ICRF and Pink Lady support innovative breast cancer research projects at the Jewish General Hospital and in Israel, as well as the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment.
Event co-chairs this year were Julie Wiener, Maureen Tajfel, Sheryl Rosen Adler and Susan Lavy.
This year’s keynote speaker was Barbara Amiel; her husband, Conrad Black, was on hand as well. Past keynote speakers have included Margaret Trudeau, Marianne Pearl, widow of murdered journalist Daniel Pearl, and journalist Jeanette Walls, author of the 2005 memoir The Glass Castle.
This year’s honourees were Kathy Assayag, who has worked in advancement and fundraising for more than 20 years; Julie Greenbaum, co-founder and president of a movement to unite the younger generation against cancer, F*CK CANCER inwykiwyk (It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know); Greenbaum lost her mother to ovarian cancer in 2010; and MNA Kathleen Weil.
Sheila Woodhouse, director of Nazareth House, wrote to The Gazette about a long-standing Christmas tradition at the Shaughnessy village shelter for men. For the past 25 years, a group of women she calls the “Angels of Hudson” have left their own families on Christmas morning – this year it was Dec. 24 – to drive into Montreal with a turkey dinner plus trimmings for 30.
“The Angels also arrive with thoughtful gifts for each and every resident of Nazareth House,” Woodhouse wrote.
“Many of our residents struggle with mental illness and homelessness. Most do not have any contact with their families. These beautiful Angels arrive, laden with … food, gifts, exuberance and the true spirit of Christmas. Each Christmas, they transform the House and the lives of each resident.”
Against enormous odds, Danielle Lepage has spearheaded an annual benefit to raise funds and awareness of sensory neuropathy, Type HSN2, a devastating genetic disease, Anita Kar of the Montreal Neurological Institute wrote to Applause.
“An amazing accomplishment from a woman who suffers from a crippling disease and has had several additional health complications in the year,” she wrote.
The disease, she explained, causes a dangerous lack of sensation, primarily in the hands and feet, and extremely fragile bones. “The combination of a lack of sensation and fragility leads to trauma and infections that often necessitate amputations,” she wrote. “This is how Danielle, in her 50s, has lost several of her fingers and toes.”
“We have to demystify this disease because people are afraid of us; they think it is contagious, but that is not the case,” Lepage said.
Lepage has organized four benefits to raise awareness of the disease: the first, held in 2009, raised just over $6,500. The fourth, held Nov. 17, 2012, raised $30,231.56.
The money will support research led by Bernard Brais at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital; he has dedicated his career to understanding and developing therapeutics for hereditary genetic diseases, including sensory neuropathies, that are more common in Quebec than elsewhere.
When D. and M. from Bat Yam decided to get married they didn’t have very high expectations for their wedding. Their unstable financial situation meant they couldn’t even dream about having a big event.
Their original plan was to head to the Rabbinate, get married there and call it at that. Then Facebook and their friends came into the picture.
The touching story began a month ago. M.’s three friends were chatting with her about her relationship with D. She told them they were getting married and in the same breath made it clear there would be no big white wedding as there was no money.
Her shocked friends decided they could not let M. go ahead with her dreary plan and decided to come to her aid. One of them, Noa Zaig, chose Facebook as her wedding-day aide. She opened a group called “organizing a wedding together” and asked Israel’s Facbook users to help in making M. and D.’s special day a happy one.
They wrote: “We are organizing a wedding, in Jewish tradition what is known as Hachnasat Kallah (Providing for a Bride) for a young couple that due to a complicated life history haven’t a dime to get married. With their agreement we’ve decided to organize a wedding worthy of the occasion and would be happy to receive assistance.”
Moments later offers began to trickle in: A makeup artist agreeing to do the bride’s makeup for free, a car service willing to take the couple to the event. Soon, the trickle became a flood as the group’s wall filled with offers. Bands, photographers, artists and more all vying to contribute.
In fact, the response was so enthusiastic that contributors became quite competitive over who would get to give something to the couple for the wedding.
At this stage the couple’s friends decided to kick it up a notch: asking Facebook users to contribute things for the couple’s new life together: Furniture and electrical appliances; they even opened a bank account for people wishing to give money.
In total some 280 people joined together to help the couple. “We were very surprised, this goes beyond anything we planned,” said Inbal, one of the event’s organizers. The couple themselves were initially not aware of the Facebook venture.
By Ion Braun
Imagine you could have a wonderful dinner with your closest friends while helping those in need at the same time – those thoughts were the ones driving David Califa, of the Israeli food blog Beygale.
Califa created a project for Israelis to turn their homes into restaurants for one night by organizing convivial paying dinners with friends, with proceeds going to the organization La Sova, a charity which feeds thousands of poor families every day.
” With our own dinners we can provide a hot meal for people who need it. There is no such project anywhere in the world which can mobilize people to donate and at the same time have fun in their own homes,” Califa told NoCamels.
Beygale’s project is especially relevant this week, when Jews and Israelis are celebrating the week-long holiday of Passover and are expected to host dinners, which many cannot afford.
Califa explained: “The blog invites people to turn their homes into restaurants, or even just throw a picnic – they can choose whatever kind of meal they want, whether it is a fancy dinner, cheese and pastries buffet or a sweet gathering with desserts.”
Beygale’s online application provides the option to donate online with PayPal, the giant e-commerce site which promised to add 10 percent to every donation.
Local food corporations have agreed to help the project, as well, by donating food ingredients for the meal preparation, and chefs have agreed to volunteer as well.
Califa said that with only “2,000 NIS ($587) you can feed 400 people!”
The project has already been called a success with dozens of homes volunteering so far. “Even seven years old children are organizing, buying, cooking and serving in their parents’ home,” Califa added with a smile.
“For the price of only 5 NIS per ($1) per head, we will be able to feed numerous familes who can hopefully have a much happier holiday.”