Women for Women’s 2023, presented by KPMG: Over $620,000 raised in support of Women’s College Hospital!

On Wednesday, March 8, a sold-out audience of 900 guests gathered at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to celebrate International Women’s Day at Women for Women’s presented by KPMG – Women’s College Hospital Foundation’s signature fundraising gala!

We are thrilled to announce that the event raised an incredible total of more than $620,000 to address the greatest and most urgent priority needs across Women’s College Hospital. This includes clinical care, education, research, and innovation – all crucial in today’s healthcare landscape.

Of the overall total, $151,281 was raised during our live fundraising moment in support of the Catalyst Fund hosted by Layne the Auctionista. Guests in the room were able to see their pledges registered in real time as funds raised in support of the Catalyst Fund popped up in rapid succession on screens spread through Constitution Hall.

The energy in the room was palpable as Layne enthusiastically engaged with attendees to rally support and donations for the Fund a Need moment, a vital centrepiece of Women for Women’s. The kindness, compassion and generosity of guests was on full display, showing us once again that our community of supporters and allies can make huge changes towards a future of equitable healthcare.

Watch our Fund a Need video to learn more about the groundbreaking research and innovation being done at Women’s College Hospital, supported by your generous donations.

Grateful Patient Story

Guests heard from grateful patient, Sharon Newman, who bravely shared her story about being diagnosed with breast cancer after finding out she was a carrier for the BRCA2 gene mutation in 2010. She learned she was a carrier after participating in the WCH research study testing 200,000 Jewish women for the mutation. 

Sharon believes that without the participation in this research study, her cancer might have gone undiagnosed for some time – perhaps for too long – since she was too young to qualify for a mammogram. “Without Dr. Steven Narod’s research study at WCH, my cancer would have been growing in my body for probably 10 years, and my story would be very different.”  

“Many people give back to their hospital to say thank you. I think that’s wonderful; but for me, I don’t think of it as giving back, but paying it forward. By giving [to Women’s College Hospital], I’m giving hope to a whole new generation.” 

Sharon Newman

Sharon’s story is living proof of the transformative impact of research that has the potential to save countless lives and is being conducted across all departments at Women’s College Hospital. 

The 2023 WOMEN’s Trailblazer Award

Jocelyn Palm was honoured as the 2023 recipient of the WOMEN’S Trailblazer Award, in recognition of her tremendous work for Women’s College Hospital Foundation and our hospital, championing our mission to make a national impact in women’s health and research. 

Joc has been involved with Women’s College Hospital for over three decades in many different capacities, including as a founding member of the Friends of Women’s College Hospital, a grassroots organization founded in 1989 in response to an attempt to merge Women’s College Hospital with Toronto General Hospital. The group gathered again in the early 2000s to continue Women’s College Hospital’s fight for independence through its disunion with Sunnybrook Hospital. 

The award was presented by Foundation Board Chair Debbie Simpson, who was joined by Joc onstage as they watched, along with guests, a moving tribute recognizing Jocelyn’s decades of dedication and service. The video included remarks by Lindsay Campbell, President of the WCH Association of Volunteers, Dr. Beverly Richardson and Douglas Anderson of the Women’s College Research Board, and the Hon. Carolyn Bennett, who spoke to Joc’s long history and dedication to health equity for women and for all. 

Joc’s impact on our hospital and community was evident when her award announcement was met with resounding applause and a standing ovation from the audience. During her acceptance speech, Joc reminded us all about the importance and impact of empathy – noting that the difference between thought and action comes from caring deeply about the issues at hand and in our society. 

“There’s no question that we need to care deeply, because women’s health does matter – and all those things we tried to push are now here. So, thank you all, because we have done a great job!” 

Jocelyn Palm

Doc Talks

This year’s event featured engaging and inspiring talks by prominent Women’s College Hospital leaders and physicians, Dr. Rulan Parekh and Dr. Amanda Selk. Encapsulating the event theme of “Future Forward,” both spoke to a vision of what a future forward approach to women’s health could look like. 

Dr. Parekh’s speech, “For Women, For the Future,” was an inspirational exploration of the status of women’s health in the past, present, and the promise and possibilities that lie ahead. Her speech offered powerful perspective on the effects of gender disparity and their pervasive impact on the medical field but showed us how Women’s College Hospital is leading the charge by researching and prioritizing women and their health.  

“We have changed the way boardrooms, banks, businesses, consultancies, law firms and hospitals, look, think, and act. And we can change medicine, too.”  

In “Removing Stigma in Women’s Health,” Dr. Selk offered empowering insights into the barriers to care that women face, ensuring that the audience left understanding more about their bodies and why stigma has no place in health care.  

“Shame and embarrassment can delay medical care and lead to unnecessary suffering. It’s time to stop stigmatizing women’s health and start seeking help when we need it.” 

Thank You

A special thank you to the Women for Women’s committee, sponsors, corporate partners, supporters, guests and everyone who helped make this year’s Women for Women’s an incredible success. Supporting Women’s College Hospital in its ongoing commitment to move the dial forward in women’s health and research would not be possible without advocates and allies like you! 

For more fantastic photos from Women for Women’s 2023, please visit our online photo album.

Share your event experience with us!

If you have any additional questions about the event, please contact our events team at events@wchospital.ca. If you would like to learn more about the work of Women’s College Hospital, please contact us at foundation@wchospital.ca.

Save the date!

Our next annual fundraiser in support of Women’s College Hospital will take place on Thursday, March 7, 2024.