Porridge for Parkinson’s committee members and volunteers help prepare delectable brunch packages to participants. (Photo courtesy: Jen Cerny)
In November 2021, the biennial Porridge for Parkinson’s brunch fundraising event raised more than $134,000 in support of research at the Edmond J. Safra Program in Parkinson’s Disease and the Morton and Gloria Shulman Movement Disorders Clinic at University Health Network (UHN).
Porridge for Parkinson’s first started in Vancouver in 2001, by former CBC radio broadcaster Marg Miekle, after she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the early age of 43. She was determined to do something to advance a cure for this progressive disease. Her symptoms, as with most people living with Parkinson’s disease, were least active in the morning. This is when she had the idea to start a low-key breakfast event in her home to raise money for Parkinson’s research. Today, Porridge for Parkinson’s in Vancouver has raised more than $2.3 million and has inspired similar events across the country.
In 2009, the first Porridge for Parkinson’s brunch event was held in Toronto. The event has since raised more than $1 million for Parkinson’s research, made possible through a committed group of volunteers, guests and donors. Previously, the event was in-person where brunch was served by top Toronto chefs that featured a brunch-themed silent auction and special guest speakers, however, due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, last year’s event looked a little different. The event’s co-chairs, Jen Cerny and Adrienne Anderson, along with other committee members decided to not have an in-person gathering but instead have curated brunch packages be delivered to guests every Sunday in November. This would keep their community of supporters safe while continuing to raise funds for Parkinson’s research.
Almost 200 brunches were delivered across the GTA to more than 750 participants.
“We are thrilled to have raised more than $134,000 for Parkinson’s research at UHN despite the challenges of running an event last year. The committee pulled together to make it happen – personally delivering delicious brunch packages around the GTA. We are forever grateful to our loyal supporters, old and new,” said Cerny and Anderson.
Each Sunday featured a different delectable brunch package carefully prepared by committee members with food from brunch partners including Primrose Bagel Co., Lev Bakery, Mattachioni, Parallel Brothers, Baker and Scone, Forbes Wild Foods,Take it Away and Toronto chefs like Jamie Kennedy and Joanne Yolles. The committee topped each brunch off with a bouquet of fresh flowers from Quince Flowers and a box of brown sugar oatmeal bonbons from Chocolat de Kat. Participants had the option to order one brunch package or all four packages to be enjoyed right in the comfort of their own home.
Even though the 2021 event was a success, the committee is looking forward to hosting in-person events again soon.
Funds raised from the 2021 event will support the work of one research fellow in the Morton and Gloria Shulman Movement Disorders Clinic at UHN. Dr. Anthony Lang, director of the Edmond J. Safra Program and the Morton and Gloria Shulman Movement Disorders Clinic and his team are working to find better treatments for Parkinson’s disease to enhance patient care and ensure a brighter future for people living with the disease.
Special thanks to the 2021 Sponsor Bob’s Red Mill and Print Sponsor The Printing & Promotion Group for their generous support.
For a complete history of Porridge for Parkinson’s, including pictures, the full list of sponsors, research supported, participating guest speakers and chefs, please visit porridgeforparkinsonsto.org.