Ability and Beyond Gala An Inspirational Event


The charity's annual Ability & Beyond Gala, presented by Bell was an intimate evening in support of stroke survivors.

On Thursday, June 13, 2013, guests at the Bell presents Ability & Beyond Gala were inspired by the multi-talented Canadian legend Alan Thicke, and special guest Bret 'Hitman' Hart, spokesperson for Stroke Recovery Canada®, a program of March of Dimes Canada. The dinner raised over $80,000 in support of Peers Fostering Hope, a program of Stroke Recovery Canada®.

Guests had the chance to hear Alan Thicke speak about healthy living, aging well and illness in the family. Bret Hart moved the crowd to tears when he bravely spoke about his battle with a devastating stroke over ten years ago that left him paralyzed and with speech challenges. With hard work and support Bret has returned to good health, and inspired the audience with his openness and sincerity.

Global Toronto anchor Carolyn MacKenzie was the host for the second year and entertained the crowd with her wit and warmth. We were fortunate to have acclaimed singer and Canadian Idol winner Brian Melo performed the national anthem beautifully. Brian will also be supporting March of Dimes Canada at the upcoming Dor-Tech Golf tournament, taking place September 19, 2013 at Indian Wells Golf Club in Burlington, Ontario.

Organizations and individuals making a difference to people with disabilities were recognized throughout the Gala.

Shoppers Home Health Care was honoured with March of Dimes Canada's Corporate Spirit Award for its long-time support of the organization. Dr. Michael Fehlings, Medical Director of the Krembil Neuroscience Centre and Dr. John Esdaile, the Scientific Director of the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada were given the Jonas Salk Award for their significant achievements in the field of neuroscience and clinical epidemiology and rheumatic disease research respectively. Dr. Ed and Bobby Yielding were inducted posthumously into the Jonas Salk Circle of Friends.

All proceeds from the evening benefit Peers Fostering Hope, which is also supported by the Dr. Ed & Bobby Yielding Fund for Stroke Recovery. Dr. Ed Yielding's generous bequest will help other survivors thrive in their recovery. Peers Fostering Hope, an initiative of Stroke Recovery Canada®, seeks to help bridge the gap between hospital and community, sending qualified, trained volunteers, who are also stroke survivors, to visit people in the hospital who have recently had a stroke. Peers Fostering Hope is currently underway at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Humber River Regional Hospital, WestPark, St. John's Rehabilitation Institute, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Toronto Western Hospital, and Lakeridge Health.

We thank our evening's co-chairs, Shoppers Drug Mart Executive Vice President of Operations Paul Damiani, his wife Rosie, and the President of Edgewater Financial Group Inc., Scott Beckett and his wife Kelly.

Thank you as well to our sponsors: Presenting sponsor Bell, Jonas Salk Award sponsor sanofi-pasteur, invitation and program sponsor Shoppers Home Health Care, media sponsor Global Toronto, print media sponsor Toronto Sun and in-kind sponsors Dolce, Inspire Cosmetics, PHOTO Funtastic, Feri, Air Canada Foundation, AVW/Telav, Tippet Richardson, 416 Flowers and Joseph's Estate Wines.

Visit our Facebook page to view photos from the Ability and Beyond Gala.

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