TORONTO — Guests partied to the sounds of Joan Jett & The Blackhearts at the Brain Trust’s Rock gala, which raised $400,000 for the Gerry & Nancy Pencer Brain Tumor Centre at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital.
The trust’s 12th annual gala held at the Liberty Grand on May 30 “let you embrace your inner rock star, while helping to raise much-needed funds to provide information, treatment and support for brain tumour patients and their families,” said Nancy Pencer, president of the Gerry & Nancy Pencer Brain Trust.
Holly Pencer-Bellman, the Pencers’ daughter and executive director of the Brain Trust, said that “Feb. 3, 2012, marked the 14th year since my dad, Gerry Pencer, passed away from glioblastoma multiforme – the most aggressive type of brain cancer. Gerry was diagnosed in May 1997 with a brain tumour. At that time there were neither support groups nor clinical trials available. There was no consolidation of care.
“His vision was to create a one-stop shop for brain tumour patients and their families: a treatment centre at Princess Margaret that would consolidate all of the treatments, have the best doctors and supportive care programs under one roof.”
The Pencer Centre has an international reputation as a brain tumour treatment and research centre, not only for its state-of-the art medical treatments and enhanced patient-centred care, but also as a significant contributor to leading-edge research.
At the gala attended by 800 guests, Harley-Davidson motorcycles added to the rock atmosphere in the Viper Room. Guests who were decked out in rocker attire had the opportunity to purchase “rock box” prizes. For $100, you got a box and inside every box was a prize with a minimum value of $100, ranging from gift certificates to jewelry. There was also a $10,000 cash prize raffle.
The early part of the evening featured Supper Under the Stars for some 200 sponsors who contributed at least $14,000, a performance by Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Marc Cohn – who’s known for his signature song Walking in Memphis – and a live auction.
Former Pencer Centre patients Lynne Terry and Yves Boucher both thanked the sponsors at the Supper Under the Stars, calling the Pencer Centre an exceptional place that allowed them to be normal and keep on living their lives. “Cancer is a word, not a sentence. The Pencer Centre makes that sentiment real. We’re both living proof.”
Richard Saunders, president of Redstone Pictures, who provided video production services for the gala, said the “crowd the Pencer Brain Trust brings out, the amount of money they are able to raise and the way its pulled together has everyone buzzing in the city. It’s really something.”
Guest Sara Waxman, publisher of Dine magazine, said “all charity events and health fundraising events are important… treatments for diseases of the brain is something that touches us all.”