The William Osler Health System Foundation will hold their 6th annual Gala Benefit Concert with “true north fashion and flare” and performances by André Philippe Gagnon, and Canadian Music Hall of Famer, Burton Cummings and his band. The increasingly popular event will support Osler’s three hospitals: Brampton Civic, Etobicoke General and Peel Memorial.
Ken Mayhew, president and CEO, stresses the need to “raise funds for the work they need to do”, wanting “something that was as bit different and unique.” The fundraiser has gone from strength to strength since inception, bringing in 1.2 million dollars in 2015, and over $700,000 last year alone.
It is, however, not your standard fundraiser as the team work hard each year to create something unique from other fundraisers. “We wanted to create something that was a little more than just a fundraiser – we wanted to have a community building activity, something that people could rally around,” says Mayhew.
He says the inspiration behind the gala is about “taking a moment to reflect on the contributions that you’ve made to your community and the quality of health at three incredible community hospitals.”
Shelagh Barry, director, community giving, decided this year would be a continuation of Canada 150 celebrations, “so we’ll be integrating a true Canadiana theme into our benefit concert gala,” she says. This includes having legendary Canadian talent through Burton Cummings (and his band) who is a member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and recipient of the Order of Canada.
They have been working with a management team who have been partnering with them in putting the show together in bringing “incredible artists over the years” including Barenaked Ladies, Sarah McLachlan, and Jann Arden.
“We are actually very picky about who they choose to partner with, “we want them to reflect a little bit of the spirit and the mood of the night and so we’re very thoughtful in terms of the type of entertainers that we have,” says Mayhew.
He describes it as a nurturing and celebratory movement, “so, we’re celebrating while we’re raising an enormous amount of money,” he says. In the last three years alone, the gala concert has brought in over $2.5 million dollars for the foundation.
“It’s an enormous amount of money – this is not downtown Toronto, this is in our community and it makes an enormous difference and we’re very fortunate,” admits Mayhew. “At some point in your life from your first breath to your last, you’re going to need a community hospital, and when that happens you’re very grateful for the care that you receive,” he continues.
Mayhew also speaks of the challenges that their hospitals face in delivering a needed service, “I think the issue that we face is the just that people need health care, we’re all living longer and we have many issues that we’re dealing with and so there’s just the number of people who turn to us for help every day just continues to grow.”
Although governments build our hospitals, it is the community who equip them, according to Mayhew, who says “literally everything in the hospital from a blood pressure cuff to an MRI machine has to be funded through donations from the community.”
“That’s what the foundation does, we raise money for equipment and to build fantastic new facilities like Peel Memorial,” says Mayhew who will also be honouring former Premiere Bill Davis on the night. “He is Mr. Brampton. He’s a very important person in terms of many things, and certainly a great champion for Brampton and Brampton healthcare. That will be a big highlight of the night.”
You can also get involved with the foundation by running a lemonade stand, donating one time or monthly, and attending other events throughout the year. These include the Holi Gala in spring, various golf tournaments in June, and a walk at woodbine race track.
For information, visit: www.oslerfoundation.org
- Venue: Rose Theatre Brampton
- Date: Saturday, 25 November 2017
- Time: 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM
- Tickets: www.oslerconcert.ca
(Photo: Burton Cummings performing at NYCB Theatre in Westbury, NY Jan. 14, 2012)