18th Transforming Lives Awards event honours those living with mental illness - and raises more than $2 million for CAMH programs
TORONTO, June 7, 2012 /CNW/ - A surprise $1 million gift announced last night by Sandi Treliving and her husband, Boston Pizza entrepreneur and Dragons' Den star, Jim Treliving, capped a spectacular event with more than 800 guests onsite at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, celebrating the 18th Transforming Lives Awards.
The awards, co-chaired by broadcaster Valerie Pringle and Chair of the Canadian Mental Health Commission, Dr. David Goldbloom, recognized five inspiring individuals (see below) whose personal experiences overcoming the challenges of mental illness give hope to others in need. In addition, Bell Canada was the recipient of the inaugural Harry & Shirley Young Corporate Award.
Going into the evening, sponsors and table sales had raised just shy of $1 million for the event, proceeds of which support the full range of treatment, education and research programs at CAMH. Building on the long-time support of founding sponsor BMO Financial Group and Presenting Sponsor RBC Capital Markets, Roche Canada quietly pledged a $40,000 gift that took the event to the million-dollar mark for the first time in its history. Other donors were equally keen to help CAMH reach that goal.
Then, a second surprise gift announcement - a spectacular $1 million pledge - by Jim and Sandi Treliving, who served on the selection committee for last night's awards, brought the crowd to its feet. In total, more than $2 million was raised.
For the Trelivings, their gift is a chance to support an area of health care that has long been overshadowed.
"Jim and I are so proud to be a part of this family at CAMH," Sandi Treliving said. "Serving on the Transforming Lives Award selection committee this past winter was such an eye-opening experience. Having personally witnessed the strength it takes for people and families to overcome incredible challenges, it is absolutely awe-inspiring. Our gift is our way of honouring their stories."
CAMH is developing the world's first psychiatric hospital fully integrated into its surrounding community. Three new buildings in the ongoing redevelopment project will open on June 21 - and planning for the next phase of redevelopment is well under way.
The 2012 Transforming Lives Award recipients honoured last night are:
Bell Canada, which received the inaugural Harry & Shirley Young Corporate Award in recognition of their outstanding corporate leadership and commitment to mental health.
John Bentley Mays, an award-winning critic, author and teacher, he is one of Canada's most influential voices on contemporary architecture and visual art. Currently a columnist with the Globe and Mail, John Bentley Mays has battled serious depression throughout his accomplished career.
Juliana Catalano has struggled with her emotions since childhood. Twice hospitalized for the treatment of bipolar disorder, drug use and long-term self-harming behaviours, Juliana, now age 21, uses her experiences to create powerful art and help others as a volunteer with CAMH's Women's Program.
Kevin Conlon had a happy family, a nice home and a rewarding career on Bay Street until he lost it all to gambling addiction - a problem that an estimated 360,000 Ontarians face. Hard work and the support of CAMH's Problem Gambling Program helped Kevin rebuild his life.
Christine McFarlane spent her childhood and adolescence in foster care, battling eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from childhood abuse and abandonment. After years spent rebuilding her life, Christine is now a celebrated journalist, advocate and role model for First Nations youth.
Ravi Sarin experienced the first signs of schizophrenia at age 16. Then came the drinking, the drugs and dropping out of school. Thankfully, he found treatment, at CAMH and in the United States. Today he is healthy and helping others as a Peer Support Worker at a community hospital in Toronto.
For CAMH Foundation President & CEO Darrell Louise Gregersen the individual awardees - and the combined $2 million support of Transforming Lives Award sponsors, attendees and outstanding donors like the Trelivings - makes a very public statement about mental health.
"These individuals and their support send such a powerful message to everyone touched by mental illness," said Ms. Gregersen. "It says, 'We are with you and we want to tell the world.' To Jim and Sandi, we couldn't be more grateful for this bold statement. And for our Award recipients last night, their stories of perseverance and hope are so inspiring. They truly demonstrate that mental illness can be defeated."
About CAMH and CAMH Foundation
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world's leading research centres in its field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental health and addiction issues. CAMH Foundation raises funds to support CAMH's excellent patient care, insightful research and innovative programs to better understand, treat and prevent mental illness and addiction. For more information, visit www.supportcamh.ca.
For further information:
Denise Koulis, CAMH Foundation, 647.999.5986 or [email protected].