A Full House Rocked with Laughter Thanks to Chris Rock and Will Arnett with $2.5 million raised for Toronto East General Hospital


Laughter Is The Best Medicine II event brought out Toronto's Most Generous Guests to Celebrate End of $60-million Private Sector Capital Campaign

TORONTO, Sept. 28, 2014 /CNW/ - Last night, Toronto was treated to one of its most fun and funniest evenings of the year, as Chris Rock performed at Laughter Is The Best Medicine II—a comedy gala that raised $2.5 million in support of Toronto East General Hospital (TEGH.) With Will Arnett as Master of Ceremonies, over 1400 guests celebrated the completion of the hospital's $60-million private sector capital campaign at the sold-out affair, held at the Allstream Centre. 

Chris Rock—the multi-Emmy and Grammy award winner, critically acclaimed as one of the world's best comedians—had the crowd in stitches for more than an hour, with all-new material, prepared especially for TEGH's guests. The occasion marked the first time Rock had ever performed for a private event.

"It's a great cause. The hospital does a lot of amazing work. And I just wanted to be with the right people; and this just seemed like the right time," said Rock about why he chose to perform at the TEGH event.

Video footage of the event, including an exclusive interview with Chris Rock, can be downloaded at this link: http://cnw.pathfireondemand.com/viewpackage.action?packageid=827

Numerous notable names were out to support TEGH—one of North America's leading community hospitals setting a new standard in healthcare—at what was its second comedy gala. Arnett—who returned to the event as emcee, having done so in 2012 when Jerry Seinfeld was the headline performer—set off the fits of laughter with his opening remarks. 

"I'm very excited to be here. It's a good time to see all my family and familiar faces. This is such a great event," remarked Arnett, who took time out of his busy, multi-project schedule to return to his hometown to support TEGH, a hospital with strong connection to his family. He added, "I have family members who received care here, at Toronto East General, and my mom and dad are connected. My dad spent several years on the Board, fundraising at the hospital, so the connection runs deep."

Arnett also got the crowd very excited during the live auction as he spontaneously offered up the option to have dinner with him and his friend, Brendan Shanahan, President of Toronto Maple Leafs, who was among the "familiar faces" in attendance last night. 

Mario Joyner, a top comedian and TV star (he has opened for stars like Seinfeld, Leno, and regularly for Rock), hit all the right funny bones as the opening act, prior to the energetic live auction. 

Competitive bids were made for luxurious trip opportunities, including one from Exclusive Resorts; another to New York to see Letterman; one to London for theatre; plus Hawaii for luxury beach time; and, Paris to attend classes at Le Cordon Bleu. Add to that the tickets sold for a $25,000 cash-prize raffle, the BMO Financial Group presenting sponsorship, and a host of gold, silver and in-kind sponsors, there was strong engagement in many areas to contribute to the incredible fundraising success for TEGH.

"The $2.5-million raised at this gala was significant; it helped us close out the ambitious $60-million private sector campaign we started five years ago," said Michael Burns, Chairman of the hospital's Foundation Board. "This is all part of TEGH's $360-million capital redevelopment project, which will culminate with the opening of the innovative Ken and Marilyn Thomson Patient Care Centre."

"Rock, Arnett and Joyner kept us laughing all night long. What better way for Toronto to support such a great cause!" added Michael Geddes, the Gala Chair. "We are thrilled with the turnout we received for the event, which is without question one of the city's most unique fundraisers of the year."

Among those who were in attendance at TEGH's Laughter Is The Best Medicine II: event benefactors, Gareth and Monique Seltzer; Eric Tripp, Chairman of the TEGH Board, and President, BMO Capital Markets; Gala Chair Michael Geddes; Michael Burns, Chairman of the Board of Toronto East General Hospital Foundation; Rob Devitt, President & CEO, Toronto East General Hospital; the Thomson family; the Jackman Family; Toronto Maple Leafs' president Brendan Shanahan; Toronto Raptors' Jonas Valanciunas; Toronto Blue Jays' Adam Lind; Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair; Leonard Asper; Pinball Clemons; Richard and Rana Florida; Kim and Joe Mimran; and Singer/Songwriter Joseph Neale, a survivor of lung cancer thanks to life-saving thoracic surgery at TEGH, who also performed at the event.

Visit http://foundation.tegh.on.ca/gala/index.php for more details about the event.
Find Toronto East General Hospital on Facebook. Follow @EastGeneral

About Toronto East General Hospital:

Toronto East General Hospital (TEGH) is setting a new standard in patient-centred care. This award-winning, community teaching hospital serves the socially and economically diverse neighbourhoods of east Toronto. The hospital provides superb clinical treatment and is gaining acclaim in areas such the Centre of Excellence in Thoracic Surgery, the Robotic Technology and Teaching Program, and Child & Adolescent Mental Health.

About the TEGH Capital Redevelopment Campaign:
Toronto East General Hospital is in the midst of an ambitious Redevelopment Project. The focal point of this expansion is the new Ken and Marilyn Thomson Patient Care Centre, which will usher in a new era of leading-edge health care. Proceeds from Laughter is the Best Medicine II will support this new landmark health care facility, which will increase access to health care services for the more than half a million people throughout the GTA who rely on Toronto East General Hospital for health care excellence.

Through the commitment, generosity and vision of volunteers and donors — including 100 percent participation in the campaign by Toronto East General physicians — the TEGH Foundation is currently concluding a $60-million private-sector campaign to support this historic redevelopment.

Video with caption: "Video: Chris Rock boosts Toronto East General Hospital to $2.5 million fundraising success at Comedy Gala, with Will Arnett as emcee - BROLL". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20140928_C9743_VIDEO_EN_42903.mp4&posterurl=http://photos.newswire.ca/images/20140928_C9743_PHOTO_EN_42903.jpg&clientName=Toronto%20East%20General%20Hospital&caption=Video%3A%20%20Chris%20Rock%20boosts%20Toronto%20East%20General%20Hospital%20to%20%242%2E5%20million%20fundraising%20success%20at%20Comedy%20Gala%2C%20with%20Will%20Arnett%20as%20emcee%20%2D%20BROLL&title=TORONTO%20EAST%20GENERAL%20HOSPITAL%20%2D%20A%20Full%20House%20Rocked%20with%20Laughter%20Thanks%20to%20Chris%20Rock%20and%20Will%20Arnett%20with%20%242%2E5%20million%20raised%20for%20Toronto%20East%20General%20Hospital%20&headline=A%20Full%20House%20Rocked%20with%20Laughter%20Thanks%20to%20Chris%20Rock%20and%20Will%20Arnett%20with%20%242%2E5%20million%20raised%20for%20Toronto%20East%20General%20Hospital%20

Image with caption: "Comedian Chris Rock helped Toronto East General Hospital (TEGH) raise $2.5 million-Left to right: Michael Burns, Chairman of the Board, TEGH Foundation; Chris Rock; Teresa Vasilopoulos, President of TEGH Foundation; Michael Geddes, Gala Chair. (CNW Group/Toronto East General Hospital)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140928_C9743_PHOTO_EN_42900.jpg

Image with caption: "Headline Performer Chris Rock (left) with Will Arnett, Master of Ceremonies (right), at Laughter Is The Best Medicine II in support of Toronto East General Hospital, on Saturday, September 27, 2014. (CNW Group/Toronto East General Hospital)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140928_C9743_PHOTO_EN_42901.jpg

Image with caption: "Toronto East General Hospital's Laughter Is The Best Medicine II (CNW Group/Toronto East General Hospital)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140928_C9743_PHOTO_EN_42902.jpg

SOURCE: Toronto East General Hospital

For further information:

Candice Best, Best PR Boutique, 416.525.1332 | candice@bestprboutique.com

Justin Van Dette, Manager, Corporate & Community Relations, Toronto East General Hospital Foundation, 416.659.3870 | juvan@tegh.on.ca

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