Toronto East General Hospital’s (TEGH) second annual Laughter is the Best Medicine event was no joke!
The annual gala fundraiser raised $2.5 million and marked the conclusion of TEGH’s $60-million private sector capital campaign.
“The $2.5 million raised at this gala was significant; it helped us close out the ambitious $60-million private sector campaign we started five years ago,” said Michael Burns, chair of the hospital’s foundation board, in a Sept. 28 release.
“This is all part of TEGH’s $360-million capital redevelopment project, which will culminate with the opening of the innovative Ken and Marilyn Thomson Patient Care Centre.”
Described as one of the most fun and funniest evenings of the year, the Laughter is the Best Medicine II comedy gala featured a performance by multi-Emmy and Grammy award wining comedian Chris Rock.
This show was his first performance at a private event.
“It’s a great cause. The hospital does a lot of amazing work. And I just wanted to be with the right people; and this just seemed like the right time,” Rock said in the same release.
Canadian funnyman Will Arnett served as the master of ceremonies.
“I have family members who received care here, at Toronto East General, and my mom and dad are connected. My dad spent several years on the board, fundraising at the hospital, so the connection runs deep,” he said in the Sept. 28 communiqué.
Comedian and TV star Mario Joyner performed the evening’s opening act.
During the fundraiser’s silent auction, Arnett spontaneously auctioned off a dinner with him and his friend, Brendan Shanahan, president of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Shanahan was one of the many notable guests at the gala event.
Joseph Neale, a lung cancer survivor who underwent life-saving thoracic surgery at TEGH, also performed at the gala.
More than 1,400 people attended the sold-out Laughter is the Best Medicine II, which took place Saturday, Sept. 27, at the Allstream Centre at Exhibition Place.
“Rock, Arnett and Joyner kept us laughing all night long. What better way for Toronto to support such a great cause!,” gala Chair Michael Geddes said in the release. “We are thrilled with the turnout we received for the event, which is without question one of the city’s most unique fundraisers of the year.”
- Joanna Lavoie