THREE GALA NIGHT: It started at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver when Immigrant Employment Council of B.C. CEO Patrick MacKenzie chaired The B.C. Cancer Foundation’s Inspiration gala. With the theme Genomics: The Future of Cancer, the 15th annual event reportedly raised $3 million. As often in such roles, MacKenzie was motivated by a past cancer that carried away his wife Sarah. Dr. Janessa Laskin, the clinical head of B.C. Cancer’s genomics group, looks to her specialty curtailing such losses. “Cancer is so complicated, she said. “Genomics will change how cancer medicine is practised. It will change everything for patients, families, clinicians and researchers.”
ROCK ON: Kitty-corner at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, another first-time-chair, Stephanie Orr, fronted the 20th annual Rockin’ For Research gala. It reportedly raised $965,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. One attendee donated $1 million separately. Orr’s personal connection with diabetes derives from having two of her three children with that ailment. The event was founded by Loverboy guitarist Paul Dean and wife Denise on behalf of their then-four-year-old son Jake. Orr thanked guests for helping diabetic youngsters “get closer to a world without insulin injections, finger pokes, low blood sugars, high blood sugars, carb counting and constant fear of life-threatening consequences.”
COMING UP ROSES: Down at the Marriott Pinnacle Hotel, yet another first-time chair, personal injury lawyer Manjot Hallen, fronted the South Asian Community’s 11th annual Night of Miracles gala. He and vice-chair Seema Lai saw the event reportedly add $742,495 to the $5.4 million previously raised for B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation. That rosy result was reflected at the hotel’s entrance by a $408,993 Lamborghini Huracan Evo Spyder from Asgar Virji’s Weissach dealership that was literally stuffed with white and red roses. More blooms adorned greeter Isabella McKinnon, who is more accustomed to hops-and-barley fragrances at The Pint pub where she bartends. Foundation president-CEO Teri Nicholas thanked gala-goers for helping the hospital “transform care for children with presently incurable Type 1 diabetes.”
BULL’S-EYE: Some 150 years ago, large axes felled old-growth timber at what is now downtown Hastings Street. Smaller versions now thud into targets at Devon Boorman’s Academie Duello there. Along with its swordplay, archery, dance and mounted-knight programs, the medieval-themed martial-arts organization has teamed with the Axewood concern to offer $45 chopper-chucking sessions — with no trees harmed.
ILL WIND: The old saying aside, California’s wildfire-fanning winds did blow some good. That was to Menlo Park’s Rosewood Sand Hill hotel where former Vancouver hotelier Philip Myer is managing director. While visiting family and friend Sophie Lui here, he said, “We just had our best October ever,” meaning that fire-fleeing guests had booked all the ritzy joint’s rooms.
LOST SPACE RACE: Eastside Culture Crawl executive director Esther Rausenberg is pleased that 500 artists, craftspeople and designers will open their studios for the 23rd running Nov. 14-17. She’s dismayed, though, that a decline of affordable production spaces — often former industrial premises — is depriving artists of places to work. Seventy-five such artists are participating in the multi-venue Displacement exhibition that Rausenberg launched recently. “No artists, no city culture,” she said, hoping that community leaders, elected officials and the like will prevent that baleful outcome.
GONE TOO SOON: Ken Mayer’s photo-artworks were exhibited and auctioned recently at his studio in the 1000 Parker building where scores of other artists and artisans practice. Mayer, who died in September soon after a cancer diagnosis, directed that all auction proceeds would fund Capilano University music scholarships. Especially popular were his photographs of France and others inspired by 17th-century Dutch paintings that, though little demanded 20 years ago, “flew off the wall,” said wife Carol.
PEAK PERFORMERS Olympics and Paralympics gold medallists Molly Jepson, Kathy Kreiner, Ashleigh McIvor, Marielle Thompson and Nancy Greene Raine joined other top skiers, coaches and guests at Blue Water Café recently. The B.C. Alpine organization’s 14th annual Peak to Peak dinner-auction there celebrated 100 years of Canadian ski racing and helped fund national-level programs. Sun Peaks skiing director Greene Raine said she and mayor-husband Al are busy with further development of a multi-purpose centre there. Meanwhile, $850,000 would acquire their 4,000-square-foot home beside Kamloops’ Rivershore golf course’s third green.