The Gala for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada recently raised nearly $1.5 million for research and patient programs, bringing the event’s 25-year total to $17.5 million and counting.
About 900 people attended the sold-out soirée, held at the Universal Eventspace in Vaughan, Ontario, for an evening of music, fine dining, and philanthropy. The event culminated in a performance by Grammy Award-winning vocalist Michael Bolton.
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada co-founder Marilyn Finkelstein and former president Don Lebovitz each received a 2019 Lifetime Achievement award. Propelled to action by her family’s connection to IBD, Finkelstein founded the organization in 1974 with her late husband, Albert. Lebovitz developed key fundraising initiatives during his tenure with the non-profit and is now an adviser.
The gala also featured a silent auction and music by iconic Canadian entertainer Randy Bachman.
“The evening was a testament to how far we have come, and the support shown by donors and volunteers echoed the spirit, energy and hope that brought our Toronto gala to life 25 years ago,” Mina Mawani, the organization’s president and CEO, said in a news release. “We’re forever grateful for the ongoing commitment of our community, as they’ve played an instrumental role in getting us where we are today.”
Since its founding, the non-profit has invested more than $122 million in global research to find a cure for inflammatory bowel diseases including the two most common forms — Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Organization-funded research has led to breakthroughs in genetics, gut microbes, inflammation, and cell repair, laying the groundwork for new and better treatments.
Earlier this month, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada’s 2019 Gutsy Walk raised nearly $3 million to support IBD research projects and patient support programs. Nearly 20,000 participated in the event’s 24th iteration at 60 locations nationwide. Donations to the effort will continue to be accepted until July 15, and may be made online here.
“The funds raised through our Gutsy Walk are critical in helping us invest in research, advocacy and patient programs, all of which are vital to improving quality of life for our patients and ultimately our quest to find the cures,” said Mawani.
Affecting 270,000 individuals, Canada has among the highest prevalence of IBD in the world, according a 2018 report developed by independent Canadian IBD researchers.
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