dan Har­roch of “Epic Meal Time” fame). The judges picked their top two fa­vorite lip synch­ers to com­pete against each other in a fi­nal round be­fore a win­ner was de­clared; this year’s win­ner was Em­i­lie Kok­ma­nian, who also won last year’s com­pe­ti­tion.

The fundraiser was cre­ated by Mar­i­anne Musi and Vince Col­letti, and was em­ceed by Mar­i­anne’s brother Michael Musi, a Mon­treal-born ac­tor who can be seen on the CBC TV sit­com “Kim’s Con­ve­nience”. The rea­son be­hind the fundraiser is a per­sonal one for both Mar­i­anne and Michael, whose mother was di­ag­nosed with pan­cre­atic can­cer in 2012, and passed away from the dis­ease sev­e­nand-a-half months later, at the age of 52.

“This is a ter­ri­ble dis­ease that we know so lit­tle about. And the sta­tis­tics about it are the worst of any ma­jor form of can­cer, and it re­ceives so lit­tle fund­ing. Af­ter our mom died, and we did a lit­tle bit of griev­ing, we de­cided to get our­selves to­gether to raise funds and more aware­ness, be­cause pan­cre­atic can­cer needs as much at­ten­tion as any other type of can­cer,” said Michael dur­ing a brief in­ter­view at the Phi Cen­tre prior to the event. As well, they de­cided to raise aware­ness and funds to­wards pan­cre­atic can­cer re­search in a more fun, uplift­ing man­ner, which is why the lip synch bat­tle fundraiser was es­tab­lished in 2016. “We wanted to raise funds and aware­ness, and make a dif­fer­ence, in a more fun way, so we don’t have to at­tack the sub­ject in a clin­i­cal way,” he said. “That’s the rea­son be­hind the lip synch bat­tle; we want peo­ple to come to the event and have an amaz­ing time. We don’t want them to leave the event cry­ing, but feel­ing happy and hope­ful that they are try­ing to make a change, so that we get to that point in time where pan­cre­atic can­cer won’t be seen as a death sen­tence.”

While he ad­mits he likes to lip synch to Michael Jack­son, Michael says that when he is not push­ing the cause to­wards in­creased fund­ing and aware­ness for pan­cre­atic can­cer, he has a full plate when it comes to his act­ing ca­reer. He re­cently fin­ished shoot­ing sea­son three of “Kim’s Con­ve­nience” (which airs this Jan­uary on CBC); he pro­duced a fea­ture hor­ror movie; did some voice work for the lat­est edi­tion of the pop­u­lar “As­sas­sin’s Creed” video game, and ap­peared in a re­cent com­mer­cial for McDon­ald’s.

Fi­nally, Michael wants to in­form the pub­lic that the best pre­ven­tion against pan­cre­atic can­cer right now – and the best way to in­crease your chance of sur­vival -- is early de­tec­tion, in­clud­ing pay­ing se­ri­ous at­ten­tion to such warn­ing signs as ab­dom­i­nal pain, fa­tigue and jaun­diced skin. “If your fam­ily has a his­tory of pan­cre­atic can­cer, get your­self checked more of­ten,” he said. “Don’t let your doc­tor think it’s just a stom­ach bug and sweep it un­der the rug. Know the signs and take con­trol of your health.”

***

Con­grat­u­la­tions go out to the lit­er­ary duo of Lori Saint-Martin and Paul Gagne, who won their fourth Gov­er­nor-Gen­eral’s Lit­er­ary Award for trans­la­tion (English to French) for their work on Morde­cai Rich­ler’s fi­nal novel “Bar­ney’s Ver­sion” (which is called “Le Monde Selon Bar­ney”); they re­ceived their award at a cer­e­mony that took place in Ot­tawa on Novem­ber 28.

“This is a huge honour for us, be­cause this award is a means of recog­ni­tion by our peers, and means that we are get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter in what we do as trans­la­tors,” said Ms. Saint-Martin dur­ing a re­cent phone in­ter­view.

The pair trans­late be­tween four to six books a year, and so far has trans­lated about 105 books through­out their ca­reer. A fan of Rich­ler’s books, Ms. Saint-Martin said that this is not the first time that “Bar­ney’s Ver­sion” was trans­lated into French; it was orig­i­nally han­dled by a pub­lisher based in France.

“It’s never easy to trans­late a work of lit­er­a­ture, be­cause you have to find the novel’s orig­i­nal voice,” she said. “The book has a lot of hu­mour and pathos to it, and the orig­i­nal French ver­sion didn’t con­tain any of the Cana­dian ref­er­ences and the real life ex­pe­ri­ences of what it’s like to live in Mon­treal, which is one of the book’s main strengths.We man­aged to give our French trans­la­tion a whole new fresh out­look to it.”

Ms. Saint-Martin firmly be­lieves that trans­la­tors are the un­sung he­roes of the lit­er­ary world, and Que­bec-based trans­la­tors are a huge net­work of tal­ented in­di­vid­u­als who are in a unique po­si­tion to trans­late lit­er­ary works by Que­bec and Cana­dian writ­ers ow­ing to the fact that they live here and un­der­stand the con­text of the works in ques­tion much bet­ter.

“These Que­bec lit­er­ary trans­la­tors de­serve more recog­ni­tion for the work they do,” she said. “To me, the fact that they haven’t reach that level of recog­ni­tion that they de­serve amongst the lo­cal lit­er­ary scene is scan­dalous.”

One of the lip synch bat­tle con­tes­tants (im­i­tat­ing Bruno Mars and Freddy Mer­cury)

Ac­tor and event em­ceeMichael Musi

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