In 2002, recognizing the rich diversity of the community and the value that each culture places on good health, community roundtable meetings were initiated to engage and encourage support of Trillium Health Centre Foundation and Trillium Health Centre.*
The South Asian community proposed a partnership with the Foundation to host a Diwali fundraiser in celebration of the annual Festival of Lights, a major festival for South Asians. The first Diwali gala attracted 600 guests and raised over $108,000.
Eleven years later, Trillium Diwali has raised more than $5 million for critical projects at the hospital, such as the OM Fracture Clinic, which serves over 23,000 patients per year.
Trillium Diwali is the largest and original celebration of its kind in Canada. The event showcases the diverse catchment area surrounding the hospital and highlights the amazing commitment the community has to the Foundation and the hospital.
On Friday, October 19, Trillium Diwali celebrated its 11th anniversary and raised $800,000 for the major revitalization of Trillium’s Endoscopy Suites. Here, patients receive life-saving cancer screening, diagnosis and specialized treatment for conditions like colon cancer and diseases of the digestive and respiratory tracts.
“As we celebrate Diwali, a time to give thanks and gratitude, we should all give back to our community’s healthcare,” says Rupi Tandon, Community Chair, Trillium Diwali 2012. “Trillium is our hospital – it holds a special place in our hearts. Our Trillium Diwali supporters are helping us reach our $2 million Endoscopy goal, providing thousands of community members with advanced detection and treatment in our life-saving Endoscopy Suites.”
The important message behind the gala is the faces of healthcare at the hospital – the people who are impacted by the generosity of the event’s participants. Each year, 13,000 endoscopy procedures are performed at the hospital. Patients like Jennifer Lamond – who attended the event as a guest speaker – really showcase what this event is all about.
In 2008, when she was only 35, Jennifer wasn’t feeling like her usual self. Over a period of six months, she lost 70 lbs., had difficulty keeping food down and often felt tired. This drastic weight loss had a dramatic effect on her, causing her to faint one day while at work.
“I thought it was something that would pass,” she says. “But it kept getting worse. When I fainted, that’s when it truly hit me. I knew I had to do something.”
Jennifer decided to go to Trillium; a specialist urged her to stay at the hospital and immediately referred her to see a gastroenterologist that day.
The gastroenterologist, Dr. Jamie Newman, knew right away that something was very wrong. He performed an emergency colonoscopy and stomach scope.
After a whirlwind of referrals, the results came in. Jennifer finally got her answer: she had Crohn’s disease.
“When I first found out, I was terrified,” she says. “But when Dr. Newman immediately provided me with the resources I needed to help me understand my disease, I knew it would get better.”
Crohn’s disease is a result of inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, often located in the lower part of the small bowel and throughout the entire colon.
“I can’t say enough about Dr. Newman and the care I got at Trillium. I truly believe that diagnosis was life saving for me,” she says.
Since her diagnosis, Jennifer has made a full recovery and comes to Trillium for regular colonoscopies – she has had four over the last four years.
“If there’s one message I could share with you, it’s this: don’t wait – put your health first,” Jennifer said to the attentive crowd at the event. “I’m here today because I went to Trillium and for that I’m forever grateful.”
Trillium Diwali is supported by a number of generous sponsors, including table sponsors, tickets purchasers, cash donors, gift-in-kind donors, silent auction donors and bidders.
Trillium Health Centre Foundation is deeply grateful to the South Asian community – and the entire community – for its outstanding contribution to Trillium through Trillium Diwali. Trillium Diwali event chairs, committee members and Foundation staff have played a key role in shaping the event into what has become a must-attend signature gala in the GTA.
*In 2011, Trillium Health Centre officially merged with The Credit Valley Hospital to form The Credit Valley Hospital and Trillium Health Centre.