The Women’s Health Research Foundation of Canada Inc (WHRFC), dedicated to improving women’s health through research, education and raising awareness, held its sixth successful Dance For Your Health (DFYH) fundraising gala at the Masonic Centre at 420 Corydon Avenue on Thursday March 5, 2020. Guests were greeted with leis by Island Breeze, Polynesian dancers from Selkirk ! The main hall was decked-out with greenery and bathed in blue and green lights for the Hawaiian Luau. The tables featured an array of fresh flowers in large shell centre pieces. Chrissy Troy from 103.1 Virgin Radio brought the party to life and kept us on track for the evening. Past-President Dr. Lynn Scruby introduced the Foundation and welcomed everyone to join in the evening of fun and dance. Four of the five 2019 WHRFC full-time graduate student Scholarship winners, all doing research on women’s health at the University of Manitoba made passionate presentations of their projects. Alanna Johnson an MA student in Psychology, her supervisor Dr. Diane Hiebert-Murphy, told us about her project ‘The impact of a shelter stay on relationship values for victims of partner violence’. Sarah Petty, a PhD student in Psychology, her supervisors Dr. Kristin Reynolds and Dr. Patricia Furer, spoke about her project “Women’s anxiety symptoms and psychological treatment-seeking during the perinatal period”. Claire Morden an MSc student in Biochemistry and Medical Genetics, her supervisors Dr. Kirk McManus and Dr. Mark Nachtigal, spoke about “Characterizing chromosome instability in chemonaive and chemoresistant high-grade serous ovarian cancer”. Jordana Sommer, a PhD student in Psychology, her supervisors Dr. Renée El-Gabalawy and Dr. Kristin Reynolds spoke about “A preoperative virtual reality simulation surgery to reduce perioperative psychiatric sequelae in breast cancer patients”. The awards to the latter two students were made from a specified bequest from Lovie Patterson. WOW Catering presented us with a tasty Hawaiian Luau Buffet, featuring crispy taro chips with avocado dip, papaya salad, Hawaiian macaroni salad, Hulihuli BBQ chicken, Maui beef ribs with ginger and scallions, Hawaiian fried rice, fresh tropical fruit salad and tortes, enjoyed by all. Dinner was accompanied by wine Sponsored by Manitoba Liquor Mart. After dinner Island Breeze, a Polynesian dance troupe and their band took us away to the islands (including Selkirk and Red Lake) with their colourful costumes and boundless energy. Some dances were fast and furious, others smoothly swaying. Many guests joined with the dancers in a congo line during their performances and again in a gentle, fluid expression of island culture at the end of their instruction session. Again a healthy active experience for our guests !
The funds raised through ticket sales, sponsorships and raffles combined with our corporate campaign and our annual target mail campaign, helped to raise over $12,000 in 2019-2020 to fund the Foundation’s activities, in particular the endowment of a second annual full-time scholarship and funds for a third scholarship for the best research project on women’s health by a full-time graduate student at the University of Manitoba (www.whrfcinc.com). Guests said it was the best event yet !