On Saturday, October 14, UHN Foundation hosted the 11th annual Diwali – A Night to Shine, presented by Scotiabank, in support of Toronto Rehab at University Health Network (UHN). Held at Beanfield Centre with nearly 600 guests in attendance, the event raised more than $1.5 million and counting for world-leading rehabilitation care and research.
Hosted by Toronto Blue Jays in-game host Dhanung Bulsara and renowned journalist Karen Johnson Basra, the gala offered guests a one-of-a-kind experience to celebrate India’s culture, traditions and legacy through music, food and entertainment. The evening featured a carefully curated selection of traditional Indian food and dance performances by Bollywood Dance School Canada.
Impact of support
Guests also learned about the impact of their support and the critical role that Toronto Rehab plays in helping patients with life-altering injuries and age-related illnesses reclaim their independence. One of the highlights was a video featuring the inspiring story of Dr. Alex Mihailidis, a researcher at the KITE Research Institute, Toronto Rehab’s research arm, who used his own personal rehabilitation experience to deepen his own research.
“This event supports a very important part of UHN – Toronto Rehab – which helps people who have been through catastrophic injury reclaim the life that they want and deserve,” says UHN President & CEO Kevin Smith. “Together with the KITE Research Institute, Toronto Rehab’s research arm, they are redefining rehabilitation, and developing revolutionary tools, technologies and treatments that are helping patients reach their rehabilitation goals faster.”
Since its inception in 2011, the event has raised more than $13 million for programs at UHN. UHN is the top research hospital in Canada and home to one of the top five hospitals in the world.
What this event means
“Tonight is a gathering of the community and an opportunity to help the number-one hospital in Canada transform health care,” said Julie Quenneville, CEO of UHN Foundation. “When our loved ones need the support of rehabilitation as part of their health journeys, we want them to have access to the very best physicians and caregivers, as well as game-changing innovation. Thanks to the generosity of our community, we can do that.”
Diwali, the namesake of the event, is the South Asian Festival of Lights and represents the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. Across the many different faiths and cultures of South Asia, celebrations are a spectacle of colour, music and festivity – an opportunity to showcase the famous Indian hospitality and abundance.
“Diwali symbolizes good health, hope, courage and prosperity,” stated Vinny Bhathal, event Co-Chair.
“It is our hope that with the funds raised tonight, UHN can carry out this incredible promise of hope on behalf of our patients at Toronto Rehab.” added Sanjay Nakra, event Co-Chair.
This year marks the final year with Scotiabank as presenting sponsor for Diwali, who has been a presenting sponsor for seven years. It was announced that Sprott Inc. will take the reins as presenting sponsor for the next five years, ensuring this legendary event can continue to make an impact.
Major corporate partners included Scotiabank (Presenting Sponsor), Sprott Inc. (Dinner Sponsor) and BMO (Reception Sponsor).
Thank you to all guests and sponsors who made this year’s event such a success.