Fashion and fundraising at Inaugural loft Gala

19-May-2015 | SHARE:

It was like a free-range fashion show at the recent Loft Gala, so attractive and stylish was the crowd that gathered at the Hilton Lac Leamy to raise funds for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation and its Maplesoft Centre for Cancer Survivorship.

In the mix of gowns and glamour were the glorious pipes belonging to singers Wallis Giunta, Julie Nesrallah and Jully Black, all of whom got star billing at the inaugural event created by Bruno Racine, owner of The Loft Urban Salon and driving force behind the former Ottawa Fashion Week.

The McCaffrey Haute Couture fashion show was presented by well-known Ottawa-based designer David McCaffrey. It was the stuffthat fashion dreams are made of as Angie's models seemed to float down the runway in exquisite gowns. The creative spectacle incorporated aerial silk acrobatics and opera, performed by Giunta with a string quartet. The captivating beauty has been the face of McCaffrey for the past five years.


High up in the Rideau Club that overlooks our fair city, a 17-year-old teen born with HIV shared her extraordinary story last Tuesday of turning a curse into a blessing during the second annual luncheon for CANFAR (Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research). Motivational youth speaker Ashley Murphy, along with her adopted saintly mom, Kari Murphy, of Ajax, Ont., spoke to a 120-person crowd that included Laureen Harper, Health Minister Rona Ambrose, CANFAR national spokesperson Valerie Pringle and Irish Ambassador Ray Bassett.

Since 1987, CANFAR, a privately funded national charity, has awarded more than $18 million to HIV/AIDS research projects searching for a cure. The younger Murphy contracted HIV from her birth mom, the room heard. She developed full-blown AIDS, and at six months of age was given about a month to live.

Kari Murphy already had her hands full as a mother and foster parent when she took the baby in and cared for her. "She's the woman who saved my life," the teen told the crowd of the unconditional love that she came her way.

The Murphy family has continued to grow and take in children with special needs. It's now 12 members strong.


You wouldn't expect an Ottawa mom who lost three limbs to a dog bite infection to be such a ray of sunshine, not after what she's been through. But Christine Caron's remarkable resilience, personal courage and endearing sense of humour shone through at the 16th annual Spring into Motion charity auction and dinner presented by The Rehabilitation Centre Volunteer Association (TRCVA) at the St. Elias Centre on Wednesday. Caron, a self-professed "crazy dog lady" had been playing with her pooches two years ago when one of them accidentally nipped her.

The bite caused a rare infection that resulted in the loss of both legs and one arm.

Caron told her audience how she spent the next five months at The Ottawa Hospital's Rehabilitation Centre to, in her words, get her life back. The centre helped Caron to heal - mind, body and soul.

"My team not only gave me legs but they gave me the courage to stand and the courage to take those first steps," said Caron, a mother of four young adults. The dedicated staff"got me through some of the biggest challenges of my life and pushed me to achieve some of the goals I had set for myself."

The volunteer association improves the quality of life for rehab centre patients. It provides mobility items for those who need aids to live more independently, but who lack insurance coverage or other funding. "Without our assistance, many of these patients would not be able to leave their homes," said TRCVA president Berry.

The evening raised more than $20,000.

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Credit: Caroline Phillips; Ottawa Citizen


Photos: Caroline Phillips, Ottawa Citizen / More than 600 attendees of the Ottawa Loft Gala, held at the Hilton Lac Leamy on May 9, took in a fashion show featuring beautiful gowns by McCaffrey Haute Couture.; Photos: Caroline Phillips, Ottawa Citizen / ; Photos: Caroline Phillips, Ottawa Citizen / The Ottawa Loft Gala featured a McCaffrey Haute Couture fashion show starring the beautiful and talented Wallis Giunta, a mezzo-soprano originally from Ottawa.

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