Anti-bullying advocates think pink at Bluewater Café luncheon

Fred Lee hits the town with Shaquille O’Neal, Bard on the Beach and Children’s Health Centre

PINK IT FORWARD: A rare dump of snow last week did not deter guests from attending the seventh annual Pink Shirt Day Luncheon presented by the CKNW Orphans Fund and Coast Capital Savings. Anti-bullying advocates filled Bluewater Cafe in Yaletown in support of the national campaign founded by Halifax high school student Travis Price. Price along with fellow classmates rallied around a student teased for wearing a pink polo top. Price was on hand for the luncheon luau along with anti-bullying advocates Suman and Manjit Virk and Carol Todd, parents of well-known children who were the victims of harassment and assault. Steered this year by Britt Innes of Joey Restaurant Group, the noon-hour party generated a record $90,000 for anti-bullying initiatives and programs across B.C.

SHAQ ATTACK: NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal headlined the Jewish Community Centre’s 25th Sports Dinner and Gala Auction. The basketball star’s late arrival to Vancity and the Hyatt Regency Hotel did not dampen the party spirits of 900 fans who came to support education, recreation, cultural and social programs at the JCC and to hear from the four-time NBA champion. Barely checked in, O’Neal mugged with a fortunate few lucky enough to have their photo taken with the 7’1” basketball star prior to the start of the evening. Love It or List It host Todd Talbot emceed the rowdy affair, which featured a multi-course meal, auction, Jack Diamond Leadership Award presentation to Graham Lee and 45-minute In Conversation with the man of the hour, O’Neal. Chaired by James Dayson and Michael Averbach, the sport shenanigans scored the JCC a reported $1 million.

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RAISING A GLASS: The Bacchanalia Gala, Vancouver International Wine Festival’s flagship fundraiser, netted $225,000 for Christopher Gaze’s Bard on the Beach Shakespeare festival. Kicking off the 40th edition of the everything-wine tipple fest, Hotel Vancouver was party central for the tony epicurean dinner, a spectacular evening of wine and food, attended by wine enthusiasts and collectors. Led by first-time chair Stephanie Hungerford, the $450-ticketed affair began with a sparkling Cava reception. Nine additional rare and exceptional wines from around the globe would follow, paired with an exquisite five-course menu prepared by Hotel Vancouver’s executive chef Cameron Ballendine — topped off with live music and dancing. Before oenophiles kicked up their heels, they participated in a lively auction of coveted wine and experiences that would raise $205,000. A rare bottle from Domaine de la Romanee-Conti commanded one of the evening’s top bids, while the raffle of two Delta Air Lines business class tickets raised an additional $20,000.

FINDING COURAGE: The campaign to raise $5 million for the Children's Health Centre at Surrey Memorial got off to a spectacular start with more than $2 million raised at the Surrey Hospital and Outpatient Centre Foundation’s Wizard of Oz-themed Celebration of Care Gala. Presented by Blundell Seafoods, the event invited 500 guests to follow the yellow brick road for an exquisite evening of Hollywood fun, food and fundraising. Safe Software founders Don Murray and Dale Lutz set the stage with a $1-million contribution to the Caring for Kids Closer to Home campaign. Surrey-based Coast Capital Savings, Canada's largest credit union, followed with a $350,000 contribution. Bolstered by the major gifts, other attendees opened their hearts to help Fraser Health expand and transform the 17-year-old Children's Health Centre. Proceeds from the night will help double the number of outpatient clinic rooms, as well as create additional, flexible space for day care and overnight stays.

SKIN CARE: Skin Technique is the newest medical aesthetic clinic to open in a burgeoning market of skin and anti-aging care shops to help people achieve the best versions of themselves. Led by Dr. Christopher Pavlou and a team of experts, the luxe beauty bar for women and men in the heart of Yaletown recently had its grand opening. Pavlou shared the extensive menu of cutting edge, physician driven procedures available to party guests — from coolsculpting (fat reduction) and microneedling (skin rejuvenation) to Latisse (thicker lashes) and Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP (hair restoration). Le beau monde, along with industry insiders, marked the occasion with a champagne toast and skin pampering in the former Raw Canvas drink and paint space on Hamilton Street.

Hear Fred Mondays 8:20 a.m. on CBC Radio’s The Early Edition AM690 and 88.1FM; email: yvrflee@hotmail.com; Twitter: @FredAboutTown.

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