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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

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Baycrest dance competition raises $1.5M

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Warren Kimel is seen dancing with his professional dance partner Tanya Iaremchuk. Kimel won Baycrest’s Dancing With Our Stars trophy.

TORONTO — It was a grand night for dancing and for raising money at Dancing With Our Stars in support of Baycrest’s Innovations in Aging and Brain Health.

Four spirited philanthropists and their professional dancing partners from Toronto Dance took the stage March 29 to compete for Baycrest’s dance trophy at the Allstream Centre at Exhibition Place in Toronto.

Warren Kimel, chair of Baycrest Foundation, won the trophy based on the money he raised, the judges’ scores, and the votes of the 660 guests that attended.

The other participants were Canadian Football League commissioner Mark Cohon, Rogers Media president Keith Pelley and philanthropist Sarah Perlis.

Baycrest raised more than $1.5 million from the event, bringing the cumulative total for the three seasons of its Dancing With Our Stars to more than $4.5 million.

 “I am so excited to have experienced my first Baycrest Dancing With Our Stars gala since arriving at Baycrest last fall,” said Susan Sutton, president of Baycrest Foundation and Baycrest’s vice-president of global institutional advancement.

“I heard so much about this incredible Baycrest fundraiser, and it exceeded all my expectations. The success of this event is due to the hard work of our co-chairs, Honey Sherman and David Cynamon, our courageous dancers, our incredible staff, and of course our generous sponsors and supporters.”

A series of short videos was presented to the enthusiastic guests that highlighted Baycrest’s breakthroughs in care, research, education and innovation.

“I think our guests went home with a clearer picture of why Baycrest is a global leader in aging and brain health,” Sutton said.

Kimel said the event was a fun experience. “Baycrest is such a great cause and I’m happy to do whatever I can to help. I am so grateful to all the people who supported me and help me raise over $700,000.”

He said that he “started practising twice a week more than two months ago, then three days a week, then four, then five, until we were practising twice a day for the last two weeks.”

The fundraiser featured celebrity host, actress and comedian Andrea Martin.

The special guest judges were CityTV’s Breakfast Television co-host Dina Pugliese, actor and former National Ballet of Canada principal dancer Rex Harrington, and professional ballroom dancer, choreographer, actor and past judge on CTV’s So You Think You Can Dance, Jean Marc Genereux.

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