Around Town: Cancer survivors ‘Stuntman’ Stu, singer Anne Lewis part of Brookstreet’s Lumière Gala for cancer care
Article by: Caroline Phillips
While going up the escalator at Brookstreet Hotel, a velvety voice could be heard floating down from the second-floor ballroom. It belonged to Ottawa’s Anne Lewis, who was crooning the opening line “Heaven, I’m in heaven” from the Irving Berlin classic Cheek to Cheek.
The jazz artist was more than just the evening’s live music for the 14th annual Lumière Rouge Fundraising Gala, held Thursday at the hotel in Kanata. She was also a cancer survivor: stage III melanoma followed by thyroid, which stole her singing voice for a time. The splashy party raised, along with that day’s Keltic Cup Charity Golf Classic, more than $100,000 for cancer care in our community, through the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.
Singing on stage that night “is the most meaningful thing I’ve done since I’ve returned to singing [in 2014],” she told Around Town after finishing her set with talented musicians J.P. Allain, Tom Denison, John Geggie and Mike Rud. “I’m supporting all of the wonderful things that the foundation does for research and clinical trials and for the support network in the community.
From left, Ottawa jazz singer Anne Lewis with gala committee member and retired Mitel CEO Don Smith and his wife, Melanie, at the Lumière Rouge gala for cancer care, held at Brookstreet Hotel on Thursday, September 22, 2016.
“They were of tremendous help to me when I went through cancer,” Lewis said before adding: “This is a very emotional night for me, absolutely.”
Back in action and in very fine form was the evening’s MC and live auctioneer, “Stuntman” Stu Schwartz. The popular radio personality and PA announcer for the Ottawa Senators has been notably absent from the charity-gala circuit while facing his high-profile fight against leukemia, resulting in a successful bone-marrow transplant.
Addressing a crowd of close to 600, he sold off a golf trip for four to The Celtic Manor in Wales (owned by Brookstreet owner and high-tech mogul Terry Matthews) for $6,500; a 100-level suite to an Ottawa Senators game for $4,500; $10,000-worth of print advertising in the Ottawa Citizen/Ottawa Sun; a trip to Mexico for $3,000; and a six-course chef’s table for 10 in the private dining room of the hotel’s Perspectives Restaurant. It went to multiple highest bidders, bringing in a total of $6,300.
Brookstreet once again pulled out all the stops for its annual gala, which has raised over the years more than $1 million for the cancer foundation and other local charities. Some of this year’s proceeds will also go toward cancer care at the west-end Queensway Carleton Hospital.
The Lumière Gala, famous for its closing fireworks display, showcases the best in food and wine. Guests flit between culinary stations while catching up with friends, colleagues and clients. The ballroom is adorned with rosy hues and many partygoers adhere to the dress code’s call for eye-popping red.
On hand were Brookstreet executive vice president and general manager Patrice Basille and executive chef Clifford Lyness. Linda Eagen, president and CEO of the cancer foundation, attended, as did its board chair, lawyer Gregory Sanders, and one of its great volunteer fundraisers, retired Mitel CEO Don Smith, who’s also on the gala organizing committee.
From the Queensway Carleton, hospital CEO Tom Schonberg, was out that night. So were the hospital foundation’s capital campaign chair, lawyer and succession planning consultant Ron Prehogan, and board member Karen Sparks, who’s also a director with gala partner Wesley Clover Foundation.
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