Fred Lee: June 1, 2017

PULLING STRINGS: With more than 5.2 million Canadians affected by more than 100 forms of arthritis, it is now the most costly chronic disease in Canada and reportedly the number one reason for workplace disability. The Arthritis Research Centre was created in 2000 in response to the potential research can bring to arthritis treatment in Canada and around the world. Yours truly, along with Robin Gill, emceed the firm’s fifth ARThritis Soiree. With an emphasis on art as therapy and well being, this year the ARThritis Soirée at the Hotel Vancouver, chaired by party founder Naz Panahi, drew business and community leaders, philanthropists, doctors, scientists, health care professionals and those who share a passion for art and a desire to support arthritis research. World-renowned violinist Jenny Bae headlined the joint's jamboree, performing with members of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. While Bae played musical strings, Panahi, along with ARC scientific director Dr. John Esdaile, pulled on heart and purse strings drumming up an impressive $390,000 — a record haul for the cause.

SWEET DREAMS: For nearly five decades, the B.C. Centre for Ability as been providing community-based services to enhance the quality of life for children, youth and adults with disabilities and their families. Since 1969, the Centre has been providing services — vocational, therapy and emotional — to help facilitate and build competencies and foster inclusion in all aspects of a person’s life. The organization recently staged its flagship fundraiser. More than 300 guests filed into the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel for the Dining for Dreams Gala.  Hosted by Geoff Hastings of Global TV, and fronted by the centre’s chief fundraiser Maya Dimapilis, the event’s 18th installment also celebrated five individuals recognized for their resilience and courage to overcome their disabilities to inspire others to achieve their dreams. Their remarkable stories inspired others in the ballroom to give, sparkplugging attendees to empty their wallets of $200,000.

FORE THE KIDS: The First Tee is a unique YMCA program that teaches budding golfers ages six to 17 the fundamentals of the game. Beyond the outdoor fun, the goal of the program is to teach kids essential life skills — whether it’s learning to be honest while keeping score, perseverance when losing or good judgment while making a shot. It is hoped these lessons stick well beyond the fairways. Since 2010, the YMCA, in partnership with the Vancouver Park Board, has been running the program providing children all the necessary equipment to play, and no one is ever turned away due to an inability to pay. The program’s popularity has even seen the youth development program expand to the city of Surrey. To support this year’s 1,000 kids who have expressed an interest to pick up the clubs, 124 golfers took to the Richmond Golf and Country Club for the annual First Tee Tourney, fronted by Jeff Shewfelt, Christophe Collins and Renate Mueller. Golfers enjoyed a picture-perfect day on the links and the opportunity to swing for a $1-million hole-in-one. While no one was successful in sinking the hole, kids scored big as $40,000 was raised from the day of golf and camaraderie.

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