Briefs News

Concordia unites to fight against poverty 

How has Concordia adapted this year’s Centraide campaign to the pandemic and inflation?

Centraide is currently running their annual fundraising campaign at Concordia. In the midst of inflation and the aftermath of the pandemic, they had to re-think their goals.

Centraide gathers funds and supports 350 community agencies working on diminishing poverty in Montreal. According to their website, 615 thousand people in Montreal live in poverty. Their focus is supporting the youth, helping people buy essentials, and building community bonds. 

Nadia Bhuiyan is a co-chair of the Centraide campaign this year. She is also the vice-provost of Partnerships and Experiential Learning at Concordia, as well as a professor of mechanical, industrial and aerospace engineering. 

Bhuiyan’s role entails planning events and activities to raise awareness and funds. She also works on campaigns to solicit donors and gather testimonials encouraging people to donate. 

While her work as campaign co-chair is different from her work as a professor, Bhuiyan’s “desire to help others, especially those who are less fortunate, has been a guiding force [her] entire life.” 

“Much of my focus is on how to help youth overcome challenges and find their own meaning of success,” she said, “so this area particularly drives me.”

This year, the Centraide campaign aimed to raise 205 thousand dollars — only five thousand more than last year — owing to inflation. 

“We didn’t raise it too high this year, knowing that everyone is experiencing a higher cost of life,” said Bhuiyan.

Maud Doualan, the senior director for the annual campaign at Centraide, oversees campaigns all over Montreal. 

“This year, the campaign is very important,” Doualan said. “Inflation is really hitting hard on people who were already struggling. And what the agencies are telling us is that they’re seeing people that they never used to see before.” 

“The main focus of this year’s campaign is to increase participation. “We’re really trying to reach out to people who give zero dollars. Those are the people we’re trying to target, to say: ‘You know what, if you want to be involved in your community and you want to make a difference, Centraide is a good place to start.’”

The agencies supported by Centraide also dealt with an increase in costs and a big staff turnover. 

“There’s a lot of expertise that is lost,” said Doualan. Centraide has always worked closely with the agencies they support, even more so during the pandemic.  “We’re also trying to be super agile with our funding, to make sure that we can adjust where we’re investing and make sure that we can support [the agencies].” 

Students are also encouraged to participate through volunteering programs. 

“Every donation makes a difference, so if they want to contribute something, I think that’s great as well,” said Doualan.


My experience at the 100 tours par amour fundraiser

I aimed at cycling past my limits at the 100 tours par amour cycling fundraiser held at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

The longer I spend sitting on my sofa writing this article, the less I feel like getting up. I feel intertwined with the fabric, slowly melting into it. With no energy left to spare, I look back on the events that happened on Saturday, Sept. 18. The opportunity to be a part of the fundraiser and the importance of raising awareness for food insecurity ultimately made strangers come together.

For Étienne Laprise and Gaspard Vié, organizers of the fundraiser 100 tours par amour, the day started at 5 a.m. at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The event did not have an official starting time for everyone else, so people were invited to come at their own convenience to show support or even participate in accomplishing their own personal milestone.

I only got into biking around two years ago, however I began to take it more seriously this summer. Usually, I would only do 30 to 40-kilometre days, but my goal was to test how far I could push myself.

My original objective was to accomplish 200 kilometres in a day. I figured that comparing my goal to both Laprise and Vié’s 436 kilometres was modest, especially for someone who just got into the sport. At 7:15 a.m., I arrived at the circuit and was ready for the challenge — or so I thought.

Upon arrival, the pure rush of adrenaline to begin the day was amazing. In unison, two lines of 20-plus bikers filled the lanes. I felt great throughout the first leg of my challenge, catching up with people I haven’t seen or spoken to since the pandemic. At the peak of the fundraiser, many people joined our convoy while others came in support for the cause. At one point there were well over 40 to 50 people biking all at once. With all the energy bouncing off of us, it felt exhilarating to participate in.

As each lap passed by, the encouragement from onlookers seeing what we were all accomplishing felt reassuring, especially when your thighs feel like they’ve been in a furnace for three hours. Zooming at speeds upwards of 43 kilometres per hour, the draft we created really helped, especially when facing the heavy wind or going uphill. The whole three-hour segment in the morning felt good. I had at that point completed 120 kilometres, and I felt that I could easily carry on to 200.

After our second break, I started to feel my legs get under me. I still felt that I could keep up, but I could tell I was losing strength at a slow pace. It was only 20 kilometres into our second leg when I felt something that I had never felt before. At the 140 mark my body crudely told me that I was out of energy.

With every hard push of my pedals attempting to stay with the convoy of bikes, the further I got. I officially couldn’t keep up with the rest of the group. I tried on a few occasions to latch onto the back of the convoy but to no avail. My legs had no more to give and I was exhausted beyond belief. I had 60 kilometres to complete to get to 200 and I was so dead-set on that number, if I had just left I would’ve kicked myself for not completing my goal.

Those last 60 kilometres were very tough, especially in a heavy caloric deficit, but I eventually got through to my goal at a slower pace. As for Laprise and Vié, they completed their 436 kilometres in under 13 hours, beating their time from last year.

My biggest regret is that I didn’t prepare properly, and I clearly underestimated the calories needed to complete bigger distances. This experience provided insight for how I should prepare for next year. 


Photograph by Gabriel Guindi


Cycling to End Hunger

Two friends bike 100 laps around Circuit Gilles Villeneuve to relieve food insecurity in Quebec

It’s 5 a.m. at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, known as “The Circuit” for short, on Aug. 22 2020.  While the sun has barely set and early morning dew is still floating on top of the grass, the sounds of spinning chains and gears shifting fill the air. Last year’s inaugural ride was not only a challenge, but also motivation to pursue it again.

While most are still asleep, university students Étienne Laprise and Gaspard Vié are about to accomplish what seems like the impossible: 100 laps around the circuit, totalling over 430 kilometres of biking in one day in a fundraiser they created called 100 tours par amour.

“I’m getting chills just talking about it,” said Laprise, one of the co-organizers of the fundraiser.

The fundraiser started by Vié is in support of people who have been affected by food insecurity from the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal is simple: the more money raised will mean more food on Quebecers’ tables this year.

Still in its infancy, the second annual fundraiser on Sept. 18 is hoping to not only surpass last year’s goal of supplying 21,000 meals to the less fortunate, but to also raise awareness regarding food security problems many people in the province have faced. According to Les Banques alimentaires du Québec more than 500,000 people suffer from hunger in Quebec each month. Each dollar raised from the fundraiser supplies three meals to people in need.

Last year, Vié stumbled on a fundraiser that partnered with Les Banques alimentaires du Québec to supply meals to Quebecers. After doing his own research, he realized that something had to be done to provide more food assistance to people in their time of need. 

“I realized that there was a big demand from food banks,” Vié said. “Why not try and do something good for people who are struggling through the pandemic.”

Vié also saw this crisis as an opportunity to provide assistance to the food bank shortage.

“If people aren’t properly nourished, it’s easier for people to develop diseases and other illnesses. Without it you cannot properly succeed. You start off with the primary necessity for all people to succeed, and the primary necessity is to be able to get fed and to have water,” Vié said.

This isn’t the first serious physical challenge for the duo, considering they’ve competed in other physically demanding sports since high school. From skiing at tremendous speeds, to completing an Ironman at 18 years old, one thing was clear: for both Laprise and Vié, this endeavor differed from all others. 

“We like to push ourselves together,” Laprise said. “The challenge is great, but with COVID going on it was a no-brainer to accomplish this for a good cause.”   

Though the distance is quite a feat to cover in a single day, both Vié and Laprise have found that last year’s success was attributed to the support from people around them.

“It’s hard on the legs, I won’t deny that. But with people’s support it makes things easier,” Vié said. 

From last year’s experience the beginning is exciting, however when fatigue sets in at the halfway mark it becomes a mental game, according to Laprise. 

“At some point you lose count, your body gets tired and you’re just going to follow the kilometers on your speedometer,” Laprise said.  

Though most would find biking for 13 hours daunting, Vié knew he couldn’t accomplish this alone. That’s when Vié called Laprise to invite him on this journey, and Laprise was on board from the beginning.

“He called me and asked if I wanted to get in. We love doing those challenges,” Laprise said. 

With the workload of being full-time students and having jobs, things were a bit harder to manage. However, for Vié and Laprise not only staying organized is key, but their passion for the cause motivated them to pursue this fundraiser into their second year.

“At the beginning I had no idea what I was doing, I was diving into the unknown,” Vié said. “It’s hours I don’t count because I’m passionate about the project that I’m doing.” 

In their second year, they have acquired more prominent sponsors who have donated money to the fundraiser and have upped last year’s goal of $3,000 to $10,000. If achieved, their goal would provide 30,000 meals to those most impacted from COVID-19. 

“We doubled our goal last year and made a total of $7,000. I’m looking forward to seeing if we can get to this goal,” Vié said. 

Les Banques alimentaire du Québec claims that 1.9 million food assistance requests are made monthly to their food banks as of 2019. Since the beginning of COVID-19, that number has increased by 30 per cent. 

As for the future, Vié plans to have more people on board to further grow the fundraiser. 

“I would love to get to a point where I can invite more people to come and bike for the cause,” Vié said. “We’re currently still at the regional level, but as for a long-term plan, I would love to grow les 100 tours par amours into a known provincial fundraiser to spread the message.”


Photograph by Samuel Lemieux


Collective 4891 launches their inaugural zine

Making art accessible and inclusive for all

Founded by Concordia Communications students Hannah Jamet-Lange and Shin Ling Low, Collective 4891 aims to foster a safe space for artists to create, regardless of their artistic medium.

“Our goal was always to create a safe space for people to share their art in,” said Jamet-Lange, adding that they wanted to make room for people who perhaps didn’t yet have the confidence to sign up for open-mics or more professional performance settings. “We felt like everyone was doing so many cool things, so many cool art projects, and we really wanted to see it in a context outside of school.”

The group initially organized art events in Jamet-Lange’s apartment. In fact, the collective is named after their old apartment number. In order to provide a platform for emerging artists to expand their practice and experience, the collective often took photos and videos, giving the creators a chance to add to their portfolio. However, despite being titled a collective, the team only consists of Jamet-Lange and Low, both of whom do everything from hosting the events to assembling their zines.

“We would love to make the collective a more literal sense of ‘collective,’” said Low, adding that they are interested in expanding their team in order to continue producing and hosting community projects and events.

“During [the open-mics] people would oftentimes build confidence during the event, after hearing other people perform and then decide on the spot ‘Hey, I’m going to perform something after all,’” said Jamet-Lange. “If people have the confidence and want to perform something they should have the availability to be able to do so.”

However, when the pandemic hit, they had to restructure the format in which their events were delivered, all while staying in line with their mandate of making art accessible to all.

Therefore, they decided to start a zine. The Community Care Edition of the Collective 4891 Zine features the work of over 20 creatives. In addition to serving as an art project to showcase the work of emerging artists, the zine also doubles as a fundraiser for Black Lives Matter.

How so? In order to obtain a copy of the zine, those interested are encouraged to make a donation to the cause of their choice — going local is highly encouraged — and submit proof of their donation. In return, those interested will receive their order by mail.

The zine features everything from paintings to poetry, giving people a chance to display what would have otherwise been placed on a wall or performed at one of the collective’s open-mics.

To accompany the launch of their inaugural zine, the collective will be hosting a virtual artmaking event and launch at the end of April. Here, artists who contributed to the zine will be able to share their work, in an effort to allow people to connect with the art and artists who contributed.

For more information about Collective 4891 and their upcoming launch event, follow them on Instagram or Facebook. Those interested in receiving more details on obtaining a copy of the zine or donating to a cause, visit this website.


Photos by Matilda Cerone.


Concordians share their experience of participating in the JMoSB fundraiser

JMoSB comes to an end with over $28,000 raised

For JMoSB’s Movember fundraiser, all its members chose their own way to raise money and spread awareness for men’s health, particularly mental health.

Some members of the John Molson School of Business Movember team, a subsidiary of CASA Cares, sold pins, some found sponsors and prizes for raffles and competitions, and others did push-ups. But they all had the same goal: raising funds for the John Molson School of Business Movember fundraiser.

Sally Vu, the co-director of external relations for JMoSB, is majoring in Human Resource Management. Her mental health awareness project consisted of sharing video journals of 22 different men, each talking about their experience with and opinion on men’s mental health.

Jason Lobasso, a third-year finance student at JMSB, contributed to Vu’s video journals. He said that men’s mental health should be a subject that’s more talked about.

“I think it’s great that we, as a society, are collectively engaging in conversation about it more and more as time passes,” he said. “No one should ever be ashamed to open up and speak up on what’s on their minds. We should be prioritizing dialogue as much as we can.”

Vu received many donations with the help of her campaign, but since she wanted to do more, she decided to collaborate with Mary Colombo, the owner of a small Montreal-based online business, @artxfeels. Colombo sells customized accessories through her Instagram account. She graduated from Concordia in 2018 and has previously participated in another fundraising initiative.

“A couple months ago, I decided I wanted to raise money for the MUHC [McGill University Health Centre] foundation,” Colombo said. “So, I designed Ça va bien aller pins, and 100 per cent of the profits went to the foundation.”

Colombo said that when Vu asked her to collaborate, she was more than happy. She made mustache pins and sold each pin for $5, with all profits going to the fundraiser.

Karim Hatem, co-director of external relations, is in charge of media presence, as well as finding sponsors to provide prizes related to mental health care or self-care in general, including spa packages from Bota Bota. Hatem is in his second year at JMSB, doing a double major in Marketing and Human Resource Management. He will be posting a video of him doing push-ups, depending on how much money he raises.

“If I raise $100, then I’ll do 100 push-ups,” he said.

Neil Kafidi, vice president (VP) of external for JMoSB, is majoring in International Business with a minor in Finance. His role also consists of finding sponsors and prizes for different competitions and raffles, similar to Hatem’s role. To do that, Kafidi gets in touch with companies and asks them for monetary or material donations, which would be used for the raffles.

He received a $1,000 donation from Imperial Tobacco, and many products from Pharmaprix, including a laptop, a tablet, and a camera.

Most members joined the Movember team because they wanted to help raise awareness and funds for an important cause, but they also have more personal reasons for why they decided to apply.

“It’s a bit more personal for me,” Hatem said. “A friend of mine has mental health issues, so I wanted to help raise awareness, and that’s why I joined and decided to focus more on the mental health aspect of Movember,” he added, referring to the self-care prizes he acquired for the competitions.

For Kafidi, joining JMoSB was just about giving back.

“I feel like when you’re lucky enough to be in a good situation and when you can help, it’s always important to help because not everyone has the same luck,” he said. “And I believe in good karma too. If you do something good, then something good is always going to come back to you.”

He also explained that he initially applied for the VP internal position, which consists of communicating with the team and organizing their meetings. However, he was offered the VP external position, which allowed him to talk to more people, including possible sponsors. He said he was happy to take on a more challenging position.

“I got to discover a new way to get out of my comfort zone,” Kafidi concluded.

“For me, the most important part is mental health,” Vu said. “The more I reached out to people during the pandemic, the more I realized we’re going through a lot, everyone individually. That’s why I wanted to do this campaign, to share everyone’s stories.”

Colombo loved Vu’s idea of sharing testimonies of men.

“I feel like I’ve never seen that being done,” she said. “And I think that in regards to men’s health, it’s something that’s often overlooked, and because of that, I feel like they were extremely strong for talking about it on social media.”

All the members learned something different from their experience fundraising for men’s mental health.

“I learned a lot about myself, about the cause and about how people really feel,” Vu concluded. “It’s a great initiative and I plan on reapplying next year.”

“I think I’d like to participate next year too, but maybe have another position, to see things from a different angle and learn new things,” Hatem concluded.


Logo courtesy of John Molson School of Business Movember team


Fundraisers are moving online as the pandemic causes safety concerns

Charities are moving their events online, but some experts wonder if this will be enough to keep donations up

Every October the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada hosts a walk in Montreal to raise money and awareness for blood cancer. It usually takes place in Parc Jean-Drapeau.

But this year, the park will be quiet.

On Oct. 24, like many other fundraisers during the pandemic, the event will be hosted online because of COVID-19.

Aptly called Light the Night, the walk is usually recognizable by the lanterns carried by its participants. Christina Cinquanta, the fund development manager for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada, Quebec region, said 7,000 walkers attended the event last year.

“Light the Night is one of the biggest fundraisers and celebrations that the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society hosts,” said Cinquanta. “But this year we determined that a virtual Light the Night is the most appropriate and responsible thing to do.”

The organizers of Light the Night are now making the event available online in the form of a nation-wide broadcast on Oct. 24. Organizers are also adapting formerly in-person activities to things that can be done remotely.

For example, they will be mailing treat boxes and lanterns directly to the teams of volunteers who helped fundraise for the event.

Cinquanta said that Light the Night Montreal alone raised $1.4 million for the organization in 2019. This year the Society lowered their goal to one million dollars.  She is optimistic that they will meet their goal.

“We have teams fundraising every day,” she said. “They’re doing bingo nights, poker tournaments, raffles — all virtually. They’re doing everything they can.”

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s move to online raises questions about how the charitable sector is adapting to the pandemic more generally.

Many Montreal and Quebec charities have either postponed their events, converted them to online, or cancelled altogether. This scenario has some experts questioning the sector’s dependence on events as fundraising tools.

It is difficult to say how donors have responded to organizations’ efforts so far.

A recent survey by the Institut Mallet suggests that Quebec residents have made more monetary donations during the pandemic than previously. However, 69 per cent of charities reported declines in revenues nation-wide, according to a recent report by Imagine Canada.

Daniel Lanteigne, a philanthropy consultant at BNP Performance, has been advocating for charities to start moving away from events and building alternate relationships with donors.

“We have been saying for many years: less events, more discussion with donors,” he said. “So you can get them to a point where they might give a major gift or a planned gift.”

Greg Thomson is the Research Director at Charity Intelligence.

“Some of these events are very expensive,” he said.

“When donors give $100 to someone who is walking or running, they are really only giving $50 or $40 dollars. The rest is going to covering the costs.”

Thomson hopes that charities’ online experiments will lead to long-term innovation in the sector, particularly in the form of reducing event costs.

In the future he hopes that charities will use lessons learned from the pandemic to bolster their other fundraising methods or re-configure their events to maximize the benefit-to-cost ratio.

“From the difficulties we have, innovation sparks improvement for a lot of these big events,” Thomson said.


Photo courtesy of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.


WATCH: The Haitian Students’ Association charity thrift shop

WATCH: The Haitian Students’ Association took over the Webster library with a charity thrift shop in support of a school in Haiti on Feb. 19

Read the full article here.



Haitian Students’ Association of Concordia hosts thrift shop on campus

The Haitian Students’ Association of Concordia (HSAC) held a thrift shop event in the atrium of Concordia University’s Webster Library on Feb. 19.

HSAC members sold donated clothes to Concordia students and raised almost $600 for the Institution Mixte les Frères Nau de Bayonnais, a school in Gonaïve, Haiti, where Concordia students teach STEM classes every summer with student organization Katalis.

“We collected clothes and we’re reselling them at really affordable prices so that people can find something nice and wear it,” said Harvin Hilaire, president of HSAC, “but at the same time we’re using the money to help a good cause in Haiti.”

As students around him browsed through the racks and stacks of donated clothes, Hilaire explained that HSAC’s goal is to represent Concordia’s Haitian students and to provide a space where they can get together to talk.

He explained that HSAC regularly organizes events where Haitian students can meet, such as documentary screenings and icebreaker evenings. Hilaire also said the thrift shop event was part of HSAC’s push to go beyond Concordia and Montreal by helping people in Haiti as well.

“We’re in a university where there’s a lot of diversity, so sometimes people can get lost in it,” Hilaire said. “We have our office, suite K-202 at 2150 Bishop St., and we have get-togethers where people can come and talk. We make it homey for them.”

The student group was officialized in 2018 with the help of former HSAC president Andrew Denis after a 10-year hiatus.

“When I joined as VP External last year, I realized the organization had just started and it was really small, so it really became a mission of trying to get as many people to join the Concordian Haitian community,” Hilaire said.

The event was also an opportunity for members of the association to get signatures for a petition attempting to reinstate a Haitian history class that was removed from Concordia’s course calendar. Many of the students who attended the thrift shop added their names to the petition, which now has 100 signatures.

“We’re trying to show the university that we have a body of students who are interested in taking this class,” said Denis, who was helping at the event. “We want it to be re-added into the system and we want it to be taught by a person of colour or a Haitian individual.”

Hilaire said that HSAC is organizing four more events before the end of the year, including the Paint and Sip event, a collaboration between several black student associations at Concordia, which took place on Feb. 21.

“After that, we will be having our traditional Haitian drum event, called Tam Tam in Creole,” Hilaire said. He also mentioned there will be an exclusive, invite-only event to look out for, as well as HSAC elections before the end of the year.

Hilaire said that HSAC is also working on obtaining a scholarship for Haitian students at Concordia, but that it is still in early stages.


Photos by Clara Gepner


Bahay celebrates Filipino futures

“Bahayathon” flaunted hip-hop talents at The Blue Dog Motel

As the Filipino-Canadian Futures conference was rescheduled for the following day due to the climate march —Montreal artists affiliated and apart of Bahay took the stage in celebration of the conference Sept. 27.

Bahay means “home” in Tagalog, the official language of the Philippines. The local organization offers “a home away from home” for creatives and promotes the diversity of Asian representation in music.  

Their pink house logo glowed above the stage where artists Lolo Boy, Waterboii, Yenny, Bea di Vinci, Eezahyah, Gxlden Child, and DJ sixM0nths played the cramped venue.

Behind the DJ booth Coolchels, engulfed the show-bar with her song arrangements. While Coolchels was hard at work, people struggled for space along the narrow dance floor. Soon enough, a heat wave overwhelmed the heavy atmosphere, throbbing in the various beats.

Lolo Boy, a local Haitian artist, was first to perform with his so-called brother. Side-by-side they carried the crowd through dance tracks and Lolo Boy’s auto-tuned vocals. The venue grew humid by the time he performed “Toxic,” which had a toned-down vibe compared to the other tracks. The lyrics in “Toxic” spoke of a toxic relationship. Hands swayed the air to the slowed R&B track.

Before Filipina-American rapper Bea di Vinci seized the stage with her lyrical flow, Waterboii showcased his Vietnamese hip-hop fusion “Du Ma Mai” and “Blue Eyes // White Dragon.” His rap style had a sinister quality to it. As he spoke from a personal place, he bellied his frustrations as an Asian up-and-coming rapper. The crowd jumped to the haunting tone of his voice.

“Go with the flow, but affect the flow,” said Waterboii about finding his space in the hip-hop music world.

As “Bahayathon” continued through the morning, The Blue Dog Motel was a space for both Asian and non-Asian local artists to show off their music and styles. Artists from other cultures were encouraged to perform as well. Bahay, as an ongoing roster, has become “a home for everyone” who is apart of the different Montreal diasporas.

“It is a passion project,” said Waterboii, co-founder and president of Bahay.

“South-East Asian people are often underrepresented in the whole Asian umbrella, South-Asian people too,” said Waterboii. “That’s something we’re going to try to improve.”

As a producer and rapper, Chuong Trinh who is known artistically as Waterboii, began Bahay with Coolchels.

“It’s a lot of mentoring, it’s a slow process –you can’t ask for more, I am so blessed to have these people doing volunteer work,” said Waterboii.

Amita Biona, who is part of the collective’s external affairs team, explained that they began operating independently.

“Our main demographic that we’re trying to bring in is from the universities,” stated Biona. “But the big thing we want to do is kind of connect the university people to the greater Montreal area.”

While Bahay started as a series of fundraising concerts that targeted South-Asian and South-East Asian artists, it is building and reaching a broader community of creatives everyday. 


Photo by Adela Kwok


A night of painting and prevention

Concordia alumna and student host fundraiser in support of Ovarian Cancer Canada

Concordia alumna Veronica Tamburro’s life was turned upside down when she discovered her grandmother had been diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer.

“I was very close with her, so it was something that affected me greatly,” Tamburro said. Her grandmother suffered through the disease for five years before she eventually passed away from complications six years ago.

Tamburro and her mother have since dedicated countless hours to Ovarian Cancer Canada, an organization that provides support to those facing diagnosis, as well as their family members. For years, Tamburro has played a central role in the organizing committee for the annual Montreal Walk of Hope, raising awareness about the disease and fundraising to finance ovarian cancer research. Walk of Hope is Ovarian Cancer Canada’s main awareness-raising, fundraising event in the city.

This year, Tamburro has taken her involvement as a volunteer to a new level by collaborating with Paint Nite and Ovarian Cancer Canada to organize “Let’s Get Loud! Paint Nite Edition,” an event where a local artist will guide guests through two hours of painting, socializing, food and raffles at Concordia.

“Veronica came to me and said she wanted to do something beyond the Walk of Hope to really bring the community together and raise awareness,” said Jennifer Laliberté, Ovarian Cancer Canada’s regional director for Quebec. “It’s really been her and Athena Sita. That’s what makes this community so amazing. There are people like Veronica and Athena who give us their time and energy to support the cause. They’ve been amazing.”

From left, organizers Athena Sita and Veronica Tamburro are raising awareness and funds for Ovarian Cancer Canada. Photo by Alex Hutchins

Tamburro said Athena Sita, a current Concordia student, has been her partner-in-crime throughout the entire creation and organization process of the event. Both women are artistic, driven and passionate about volunteering, so she said hosting a Paint Nite event to support Ovarian Cancer Canada with Sita seemed like the best opportunity to express their artistic side and attract more attention to the fundraiser.

“We’ve known each other for a long time,” Sita said. “We actually met in our English class in CEGEP about seven years ago. We’ve been close since then.”

Tamburro approached Sita with the idea in October and the two have worked comfortably together ever since.

“It’s been very smooth-sailing. We communicate all the time, and whenever one of us can’t do something, the other one pulls through. It’s like dating,” Tamburro said with a laugh. “Communication is key.”

Hosting an event to support Ovarian Cancer Canada is extremely important to both Tamburro and Sita, not only because of the loss of Tamburro’s grandmother, but because of the nature of the disease itself.

“A lot of emphasis is put on breast cancer. Ovarian cancer is the ‘other’ women’s disease,” Tamburro explained. “It’s lesser known, but it’s just as important. If you’re a woman, if you have ovaries, if you’re a feminist, it’s something you should care about.”

Sita agreed, stressing the importance of self-education on the topic. “I didn’t know anything about ovarian cancer until Veronica started mentioning it. So, I said, ‘Maybe I should start doing research on how I can get myself checked out.’ This fundraiser is a great way for people to learn more about the disease,” Sita said.

According to Ovarian Cancer Canada, the disease is one of the deadliest forms of cancer. With a mortality rate of 56 per cent, more than half the people who are diagnosed with it die within five years. In Canada alone, approximately 2,800 women are diagnosed every year.

“A lot of the symptoms people with ovarian cancer can have can also be associated with regular menstrual symptoms, such as abdominal and pelvic cramps, back pain, muscle aches, fluctuation in appetite,” Tamburro explained. “This is why many people only find out at a late stage when the cancer has already progressed significantly.”

Laliberté expressed how surprising it is that we hear so little about ovarian cancer given how difficult it is to manage. She said one of the reasons the disease is so deadly is because there is a lot we still don’t understand about it, which is why Ovarian Cancer Canada is working to increase the amount of money they donate to ovarian cancer research—so people can understand it better, catch it earlier and seek better treatments.

Laliberté will be at the Paint Nite event herself, giving out information about the disease, such as how to recognize the signs and symptoms and how to evaluate and understand your own risk factors. She will also be providing information about Ovarian Cancer Canada, what they do and how people can get involved.

The event will take place in the G-Lounge at Concordia’s Loyola campus at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 19. Although the Paint Nite tickets are sold out, those interested will be able to purchase a ticket for $20 at the door, allowing them to participate in the raffle and enjoy food, non-alcoholic drinks and a DJ. Half of the ticket proceeds will be donated to Ovarian Cancer Canada along with all revenue from the raffle and food sales.

“It’s as if there will be two events in one. There will be an area where Paint Nite is happening, and a lounge area at the back where we’ll have a DJ,” Tamburro said.

To those who cannot attend the event, Tamburro said doing research and donating goes a long way. She and Sita said they are both very excited to be doing some good for the organization.

“It is something that is so meaningful to [Veronica] and so important her family,” Laliberté said. “She wanted to share that.”

Photos by Alex Hutchins


Facilitating a better future through film

Montreal screening of renowned Lebanese filmmaker’s flick to benefit children’s charities

All profits from the Montreal premiere of Franco-Lebanese director Philippe Aractingi’s Listen will go towards four Lebanese non-governmental organizations. The screening, at 7 p.m. on Oct. 1 at Guzzo’s Sphèrteque in St-Laurent, is part of the series Rendez-vous du Cinéma Libanais à Montréal put on by Liban-Canada Fonds (LCF).

Founded in 2000, LCF is a Montreal-based, volunteer-run organization that raises funds for Lebanese charities. Its proceeds go to NGOs such as Sesobel, which provides social services for children with disability; the Institut de Reeducation Audio-Phonetique (IRAP) which helps deaf children; and the Lebanese Child Home Association (AFEL) which advocates for abused children. In 2004, the Société St-Vincent de Paul, which helps underprivileged families, became the fourth NGO in the LCF family.

The Rendez-vous du Cinéma Libanais à Montréal series is a continuation of the LCF’s five-day Lebanese film festival organized last May. Listen (Esmaii in Arabic) tells the story of Joud, a sound engineer who enjoys recording wild, natural sounds. He falls in love with Rana, a beautiful, free-spirited woman from a different social class, but her parents forbid Joud from seeing her. This is when he begins sending Rana sound bites of his voice, and tells her to listen to them.

“It is a movie that must be heard, not just watched. It is a film about noise as much as it is about silence,” Aractingi said. A self-made filmmaker from a country where cinematic studies isn’t a career option, Aractingi is mostly known for a trilogy about Lebanon’s civil war.

Ideally, all of the profits from the LCF’s events are split equally between the organizations they work with to directly help children in need. The more money they raise, the more children they can sponsor, Abdul-Massih said. The treatment and care for a child provided by Sesobel, for example, costs about $1,200 USD a year, including doctor and therapist consultations.

Abdul-Massih said LCF’s events are a great way for Montreal’s Lebanese community to gather and unite in support of a great cause. Whether it’s through a cultural event, such as a movie screening, or a simple gathering, like the LCF’s annual brunch fundraiser, showing up to these events is a community effort, Abdul-Massih said.

According to Aractingi, Listen is set “in the war-ridden country of Lebanon in the midst of a socio-political turmoil, where the only form of resistance, the only form of survival is love.”

On a recent trip to Lebanon, Abdul-Massih said she experienced that same intense love—the volunteers and employees of the four organizations there seemed to emit love in every way possible. The love was so intense that she said she felt she was leaving a sort of paradise when she returned to Montreal.

According to Abdul-Massih, the work of these organizations has helped reduce the stigma faced by children in Lebanon born with disabilities. These organizations’ accommodations have helped change the Lebanese mentality regarding disabled people, she said. So what better way to continue making a change for the better than by enjoying a movie with a down-to-earth story produced by one of the most famous Lebanese filmmakers of our time?

Tickets to the screening are $25. All the proceeds from the event—except for the renting cost—will be donated to the four LCF-funded organizations. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 514-241-9858 or visit the foundation’s Facebook page.


Stingers Shoot for the Cure at ConU

Varsity teams take part in the annual CIS fundraiser against McGill throughout the weekend

Throughout this past weekend, the Stingers varsity teams took part in the annual Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Shoot for the Cure fundraiser, which raised over $138,000 last year, towards breast cancer research.

The idea of raising money for breast cancer at the collegiate level was originally introduced by Bishop’s coach Rod Gilpin, who at the time, was the head coach of the Gaiters’ women’s basketball team. The initiative has spread around Canada and for the fourth year in a row all 47 CIS schools that have women basketball teams have joined the cause.

“We got other teams involved this year, [including] men’s and women’s hockey. It is also a great way to bring people together for a great cause,” said Keith Pruden, the head coach of Concordia’s women’s basketball team.

Many of the athletes found ways to show their support in unique ways. While some of the hockey players tapped their sticks in pink tape, other basketball players wore pink undershirts to symbolize the fundraiser.

“They are happy to participate and the event is something they have to factor into preparation for these games. It’s not a distraction, it is something worthwhile that we agree to do as a whole,” said Pruden.

John Dore, the head coach of Concordia’s men’s basketball team, was proud of the school’s contributions and reminded his players that these kind of fundraisers affect everyone.

“Breast cancer is not just for women but also for men too. We want our guys to give back to society and to be socially aware.”

After his game, Stingers forward and captain of Concordia’s men’s basketball team, Mike Fosu, hoped that those in attendance took notice and contributed towards the cause.

“It’s a good thing and it raises awareness for breast cancer,” he said. “Maybe people did not know why we wearing the pink shirts today.”

During other games, the men’s and women’s basketball teams were walking around the stands with buckets, collecting any and all donations.

There was a different atmosphere throughout the athletic facilities this weekend, a type of energy that brings everyone together.

Exit mobile version