Bay Street takes one on the chin to help SickKids Hospital and Nazareth House

Bankers to hold sixth annual charity boxing event

TORONTO, Sept. 16 /CNW/ - A dozen of Bay Street's leading bankers and investors will step into the boxing ring to raise money for The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) ( Nazareth House, a home for at-risk women and infants. The 6th Annual Fight for Independence (FFI) boxing event and charity auction will be held at Steam Whistle Brewing ( on September 24th, 2009.

The event, which has raised more than $750,000 since its inception in 2004, was the brainchild of Bay Street traders, James Beattie, Jackie Walker and Tom Gajer. "Jackie, Tom and I were reflecting on Christmas and decided we needed to give more back to the community," says Mr. Beattie, head of institutional trading at CIBC. "We met Sister June Dwyer, who runs Nazareth House, and saw the lasting difference she was making in people's lives - but on a shoe-string budget. Before long, we knew we needed to find a way to raise money for the amazing work she and others were doing at the House."

After bouncing around a few ideas, Tom proposed a "celebrity" boxing match. "When I heard the idea I told the guys that I knew a lot of people who would pay to watch the two of them duke it out," remembers Ms. Walker, an institutional equity trader at RBC Capital Markets. "We raised enough money that year to give Nazareth House a badly needed new kitchen - and it has just grown from there."

"The event has been critical to our ability to help many women who are fleeing from domestic abuse, or who are recovering from mental health and substance abuse issues to help them learn to live independently, rejoin the workforce, and be caring mothers to their infants," says Sister Dwyer, Executive Director of Nazareth House. "Without the support from everyone involved in the FFI, we likely would have closed our doors years ago."

"When we first got involved in this, our goal was to do what we could to help others who were less fortunate or could use a helping hand," says Mr. Gajer, Head of Electronic and Program trading at RBC Capital Markets. "What we've all learned out of this is that we've benefitted as much, if not more, than those we set out to help. It has been an unbelievably rewarding experience to play a part in helping Sister June and her team do their magic at Nazareth House."

Like last year, this year's event has been expanded to raise funds for SickKids. "Cailey Heaps Estrin and her entire family have supported FFI and Nazareth House from the beginning," notes Mr. Beattie. "Last year, when Cailey indicated her family wanted to give back to SickKids, I suggested they team up with us on the FFI. With Steam Whistle donating its facility for the event, last year was our most successful ever, raising over $250,000 in much needed donations for the two organizations."

On the card for the 2009 FFI are four celebrity boxing matches with representatives from 11 different Bay Street firms and three Ontario Amateur boxing bouts. The event also includes a performance by Alana Bridgewater - the original "Killer Queen" from the hit Queen Musical "We Will Rock You" - and her band. Tickets are available by calling Pamela England at 416.424.4900 or on the Fight for Independence website -

    Nazareth House

Nazareth House is a registered charity (No. 13648 2635 RR0001) sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto with funding from the City of Toronto and private donations. It is an eight bedroom house in downtown Toronto, providing 24 hour/day safe, healthy and affordable housing to women and infants who are fleeing from domestic abuse, or who are recovering from mental health and substance abuse issues. Nazareth House is a non-denominational agency, responsive to women's diverse traditions and cultures and accepts self-referrals, along with referrals from hospitals, treatment centres, and social agencies. Learn more at:

    About SickKids Foundation

Established in 1972, SickKids Foundation is the fundraising organization for The Hospital for Sick Children - Canada's most research-intensive hospital and the largest centre dedicated to improving children's health in the country. The Foundation's fundraising is driven by the belief that improving the health and wellbeing of children is one of the most powerful ways to improve society.


For further information: For further information: Cailey Heaps Estrin at (416) 424-4900, or Kelly Steele at (416) 722-1452,

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