Angels Catwalk for SickKids - another successful event supporting pediatric transplant research
The following post and photos are by Donna Hart, a CDTRP Patient Partner on the CAN-Restore Project. Heather Talbot is a CDTRP Patient Partner on the DePPaRT Project. Both Donna and Heather represented the CDTRP at the Angels Catwalk for SickKids in Toronto on April 4, 2019.
On Thursday April 4th, Heather Talbot and I had the honour and privilege of attending Angels Catwalk for Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto as CDTRP representatives. This is the sixth year of the annual fundraiser run by Ashley’s Angels team that includes an evening of entertainment, a fashion show and fundraising.
Heather and her husband Terry, myself and my sister Susan all had a fabulous time. It was a wonderfully organized event.
It is hard to comprehend the magnitude of the statement when someone tells you that you need a transplant to survive. Imagine if you are hearing this news about your own child. The stress and anxiety that a family goes through must be immeasurable. Your child is dying, but someone is able to throw you a lifeline, a transplant.
Angels Catwalk for Sick kids is part of this lifeline. The event supports the High School Outreach Initiative, whose overall objective is to provide education and awareness of transplantation and organ donation to youth in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. In 2011 when the program started the registered organ donor rate in Toronto was only 13%; since the program began this rate has increased to 22%.
Every year there is a special project that is supported at the event. This year’s special research project is a research project examining allergies after solid organ transplant, Ashley Logan spoke to the crowd about her own personal struggles with allergies. A live auction ensued and $65,000 was raised for this cause and the overall event raised over $200,000.
Donors and organ recipients fundraised for the chance to walk the runway. It is inspiring to see people who give of themselves to save the lives of others, and then continue that legacy by fundraising to further support organ donation. The highlight of the Donor Catwalk was the liver boys. Smartly dressed in stand-out suits, both of these young men had had liver transplants. Both young men live active lives today and enjoy sports.
I would be remiss if I didn’t spend some time talking about the food, excellent service and the entertainment. The venue was lovely, foodies were able to experience a wide variety of different offerings from savoury entrees to sweet desserts.
Maria Aragon sang a song that she had specifically written for that night, and Karl Wolf wowed the crowd with his fabulous remakes of old classics. Howie Rosenberg was the DJ for the night.
The Talbots are donor parents; I am a solid organ donor recipient. In May 2015, I received the gift of life and a new heart. I am extremely grateful for the second chance that I was given. I am indebted to the men and women who went before me and from their success and failures my transplant journey was made easier. Thank you for the research that you are doing and will continue to do in the future.
Learn more about this amazing event and the team behind it, and we hope to see you there next year!
@angelscatwalk4sickkids www.angelscatwalk.ca @AshleysAngels1