A Fundraiser for the Gastrointestinal Society

The GI Society’s highly respected initiatives touch the lives of millions of Canadians affected by gastrointestinal and liver conditions. The Inside Affair fundraisers in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver in October 2015 allowed business, health care, and patient communities to come together and show support for the GI Society’s charitable work.

Each event included notable speakers from the medical and patient community. Our featured speaker at all three events was teenage patient advocate, Jonathan Abbey. He engaged the audience with personal stories about his struggle with eosinophilic gastrointestinal disease, including how he manages this debilitating disease in conjunction with the social complexities of friendships and high school. In Vancouver, the audience gave him a standing ovation after his moving speech.

The Inside Affair, known as Fête GASTROnomique in French, kicked off in Montreal at the elegant Le Challenger in the Saint-Laurent neighbourhood. Our featured speakers included Dr. Guy Aumais from the GI Society and CSIR Medical Advisory Council, Dr. Reiner Banken from Reiner Banken Consulting, and Stéphane Lassignardie, who is the general manager of AbbVie. Our emcee was radio personality and great supporter, Dr. Christiane Laberge.

In Toronto, the Inside Affair took place at the Boiler House Loft in the historic Distillery District. The evening started out with a scenic outdoor cocktail party. The speakers included Dr. Ming Jung from the GI Society and CSIR Medical Advisory Council, Suzanne McGurn the Assistant Deputy Minister and Executive Officer, Ontario Public Drug Programs, and  Jim Carey, the Executive Director, US Policy and Government Relations at Merck. John Crean from NATIONAL Public Relations emceed in Toronto, for the third year in a row.

At the Inside Affair in the elegant, landmark Hycroft Manor in Vancouver, we were thrilled to have Honourable Dr. Terry Lake, the BC Minister of Health speak, who announced a $100,000 donation to the GI Society (see announcement on facing page). Other notable speakers included Dr. James Gray, the Chair of GI Society and CSIR Medical Advisory Council, Barbara Walman the Assistant Deputy Minister at the BC Medical Beneficiary and Pharmaceutical Services Division, and Shaun Ellis, the National Director, Government Affairs and Stakeholder Engagement at Janssen. Our own CEO, Gail Attara, emceed the Vancouver event.

We thank all of our speakers and appreciate them taking the time to share vital knowledge and insights with the attendees.

We thank the organizations and individuals who recognized the work of the GI Society by sponsoring these events, purchasing tickets, or volunteering. We could not have done it without you! Together we raised more than $125,000 in essential new funds to support the work of the GI Society. Our major event sponsors were Janssen Canada, Canada’s Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D), LifeScan, Merck Canada, who each sponsored all three events and Abbvie, Allergan, Boerhinger Ingleheim, Gilead, Inviva, and Pfizer, who each sponsored one of these events.

A round of applause is in order for our generous in-kind donors who helped us raise funds by providing high quality raffle prizes, and for our national in-kind sponsor, NATIONAL Public Relations.