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Fight to End Cancer 2017: Knocking Out Cancer in Our Lifetime

By: Aleka Allen divider image

Related Event: Fight To End Cancer

The sixth annual Fight to End Cancer gala was a fantastically glamourous evening. This sold out black tie fundraiser featured ten Toronto-based men and women, with no prior boxing experience, to step into the ring and duke it out in support of the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. By the end of the night, Fight to End Cancer raised an incredible $200,000! All of the proceeds will be directed to the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.

The historic and luxurious Old Mill Inn was the venue for this year’s gala. Upon entry, guests were greeted with wine at the open bar, hors d’oeuvres, and Vegas showgirls who looked amazing in their sequined two-piece outfits and elaborate headdresses. The one drawback to hosting the event at The Old Mill was the slightly awkward layout. There were moments were drinks almost spilled onto the floor from guests bumping into one another and the temperature in the space was uncomfortably stuffy.

There were a handful of fundraising activities held throughout the evening such as live auction and the raffle for the personalized gift baskets filled with the boxers’ favourite items. Mark Benoit, one of the fighters, submitted a book lovers’ dream basket filled with book and wine pairings. The silent auction featured many luxurious items included Gucci sunglasses, luxurious gift baskets, paintings, and an elegant pearl necklace from Mark Lash Designs. At this year’s gala, each table had tablets that listed each of the auction items, making it possible to check on your bids during dinner without leaving your table. It was a small touch but a very innovative one. Between bouts, the live auction incited major bidding wars for the five fantastic prizes, including a Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph 45MM Men’s Watch that sold for a whopping $14,500.00. Angie Seth, weekend anchor for CTV News, was the emcee for the night, but she was rather forgettable and a tad boring on stage. At this year’s event, guests were treated to a lively set from Karl Wolf, a Juno-nominated singer-songwriter from Toronto. He performed a total of five songs, and got everyone on their feet and turned the boxing match into a high-energy dance party!

The highlight of the entire evening was, of course, the boxing! As previously mentioned, the ten fighters who entered the ring were men and women in executive-level careers who endured intense Olympic-style boxing for six months. The training team at the Kingsway pushed the fighters beyond their physical, mental, and emotional limits in preparation for this match. The most exciting bout of the night was the main event, where Mark Benoit squared off against Randy Woods. What made this bout so exciting was that this wasn’t Woods’ first time participating in a boxing fundraiser. He fought previously in the Ottawa boxing fundraiser, Fight for the Cure, where notable alumni included disgraced former senator Patrick Brazeau and our Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau. It seemed that the previous experience paid for Woods because he won his bout against Mark Benoit. Near the end of the night, Jennifer Huggins, the Fight to End Cancer’s Executive Director and Founder, was over the moon from the immense generosity of all of those who gave to the event. In an impassioned speech, she gave everyone—-volunteers, guests, staff, and fighters—- a heartfelt thank you for all of their wonderful support and efforts in making this year’s Fight to End Cancer the most successful gala in the event’s history. The entire room fell in love with her infectious enthusiasm and genuine passion and devotion to ending cancer in our lifetime. The night ended with a fun after party that lasted into the early morning hours.

About the Fight to End Cancer

The Fight to End Cancer Gala is an annual black-tie fundraiser and boxing competition founded in 2011. Since its inception, the Fight to End Cancer fundraiser raised over $700,000. The mission of this organization is to raise funds for cancer research with the support of the local community and business owners. To learn more about this one-of-a-kind event, please visit

About the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation

The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation at University Health Network raises funds for breakthrough research, exemplary teaching and compassionate care at Princess Margaret Hospital and its research arm, the Ontario Cancer Institute, which now includes The Campbell Family Cancer Research Institute and The Campbell Family Breast Cancer Research Institute. More information about the Foundation can be found at

© 2017 Article by Aleka Allen, Photos and layout TorontoArtsandEvents.  All Rights Reserved.  Editors please contact us for use.

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