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Step it up

Monte Carlo gala raises more than $91,000 for local charities

Campus and Community

By Megan Timmons

Every fall Memorial’s undergraduate medical students demonstrate the care and compassion required of their chosen profession by planning, organizing and carrying out the Monte Carlo Charity Gala, now in its 39th year.

This year’s theme for the gala was Step Right Up and was held Nov. 21 at the Medical Education Centre on Memorial’s St. John’s campus.

1/ Monte Carlo Charities 2015

Cheque presentation to Monte Carlo Charities 2015 for $91,225.

Photo: Terry Upshall

2/ Cancer Care Foundation

Cheque presentation to Cancer Care Foundation for $21,500.

Photo: Terry Upshall


Cheque presentation to CNIB-NL for $21,500.

Photo: Terry Upshall

4/ Parkinson Society of Newfoundland and Labrador

Cheque presentation to Parkinson Society Newfoundland and Labrador for $21,500.

Photo: Terry Upshall

5/ Pottle Centre

Cheque presentation to the Pottle Centre for $21,500.

Photo: Terry Upshall

6/ Team Broken Earth

Cheque presentation to Team Broken Earth for $5,225.

Photo: Terry Upshall

The recipient charities chosen to receive funds raised from the event this year are the Dr. H. Bliss Cancer Care Foundation, the Pottle Centre, Parkinson Society Newfoundland and Labrador, CNIB-NL and Team Broken Earth.

Upon receiving the cheque on behalf of the Parkinson’s Society, CEO and executive director Derek J. Staubitzer explained why the contribution from the Monte Carlo gala is important to the society.

“We have a small budget and increasing demands for our programs and services. This donation will allow us to continue with the development of specialized, community-based Parkinson’s exercise programs and caregiver support groups throughout the province.”

Generous volunteers

Dr. James Rourke, dean, Faculty of Medicine, says the faculty is proud to support the hard-working students who spend countless hours ensuring the major community event is a success.

“It never ceases to amaze me how deeply Memorial’s medical students care about our community and the lengths to which they go to raise funds for charities in Newfoundland and Labrador,” he said. “These students are passionate about helping others and their contributions are making an important difference in our province.”

Event history

The Monte Carlo Charity Gala was initially started in 1977, with the goal of aiding a fellow medical student, Conor Maguire, who sustained a spinal cord injury in a diving accident which left him a quadriplegic. A group of students decided to organize a fundraiser to help facilitate the purchase of a vehicle wheelchair lift for their classmate so that he could continue his medical education. Today, Dr. Maguire is an associate professor of radiology (nuclear medicine and radiology) at Memorial University.

“These students are passionate about helping others and their contributions are making an important difference in our province.” — Dr. James Rourke

The Monte Carlo Charity Gala has grown in depth and breadth since its inauguration. It is now much more than an evening of glitz, dancing and stylish outfits. It involves many hours of volunteering and fundraising by the medical students, who go the extra mile in various ways, including organizing bake sales, garnering auction items and co-ordinating entertainment for the gala. Each student plays a vital role in the production of Monte Carlo, and without their dedication, the event would not be successful.

A great need

The charity selection committee receives many high-calibre applications from deserving charities across the province who wish to receive a portion of the funds raised from the the charity gala. This year, individual donations of $21,500 were given to four of the five chosen charities. Team Broken Earth received $5,225, which came from the pie throwing contest held during the event.

“Our biggest supporter is Memorial University,” said Dr. Andrew Furey, a member of the board of directors for Team Broken Earth. “It’s great to see students showing an interest in global health early in their careers. It’s good to see everyone coming together and working together for a common cause.”

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