There’s nothing that defines the joys of life more than the smile of a child. The happiness in their eyes, the sound of their giggles, the sheer joy on their face when they are having fun – as a parent these are the things we look forward to each and every day.

A general view of atmosphere during the 22nd Annual Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada Gala presented by Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us Canada hosted at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto. (Photography by Ernesto Di Stefano/George Pimentel Photography)

But when our babies get sick, our worry sets in and we do everything we can to protect them. It’s during times like these that families and sick children need a boost of hope or happiness, something to bring back their smiles and laughter that organizations and charities like Starlight Children’s Foundation step in to lend a helping hand.

That’s why Starlight hosts events like the gala event they hosted on April 8th, 2017 to raise funds that will help benefit these ill children and their families. Masks helped to bring some magic to an already special evening during the 22nd Annual Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada Gala presented by Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us Canada, where a record-breaking $960,000 was raised through generous donations from sponsors, supporters and attendees.

“The turnout was fantastic! Over 750 attendees came out to enjoy an evening that celebrates the great work that Starlight does, at its biggest fundraiser of the year,” says Jeannie O’Regan, V.P. of Special Events and Operations for Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada.

The funds raised from the gala will go toward Starlight’s programs set up to help brighten the lives of ill children that include Comfort Kits filled with all the essentials of an unexpected hospital stay, Great Escapes, hospital grants for hospitals across the country to use on what kids need most in that local area), Day Brighteners (tickets to sports games, concerts, etc.,), Wishes and so much more.

Venetian Masks are displayed for guests to wear during the 22nd Annual Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada Gala. (Photography by Ernesto Di Stefano/George Pimentel Photography)

“The event is an opportunity to raise funds and donations for in and out-of-hospital programming for seriously ill children and their families across Canada,” says O’Regan. “We also use this signature event as a chance to raise awareness for all the good work we do with Starlight families.”

Guests gathered for an evening of intrigue at Starlight’s ‘Venetian Masquerade Ball’ themed-event at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto for the sold out gala. The venue featured an enchanting theatrical golden-hued atmosphere adorned with live performances by an acro-contortionist, duelling cellos and a Phantom of the Opera inspired pianist. After an elaborate four-course dinner the fun continued at the after party with a DJ and a photo booth.

“Starlight started with a simple dream – to help sick children smile, and to see that dream is not only shared but also very generously supported by so many caring people brings me incredible joy,” says Brian Bringolf, Executive Director for the Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada.

Performers pose for a photo at the 22nd Annual Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada Gala. (Photography by Ernesto Di Stefano/George Pimentel Photography)

“The challenges that brave Starlight children and their families face daily are things that many parents find hard to even think about,” continues Bringolf. “We believe that those tough moments are when laughter and joy are needed the most! It was inspiring to watch the dedication and hard work of countless individuals come together to make this year’s Gala such a tremendous success.”

Celebrities in attendance included event host and TV personality Rick Campanelli, Real Housewives of Toronto stars Roxy Earle, Ann Kaplan Mulholland, Joan Kelley Walker and Jana Webb, Kim’s Convenience actor Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Gerry Dee the star of Mr. DCorner Gas actress Tara Spencer-Nairn, Designated Survivor actress Lara Jean Chorostecki, and The Next Step’s Victoria Baldesarra and Brittany Raymond.

Plans for next year’s festivities are already under way and in the early stages of brainstorming with the promise of raising more funds and awareness to such an important cause to help children battling the fight of their lives.

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