Get inspired: Organizers in action
Host an event Check out some of Sunnybrook's organizers in action. As you can tell,
our organizers range from children to families.
Find out first-hand how fun and fulfilling it is to organize an event.
When they’re not blowing the whistle for a high-sticking or cross-checking penalty, the GTA’s hockey referees might be found playing golf and raising funds to support Sunnybrook’s Trauma, Emergency & Critical Care (TECC) program.
Since the late 1990s, the Whistler’s Open golf tournament (named after the referee’s whistle) has been supporting Sunnybrook. The hockey officials have raised more than $259,000 for Sunnybrook’s TECC program.
"The day is filled with as many laughs as possible; it is enjoyable and affordable, and we raise as much money as we can for an important cause,” says Steven Picco, a hockey ref and head of the organizing committee. “It always seems like Sunnybrook is at the forefront of critical care in Ontario."
Kumar Punithavel has gone to extreme lengths — or rather heights — to raise funds for the innovative care and research at Sunnybrook’s Louise Temerty Breast Cancer Centre, the largest and most advanced in Canada.
In 2011, he skydived for the first time in his life, and in 2013 he hiked Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest peak in Africa. He has raised an impressive $42,000 for Sunnybrook through proceeds from both events.
Kumar’s quest to hike Mount Kilimanjaro began ominously. His checked baggage arrived in Tanzania days after he did, and the day before he set out on the climb he received a discouraging horoscope.
“You may have to tell someone that you cannot deliver on what you promised. Chances are they won’t mind in the slightest. It seems like they didn’t want you to do it,” the horoscope read.
“I thought, ‘OK, now what should I do? Should I give up?’” recalls Kumar, a 68-year-old Scarborough resident.
It started as a golf tournament and grew into a gift of more than $1 million toward care for Ontario’s tiniest patients.
The Sofina & Amici Golf Classic, hosted since 2008 by Sofina Foods Inc., has raised more than $1.2 million for Sunnybrook’s state-of-the-art Women & Babies facility, which opened in September 2010.
“I am indebted to my family, friends and loyal suppliers who generously support our initiative year after year,” says Michael Latifi, Sofina chairman and CEO. “It is through their support that we have been able to deliver beyond all our expectations.”
The tournament was started with a goal of raising $50,000 each year. It turned out to be a hit from the start, raising over $200,000 in 2008 alone. The secret has been treating participants to a day beyond their expectations.
Tammy Whelen has been a tireless volunteer in the fight against cancer for more than a decade, raising funds for the hospital that saved her life and raising awareness.
Tammy - diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 1999 at the age of 25 - is again organizing the 13th annual Road2Recovery on Oct. 12, a night of great food, music, dancing, and much more.
"When I'm at Sunnybrook I'm treated with respect, and I know the people who work here actually care," says Tammy, explaining why she still fundraises for Sunnybrook after putting in so many volunteer hours year after year.
There are other reasons, too. Coming to the Odette Cancer Centre for her annual appointments, Tammy sees patients at different stages of treatment. She says this reminds her how fortunate she is to have survived and just how important the centre's care and research is to patients.
On May 28, Nicholas Morales, a grade five student at Our Lady of Peace Elementary School in Maple, Ontario, chopped off the long, curly locks he was known for.
"We've all known Nicholas for years - he's been known as the kid with long curly black hair - he'd been growing it for years since his mom passed away," says Kristen Belvedere, Nicholas's teacher.
The haircut was the main attraction of "The Buzz," a school rally to raise awareness and funds for cancer. The kids and teachers who planned the event surpassed their $5,000 fundraising goal, raising a total of nearly $15,000.
ALS patient Derek Walton, who is almost completely disabled, skydived for a cure on August 21, 2010 in his continued fight against the disease that he says ultimately "buries you alive."
"Your brain stays alert to the very end," Derek explains. "The difference between ALS and other neurological disorders is that people actually die of ALS - with the other disorders, patients die of their complications."
Through the Jumping for PALS 2 (People with ALS) event, Derek raised funds toward research at Sunnybrook's ALS/Neuromuscular Clinic by jumping out of a plane at 15,000 feet - 2,500 feet more than his jump last year.
On July 22, 2010 at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, Daniel Stolfi performed his one-man show Cancer Can't Dance Like This about his harrowing experience battling cancer.
Daniel and the team behind Cancer Can't Dance Like This partnered with The New Leaders of Sunnybrook Foundation and Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd to produce the show.
The money raised helped fund the much needed expansion of the Odette Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre to accommodate the growing number of patients.