Sip­ping on laugh­ter

Co­me­di­ans and fine wine high­light fan­tas­tic fundrais­ers

National Post (Latest Edition) - - WEEKEND POST - Amoryn En­gel

The Michael Gar­ron Hos­pi­tal Foun­da­tion’s Laugh­ter Is the Best Medicine Gala, pre­sented by BMO Fi­nan­cial Group, once again sur­passed ex­pec­ta­tions on ev­ery level. One thing that pa­trons know about this night-on- thetown is that they are guar­an­teed a rol­lick­ing good time.

While Susur Lee pro­vided an ex­quis­ite meal to the 1,000-plus crowd, comedic heart­throb Will Ar­nett handily took on the lead role of mas­ter of cer­e­monies. Head­lin­ers in­cluded Jim Gaf­fi­gan and Kevin Nealon.

“Will, Jim and Kevin were com­edy gold! They had the en­tire room roar­ing with laugh­ter and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the suc­cess of the evening, tak­ing the foun­da­tion one step closer in our $100 mil­lion cam­paign,” said Michael Geddes, gala co- chair. “The gen­eros­ity dis­played tonight is heart­warm­ing, and it’s a tes­ta­ment to the in­cred­i­ble work of the care­givers at Michael Gar­ron Hos­pi­tal and its in­te­gral role in fos­ter­ing the health and vi­tal­ity of one of Toronto’s most eco­nom­i­cally

di­verse neigh­bour­hoods.”

And this re­ally was a fam­ily af­fair with the Stavro and Gar­ron fam­i­lies out in full force.

Pro­ceeds from the event will sup­port the hos­pi­tal’s mon­u­men­tal re­newal and ex­pan­sion. The newly named Michael Gar­ron Hos­pi­tal, for­merly Toronto East Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal, re­ceived $ 50 mil­lion from Berna and My­ron Gar­ron, made in hon­our of their late son, Michael, who was born at Toronto East Gen­eral. The foun­da­tion raised an ad­di­tional $7.3 mil­lion (in­clud­ing two lead­er­ship gifts). If fine wines are your thing, this year’s France Un­Corked was the place to be. Hosted at a beau­ti­ful Rosedale home, the fifth an­nual do was chaired by Cathy Martin and Liz Gallery. Thirsty guests sipped on wines from Chateau Leoube, Mai­son Sichel and Cham­pagne Hen­riot, all while rais­ing money for Grapes of Hu­man­ity.

Ac­cord­ing to Gallery, “The money we have raised has mostly sup­ported the build­ing of ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­i­ties in ru­ral ar­eas of eco­nomic hard­ship where re­sources are non ex­is­tent or ex­hausted. Ed­u­cat­ing these chil­dren gives them hope and ul­ti­mately changes their lives and their fu­ture for gen­er­a­tions to come.”

In the past, funds raised at this event have gone to build three schools in Coat­pique, Gu­atemala, a pros­thetic cen­tre in Cam­bo­dia and an or­phan­age in Phnom Penh. There was a real “Rush” when the live auc­tion got un­der­way – and hands flailed about to bid on a VIP Via Rail train trip and wine tast­ing as the per­sonal guest of Grapes for Hu­man­ity board mem­ber and Cana­dian rock leg­end Geddy Lee.

Spon­sors in­cluded KPMG, Rogers and Port­fo­lio Aid.

Laugh­ter Is The Best Medicine Gala in blue ● Un­Corked in pink ●

Michael Geddes and Lisa Geddes

Alix Ar­nett and James Ar­nett

Mitze Mour­inho and Shahin Al­izadeh

The Stavro Fam­ily

Will Ar­nett and Bren­dan Shana­han

Diana Thom­son and Peter Thom­son

Bar­bara Hack­ett and Mayor John Tory

Jim Gaf­fi­gan

Maria Smith and Eric Tripp

Berna Gar­ron and My­ron Gar­ron

Stephen Tapp and April Ather­ton

The Un­Corked fundraiser had at­ten­dees sip­ping on the finest wines of France

Lori Fe­lesky and Stephanie Lewis

Yael Wilder and Caro­line Bell-Ritchie

Al­li­son Fortier and David Fortier

Laura Adamo and Sarah Barker Brown

Liz Gallery and Cathy Martin

Sarah and Mark Atkins

Michael and Laila Deluce

Kris­ten Gre­gory and Natasha Mok

Jas­min Von Te­ich­man and Lau­rie Robin­son

Jac­que­line Al­lan and Nick Thadaney

Tony As­pler and Deb­o­rah As­pler

Les­lie and Niall Fin­negan

Sam and Ellen Web­ster

Alan Stevens and Lisa Casey

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