Scantily clad women, a drag performance, a jam-packed silent auction, ample food and drink, and a double-header of a charity event.
It was all part of the 9th annual Friends for Life Foundation gala, which filled the ballroom at One King West with hundreds of ready-to-party young professionals who were just as passionate about the cause as the organizers.
The Paris-themed event was complete with all the trappings of the beloved French city, with no shortage of bread and cheese, mimes, portrait drawers, live art, and entertainment. The silent auction was filled with everything from sports memorabilia to art and unique experiences. And a raffle prize even offered a flight anywhere in Canada that Air Canada flies (totally useful).
Selected as one of our top charity events for young professionals for the fall season, the gala marks the main fundraising initiative of the Friends for Life Foundation. The charity was co-founded by Toronto young professionals Steve Cameron and his good friend Erick Bauer and it supports two important causes: Cystic Fibrosis Canada and the Oncology Unit at SickKids Hospital.
Bauer was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of six and Cameron was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma when he was 16. Their paths crossed as 16-year-old patients at SickKids hospital, where they would become ‘friends for life’ and later start the charity. Though Cameron is now cancer-free, life for Bauer (and anyone with cystic fibrosis) is a constant battle – one he almost lost this past June.
In a light hearted yet emotional series of speeches, it was revealed that Bauer had hit rock bottom just a few months back and gone into “code blue,” or cardiac arrest, which resulted in a stay in intensive care and an emergency lung surgery. He told the crowd – many of who were among his expansive network of friends – that it was the closest he ever felt to dying. Bauer remarkably pulled through and is now focused on “getting better and celebrating life.” He has now retuned to work and is back in school part-time.
Though they definitely added a somber dose of reality to the reason why we were all there in the first place, the speeches didn’t hurt the upbeat vibe of the event. The party continued well into the evening (even guests our parents’ age stuck around) and we’re happy to report that the bar didn’t run out of booze and the gift bag table remained fully stocked right until the end.
If you missed the event, you can still support the cause here.
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Photo Credit: Shawn Goldberg