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October 20 , 2009


Fundraisers use social media to top $1M in pledges
YouTube, email blasts bring in donations

Six high profile community leaders have collectively raised over $1 million with some fancy footwork for the Oct. 29th Baycrest Gala. They have enrolled in ballroom dance lessons and are posting clips of their intense sessions on YouTube and sending email blasts with the links to friends and business associates - asking for donations in support of the "Dancing With Our Stars" Baycrest Gala.

The good-humoured contestants working their triple steps and tango moves for a head-on competition on gala night include Toronto Argonauts co-owner David Cynamon; community philanthropist Wendy Switzer Myles, wife of upscale menswear retailer Lou Myles; Deloitte's Vice Chairman, Garry Foster; Vice President and Senior Partner at RSM Richter, Robert Harlang; community leader and artist Tootsie Halbert; and real estate icon Sam Reisman, Chairman and CEO of The Rose Corporation.

The fact they are ballroom dance neophytes out of their comfort zone is creating exactly the kind of hilarity, buzz and sympathy for their plight that Baycrest was hoping for in its donor community.

"These six dancers have created an excitement that we're leveraging with social media to connect with people in a whole new way," said Mark Gryfe, president of the Baycrest Foundation.

The "Dancing With Our Stars" Baycrest Gala takes place October 29, 6:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Centre, 123 Queen St. W. The Gala is organized by the Women's Auxiliary of Baycrest. Proceeds will support care and research at Baycrest, focusing on innovations that will help transform the journey of aging.

To watch the dancers' YouTube videos, or for information on tables/tickets, go to www.baycrest.org/dancingwithourstars

Baycrest is an academic health sciences centre that is internationally renowned for its care of aging adults and its excellence in aging brain research, clinical treatments, and promising cognitive rehabilitation strategies.

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