With a fashion show, trendy vendors and some haute cuisine to boot, philanthropy in Markham has never been this posh. The Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation is gearing up for a glamourous gala event Sunday Oct. 30—its 28th annual CIBC Celebration of Hope.

 

The highly-anticipated afternoon soiree is so much more than just a garden-variety luncheon. It’s part show, part award ceremony with giveaways, auctions, live entertainment, stirring speeches and nearly 50 boutiques for guests to peruse.

 

“The thing that we look forward to every year is seeing so many people come together for so many years for such a worthy cause—not only the people who have been joining us for so many years, but the people who are joining us for the first time,” said Allan Bell, director of community relations and corporate partnerships for the Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation.

 

Once again, the chic celebration supports the hospital’s Breast Health Centre and Chemotherapy Clinic. This year, the foundation is hoping to smash its $200,000 fundraising goal and will funnel the money it receives to highest priority projects within the cancer care program.

 

“We found that people are more apt to support us, and much more generous, when they’re given the opportunity to support care that is being given so close to home,” said Bell, adding more than 800 people are expected at this year’s luncheon.

 

In the last nine years alone, the annual event has raised $2 million for the Markham Stouffville Hospital. Among other projects, money from the gala event has helped the hospital buy a $750,000 digital mammography machine—a life-saving device that wouldn’t be possible without private donations.

 

“The government doesn’t fund the purchase of equipment for hospitals. They pay for the bricks and mortar, the services. But it’s community and corporate support that we have to lean on to help purchase all the equipment that we need,” said Bell.

 

After 28 years, organizers strive to keep the yearly outing fresh, current and exciting. This year, CIBC Celebration of Hope organizers are channeling the best of Britain with a ‘London is Calling’ theme—and they even have a big-ticket raffle item that’s about as English as you can get, a new Mini Cooper convertible.

 

The foundation started selling tickets for the Raffle of Hope at the beginning of the summer and will make the big draw at the luncheon. Those who don’t drive away in the car have a chance at one of the secondary prizes, which include diamond earrings, a two-night stay in New York City, a MacBook or $5,200 gift certificate to The Village Grocer.

 

Fun and fanfare aside, the event celebrates the outstanding community support the Markham Stouffville Hospital receives year round. The luncheon highlights the quality cancer care the hospital is able to provide thanks to the tremendous financial boost from the public and gives survivors the chance to share their experiences.

 

“It’s also people sharing their stories; that’s the emotional piece of the day. It resonates with people,” said Bell.

The event takes place Oct. 30 at the Hilton Toronto/Markham Suites with shopping from 9am to 4pm and the luncheon takes place from 12:30 to 3pm.

Visit www.celebrationofhope.info for more information.

Photo L-R: Frank Scarpitti, Mayor of Markham; Mike & Deb Cooper, 2015 Hope Award Recipients; Allan Bell, MSH Foundation; and event emcee Erin Davis of 98.1 CHFI.