The Gift of Giving: From One Canadian to the Rest

John McDermott at Score: A Hockey Musical Premiere during the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival

By Charlotte Bumstead
‘Tis the season to be benevolent; and Scottish-Canadian tenor John McDermott is setting the example. For the last 15 years, McDermott has been a memorable visitor of Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital, where he has directed an annual Christmas show for resident veterans. This year, he has something else in mind. His foundation, McDermott House Canada, begins its first Canadian project today—renovating and enhancing the hospital’s palliative care wing. The venture is inspired by those dear to him; his sister Alice was in palliative care before she died of cancer in 2000, and the mother of a close friend was also in palliative care before passing away this year.

McDermott’s expansion plans will insert eight new rooms, providing a total of 32 rooms in the unit. There will be enhanced privacy options, as well as new furniture added to each room—such as an extra bed for family members who wish to stay overnight. He also takes full advantage of the latest social technologies, like Skype, which will allow patients to see and speak to family members around the world.

McDermott received recognition for his contribution to the care and well-being of veterans in November, as he was awarded the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation. Now on tour, McDermott will be performing at the Koerner Hall in Toronto on Dec. 18. Some of the proceeds from his 2009 CD Journey will go toward the palliative care wing.

He hopes efforts at Sunnybrook will influence the rest of the country. There are endless opportunities for Canadians to lend a hand through fundraising events across the provinces.

Toronto holds the Power of Movement for Arthritis Research on Feb. 27, 2011. The event takes place in the form of the world’s largest yoga challenge, in which thousands of Canadians are welcomed to participate. Also in Toronto, on Mar. 03, 2011, the Trillium Health Centre presents Disco Fever; an annual cocktail party in support of Seniors Health and Wellness.

If you’re in Vancouver , be sure to catch the Festival of Trees event running now until January. You can cast a ballot for your favourite tree and support the B.C. Children’s Hospital. Beginning in Vancouver on Jun. 18, 2011 is The Ride to Conquer Cancer; a two day bike ride from Vancouver to Seattle.

Those living in and around Calgary can become a member of the Spring Sprint Fundraising Event planning committee. It takes place Jun. 12, 2011 and raises money for the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.

If you will be celebrating the holidays in Winnipeg , you can Lite Up a Life this Christmas, by donating to the Brummitt- Feasby ALS House for those living with ALS/ Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Also be sure to attend the fundraising dinner for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The event is called A Starry Starry Night Gala Dinner and it is held on Apr. 30, 2011.

Visit any of the links listed by city, and check out options for initiating your own fundraiser for a charity of choice and collecting donations online.