Dear Carley's Angels Champions,
We raise one final glass to you for making Cheers for Champions our most successful event in over 4 years, raising $46,595 for integrative cancer care. Not only was it our first in person event since 2019, Cheers was like nothing we’ve ever done before, just ask a Champion who attended.
We connected for the first time in years! We learned first hand from the Director of the Cancer Experience Program at The Princes Margaret Cancer Centre, and a world leader in cancer care who is bringing this “Carley’s Angels funded” model of care home to Africa! We ate an immersive meal curated by students, the chef, and the dietician from the Cancer Experience Program! And finally, we pledged our support to creating access to integrative cancer care for all patients, popping our goal like those balloons, by raising $46,595 in just one night!
We started the evening by welcoming our 66 lucky ticket holders into the doors of the Chefs house, greeted with a custom cocktail made by Chef Geremy Capone of the Cancer Experience Program, a pear gin mix of autumn perfection.
We witnessed Champions who haven’t connected in person since 2019, and it was an awe inspiring thing. People who are connected through a mutual passion and dedication to Carley's Angels are something special. We hugged, caught up, chatted, signed a stunning guest book that will forever hang at HQ, and gave our community a chance to meet our newest team members including our first full time staff member, Victoria Lee and our Exec team member Andrew McKeough all the way from the States!
Oh and Carley's Dad, Mark Allison, was handed a dime that was found by Cheers for Champions attendee, Guiseppe Papia. Do you have goosebumps? Because we did.
As cocktail hour came to a close our Executive Director, Riley Allison, took to the mic to introduce the evening and remind us of our why.
“In honour of Carley's experience, and when she gained her wings, we started by funding mandatory mental health support for children facing cancer at SickKids, a program so successful it is now government funded, and most recently we have funded the world's first Cancer Experience Program at The Princess Margaret Cancer Center, simply put as putting the human touch in cancer care.”
Now with a solemn but inspiring reminder of why we all joined forces almost 9 years ago, the first course was being served. Geremy Capone, Cancer Experience Program Chef, and Daniela Fierini, Cancer Experience Program Dietitian, came to the podium to deliver the first of 3 immersive dining experiences! Explaining the significance of each course both for a cancer patient and cancer prevention, why they chose each course, and what the detailed dietary highlights were of each selection.
Both made sure to thank the Chefs and students in the George Brown Culinary program for bringing this meal, from the immersive dining concept, to life!
As Champions were starting to enjoy the first course, Salt Cod & Parsnip Cakes on a Fennel Salad, we had Dr. Rodin, the director of the Cancer Experience Program funded by Carley's Angels, take to the mic.
Dr. Rodin gave an incredibly vivid description of how many alternative care treatments the Cancer Experience Program provides on a daily basis to put the human touch in cancer care, quoting that “$100,000 investment in this kind of care impacts the same as $1,000,000 in bio medicine”.
But he didn’t stop there, he wanted to show the Carley's Angels community the impact of our gift funding one specific project that aims to provide physicians with communication training missed in medical school, filling a crucial gap in care by providing compassionate communication. He showed the room a 5 min vignette from Project Empathy that is being distributed around the Princess Margaret Cancer Center, and now the world to address the care gap of compassion.
The room was quiet, inspired, and ready for more.
Geremy & Daniela came back up to the podium to explain the Main Course as the George Brown students started their service again - Kabocha Squash Risotto with Shredded Duck Confit
We then heard Executive Director, Riley Allison, introduce our next speaker.
“The reason we chose to fund the Cancer Experience Program 2 years ago is the ever reaching impact it has on patients and cancer care as a whole. The main goal of the program is to create a new model of cancer care that puts the human touch in, a model of cancer care so bold, human centered, and with such profound outcomes, that it could become the model of cancer care not only in Canada, but the world. Shared at symposiums around the world and adopted by world class cancer centers far from Toronto, Canada.
With that, I’d like to introduce Dr. Christian Ntizimira, an award winning Harvard-educated physician, passionate about socio-cultural equality and dignified cancer care, all the way from Kigali, Africa
Dr. Ntizimira took to the mic and subsequently blew the room away. He walked us through his story to becoming a physician and specifically why he focused his work on the dignity and humanity of his patients, while delivering world class medical care. Because in his words “ there is no point of one without the other, we need to focus on patients as human, as members of their families and communities, then we will start to fully heal patients”
He connected his work and passion to Carley's Story, sharing with us a saying he uses often “When you are well you belong to yourself, when you are sick you belong to your family”. He uses this principle every day when treating his patients.
The room was awestruck.
On the heels of hearing the future of where the impact of the Cancer Experience Program funded by Carley's angels could go, and in what incredible hands, we pledged!
In an interactive fundraising activity, each champion around the room had a chance to pledge in exchange for a balloon. Once all the pledges were collected and balloons were handed out, we counted to 3 and popped all the balloons! When popped one balloon revealed a “winner” note giving the winner back their pledge multiple by 5. And in true Carley's Angels fashion, our winner Cosimo, of Earth X, gave it all back to Carley's Angels.
As the evening winded down we heard thank you’s for our sponsors and closing remarks once again from our Executive Director Riley Allison.
“We’re on a roll Carley's Angels family. It took us 6 years to raise 1 million for integrative cancer care, and we're on track to raise our second million in just 3. As you leave here tonight inspired, our hope is that it’s ever reaching. You are a Carley's Angels Champion, and by sharing Carley's story, our mission, and our impact, you will undoubtedly change the lives of cancer patients forever. Thank you for all you’ve done and all you will do, in the name of our girl who always found a reason to smile. You are one of those reasons"
Thank you to everyone who came out and supported our Milestone event Cheers for Champions, you are the reason we smile.