St. Paul’s Brilliant! event shines a light on dark issues

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Brillant! Fashion Show Fundraiser Gala

With its trendsetting fundraiser Brilliant! St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation happening on Saturday, September 26 at Commodore Ballroom, St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation shuffles the deck, raises the bar—and finds itself with the hottest ticket in town, all in support of mental health and addiction medicine programs.

St. Paul’s Hospital wants to remove the stigma from mental illness and addiction, which remain the biggest obstacles to people getting the help they need. Statistics indicate mental illness affects one in five Canadians, and at least 20 per cent of people with a mental illness also have a co-occurring substance use problem. Sadly, due to the associated stigma—shame, embarrassment, fear—only 30 per cent of those afflicted seek treatment.

As part of its effort to change perceptions of mental health and addiction, St. Paul’s has changed the way it asks people to support its programs. As a result, gone is the stuffy fundraising gala with its formal evening attire, replaced by (or perhaps “blown out of the water by” would be more apt) an astonishingly original presentation called Brilliant!

Held at the Commodore Ballroom, Brilliant! is staged by a volunteer cast of 300 models, fashion designers and performers. This year’s theme is a thoroughly modern take on classic fairy tales. This Little Red Riding Hood will not be what you remember from bedtime – beware of a wolf in couture clothing.

Drawing a sell-out crowd last year (this year’s event, the third annual, is also fast approaching sell-out status) Brilliant! sees an unheard of generational mix of attendees. The young, hip 20-something set share a packed dance floor with the “old guard” of civic philanthropy. Both crowds are there to support St. Paul’s mental health and addiction medicine programs; and on this night, they have a blast doing it!

Bill and Jana Maclagan, Brilliant! 2015 Co-Chairs, support St. Paul’s in bringing these issues out of the darkness. The Maclagans represent the new attitude espoused by St. Paul’s. “The biggest hope,” says Jana Maclagan, “is that there is no longer a stigma. You can talk about mental health. You’re not embarrassed. It’s okay.”

Brillant! Fashion Show Fundraiser Gala

When: Saturday, September 26, 2015 at 7 p.m.

Where: Commodore Ballroom

Tickets: www.eventbrite.ca

Vancity Buzz is a proud sponsor of Brillant! Fashion Show Fundraiser Gala.

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Harpreet Shergill is the Community Manager at Vancity Buzz and your guide for community events.
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