Our busy summer season kicked off on June 22nd with Hope & Cope’s spirited Monday Night Live Gala at Place des Arts, attracting a capacity crowd of 1,100.
The Monday Night Live theme, chosen in reference to the evening’s star performer, Dennis Miller, was featured in every aspect of the event, from the publicity to the “Meet and Greet Dennis Miller” pre-cocktail event for high-end donors to the stylish, elegant cocktail dinatoire at Place des Arts’ Salon Urbain, attended by 500 generous donors, to the hilarious opening act: a Saturday Night Live Weekend Update style video. Set 50 years hence, in the year 2065, the video, written and produced by Hope & Cope, featured “news anchors” Hope & Cope Chairs Marlene and Joel King and Gala Co-Chairs Nancy Ditkofsky and Howard Stotland. Poking gentle fun at Hope & Cope Founder Sheila Kussner as well as the idiosyncrasies of life in Quebec, the video ended with the dream – shared by everyone in attendance – that one day, cancer will be cured.
As they came onto the stage to announce the evening’s total, the four principal organizers underscored that until that day comes, Hope & Cope will continue to be there for cancer patients at every age and every stage.
Sheila Kussner, O.C., O.Q., received a standing ovation for her remarkable influence and unparalleled contributions to cancer care in Montreal and beyond, which she has sustained over a 34-year period.” Throughout this very short but incredibly successful campaign, we were inspired by two things: Sheila’s superhuman work ethic and the knowledge that Hope & Cope is a life-changing organization that deserves continued support,” said Joel King.
Also singled out for praise were the pillars whose extraordinary generosity provided the foundation for the campaign’s success: Sandra and Phil Gutherz, Marlene and Joel King, Emmelle and Alvin Segal, O.C., O.Q., and Morris Goodman.
Nancy Ditkofsky thanked the exceptional team of canvassers – all of whom volunteered countless hours of their time– for going the distance. Howard Stotland noted that, “I spent the first 20 years of my life in the house on Côte Ste. Catherine Road that is now the Wellness Centre, so it feels like I’ve come full circle. It is incredibly rewarding to see how many people come here to find the support they need to live well with cancer.”
The evening was masterfully emceed by the very witty CJAD Radio broadcaster Aaron Rand. American comedian, Emmy Award winner and New York Times best-selling author Dennis Miller lived up to his billing, bringing the house down with his insightful, dry wit. Miller, who met Kussner for the first time earlier that evening, ended his set by noting that if anyone could conquer cancer, it was Sheila Kussner.
All proceeds of the Monday Night Live gala will support the many innovative, life-affirming programs and services offered free of charge to cancer survivors and their families by Hope & Cope at our Wellness Centre and our sites within the Jewish General Hospital’s Segal Cancer Centre.