Caroline Phillips’ Around Town: Rockin’ out for Bruyère’s research

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From left, NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau, Stephanie Brosseau, and Michael Qaqish at the Ottawa Gala: A Night Under the Stars, held Saturday, April 14, 2012, at the Government Conference Centre. (Photo by Caroline Phillips)

It’s only rock ‘n’ roll, but they liked it. So much so that the dance floor was hopping at the Bruyère Research Institute’s Rock & Roll for Research fundraiser held Friday at the St. Elias Banquet Centre.

There was no shortage of fun props, things like guitar-shaped sunglasses, glitzy party hats and inflatable instruments, for rocking out to tunes played by Max 40. Cutting some serious rug was Fiona Gilfillan, whose brother plays guitar in the band. Gilfillan is also on the board of directors for Bruyère Continuing Care and its fundraising arm, Bruyère Foundation.

Organizers were hoping to raise $25,000 for the Bruyère Research Institute, one of only a few research organizations in Canada that focuses on leading-edge studies in the areas of primary care, care of the elderly and palliative care.

Seen at the bash were the research institute CEO and scientific director, Dr. Peter Walker, and chief operating officer, Joanne YelleWeatherall, as well as the head of its board, builder Dinis Cabral. Also glimpsed were such Bruyère physicians as Drs. Jose Pereira, Hillel Finestone (wearing a classic Rolling Stones T-shirt) and Frank Knoefel, who was later to perform Steppenwolf’s Born to be Wild for the crowd. Knoefel resembled a rock star that night with his conspicuous lipstick kiss on his cheek (planted there by his wife).

Among the other 175 attendees were Bruyère Foundation president Amy Elliot Desjardins and its board chair, community leader and social media consultant Dave Ready with his other half, Lesley Baird.

Bruyère’s chief financial officer, Daniel Levac, turned out for the event. So did David Bull from the Edward J. Cuhaci and Associates architect firm, which is involved with the new Bruyere Village housing project for seniors in Orléans.

Ottawa’s Greek Gala

Ottawa’s young and chic urban professional set and “big dippers” in the making headed into the Government Conference Centre on Saturday for the Ottawa Gala: A Night Under the Stars.

Organizers did not disappoint with this year’s theme: ancient Greece. There were constellations projected onto the ceilings, astrological signs on display in the Acropolis-styled dance room, models posing as Greek statues and decorative water fountains.

The architectural style of the former railway station, with its giant columns, beautiful arches and soaring ceilings, naturally enhanced the theme.

The evening was expected to raise close to $40,000 to help Ottawa’s underprivileged children and youth. The Ottawa School Breakfast Program is to be the major beneficiary.

The planning process for the popular annual gala began back in September and involved a 41-member volunteer committee. “It’s like a part-time job but it’s worth it because we know we’re giving back to the community,” said Ashley MacCormack.

MacCormack, a fundraising co-ordinator with the Canadian Cancer Society, presided over the gala committee with Amy Longard, who works in communica-tions with the federal government. Also seen was lawyer Jamison Young, head of the Fund for a New Generation.

It’s the group that hosts the gala each year.

At the VIP reception were such notables as Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau, Quebec NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau and Fitti Lourenco, director of federal government relations for Telus, which was the gala’s presenting sponsor.

Hooray for Hollywood

Over at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club, it was all top hats, white gloves, fur shawls and pearl necklaces at Saturday’s fourth annual Reliving Old Hollywood Gala held in support of ovarian cancer research.

Guests shared the red carpet with a Marilyn Monroe impersonator, performed convincingly by Nadine Banville.

On hand was former ovarian cancer patient Nancy O’Brien, who founded the gala and continues to chair it every year. “My goal is to raise awareness but in a fun way, and it seems like it’s getting more popular every year,” said O’Brien, a resident of Chelsea. She was hoping the night would raise $50,000 toward finding an early detection tool for ovarian cancer.

Seen at the champagne reception was the evening’s guest speaker, Dr. Johanne Weberpals, a gynecologic oncologist at the Ottawa Hospital and clinical investigator at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

The evening included a silent auction, the live band Soul Obsession and a grand prize of an Air Canada trip to Jamaica.

Homeless get a hand

More than 200 people of all ages turned out for a lateafternoon luncheon Saturday that aimed to raise thousands of dollars and bump up awareness around the complex issue of homelessness.

The gathering was organized by a group of guys from the Westboro ‘hood.

They wanted to host a different kind of event – not your usual gala or dinner fundraiser. So, they got everyone out to the Yangtze restaurant in Chinatown for a meal. They also seated at each table a representative from an agency that serves the homeless.

“People have responded very well,” said eco-entrepreneur and organizer Chris Henderson, who was expecting the event to bring in between $16,000 and $18,000.

The volunteer organizing team also consisted of Rick Bond, Christopher Duschenes, Don Gibbons, Richard Harman, Steve Judges, Neil Knudsen and Joe Stelliga (they scored extra points for timing the event so that it finished before the Senators playoff game against the Rangers that night).

Mayor Jim Watson dropped in, even though he was feeling under the weather. Watson reminisced briefly about his Carleton University days with Henderson, who had been the finance commissioner of the students’ association and apparently embodied the school pride and spirit during the Panda Games.

City council has budgeted $14 million annually to provide housing and support to reduce homelessness in Ottawa. “It’s a small step but it’s an important step and it’s something that I’m very passionate about,” Watson told the packed room.

Other supporters included Scott Robertson, who practises aboriginal law at Gowlings, and Bruce Dudley, senior V-P with Delphi Group.

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