25th anniversary gala unites the community and raises nearly $1.5 million for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada

Toronto Gala Co-chairs
A celebration of milestones and the promising future of research and patient programs
Toronto, ON, May 23, 2019 – The sold-out Gala for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, which took place at Vaughan’s Universal Eventspace on May 16, raised nearly $1.5 million to advance much-needed research and patient programs thanks to the philanthropic efforts of over 900 attendees.

“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,” said Mina Mawani, President and CEO, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. “We’re forever grateful for the ongoing commitment of our community as they’ve played an instrumental role in getting us to where we are today.”

The Toronto Gala since its inception has contributed over $17.5 million towards critical research. Through the funding of unique projects, we are able to fulfill our promise of improving the quality of life of those affected by Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis – and continuing our search for the cures.

The evening, which culminated with a performance by Grammy Award-winning artist Michael Bolton, celebrated Marilyn Finkelstein and Don Lebovitz, the recipients of Crohn’s and Colitis Canada’s 2019 Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Driven by her family’s connection to Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, Marilyn Finkelstein founded Crohn’s and Colitis Canada in 1974 with her late husband Albert. Their determination to find a cure for these inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) has enabled the organization to be one of the top two health charity funders of Crohn’s and colitis research in the world, investing over $127 million to date.
Since the inception of the organization, Don Lebovitz has played a key role in driving Crohn’s and Colitis Canada’s success. During his tenure as president, he developed critical fundraising initiatives that enabled investments in research and patient programs. Today, he continues to provide support through an advisory capacity.
Aligned with its mission statement, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada proudly invests the evening’s proceeds into a range of research projects focused on advancing discovery and improving lives as well as patient programs. From supporting projects that investigate triggers for the disease to the evolution of patient care, the organization acts as a driving force for projects laying the groundwork for a promising future. To learn more, visit crohnsandcolitis.ca/torontogala.
Gala Co-chairs
Mimi Greenspoon, Ronda Taylor and Tammy Seigel (Gala Chairs)

Crystal with Mina
Crystal Goomansingh, Gala Host, and Mina Mawani, President and CEO, Crohn's and Colitis Canada

Jami and Jade Poole
Jami and Jade Poole, Speakers

Award Group
Mina Mawani, Cydney and Don Lebovitz, Marilyn Finkelstein, David and Gary Finkelstein

Michael Bolton on Guitar

Michael Bolton Singing
Michael Bolton Performs

Michael Thompson, Sue Woodcock, Michelle Thompson, Beverly Thompson and Peter Eliopoulos
Michael Thompson, Sue Woodcock, Michelle Thompson, Beverley Thompson and Peter Eliopoulos

The Andlauer Family
The Andlauer Family

Tammy and Joel Seigel
Tammy and Joel Seigel (Gentec International)

Alan and Julie Spergel
Alan and Julie Spergel

Bernie and Tona Abrams with Michael Bolton
Bernie and Tona Abrams with Michael Bolton

Michael and Ronda Taylor
Michael and Ronda Taylor

Toronto Gala Decor
Gala Decor

About Crohn’s and Colitis Canada
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is the only national, volunteer-based charity focused on finding the cures for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and improving the lives of everyone impacted by inflammatory bowel disease. We are the world’s second largest health charity funder of Crohn’s and colitis research, and our patient programs and advocacy efforts support the people affected by these chronic autoimmune diseases, which cause the body to attack healthy tissue, leading to the inflammation of all or part of the gastrointestinal tract.

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For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Angie Specic
Vice President, Marketing and Communications
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada
416-920-5035 x210

  • Canada has among the highest incidence rates of Crohn's and colitis in the world.
  • 1 in 140 Canadians lives with Crohn’s or colitis.
  • Families new to Canada are developing these diseases for the first time.
  • Incidence of Crohn’s in Canadian kids under 10 has doubled since 1995.
  • People are most commonly diagnosed before age 30.

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