St. Lazare Festival au Galop raises $40,000 for cancer research
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK St. Lazare Mayor Robert Grimaudo said the turnout for the Au Galop festival exceeded expectation and it will become an annual event.
St. Lazare’s first three-day Festival au Galop held last weekend at the new Equestrian Centre was deemed a resounding success as more than 5,000 people gathered to watch the RCMP Musical Ride performance on August 8 which raised $40,000 in donations for the Cedars Cancer Foundation.
“It’s been a complete success,” said Mayor Robert Grimaudo . “The weather and horses cooperated and I cannot believe the turnout. It’s been great and we’re very pleased with the money that was raised for cancer research. It’s thanks to the people who bought tickets to see the musical ride.
Jeff Shamie, Director General of the Cedars Cancer Foundation and McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), said the donations raised at the Festival au Galop exceeded expectations. He added that the mission of the foundation is to raise private funds to help cancer patients by providing care, raising money for equipment, education and research.
“We’re overwhelmed,” said Shamie. “We’re in the business of raising funds to help the hospital care for our patients and to give our health care practitioners the best resources. We’re very proud to have been chosen by St. Lazare and the community as beneficiaries of this event.”
Dr. Ewa Sidorowicz, Associate Director General Medical Affairs and Director of Professional Services at the MUHC, said the hospital interacts very closely with the Cedars Cancer Foundation. “The hospital runs the different clinical services to provide care to cancer patients whether it’s chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgical therapy for cancer.
Sidorowicz added that residents living in off-island municipalities in the Montérégie can also avail themselves to receive cancer treatment services at the MUHC. “Patients who live in this area can be referred to the MUHC and we also work closely with hospitals in the area.”
Soulanges MNA and provincial Minister Delegate for Public Health Lucie Charlebois said she was proud to have participated in the event, especially since cancer touched her own family.
“I lost my father to lung cancer,” Charlebois told Your Local Journal. “I’m happy to see all the people here today who are supporting the cause and concerned about it. A lot of money was raised today to fight and prevent cancer.”
Federal NDP MP for Vaudreuil-Dorion Jamie Nicholls said it was great that the community now has a permanent venue to showcase its equestrian heritage.
“I grew up in St. Lazare and I remember walking down Côte St. Charles with my brother and feeding carrots to the horses,” said Nicholls. “It’s always been a part of our lifestyle here and to see the equestrian park created and the musical ride is a fruition of the idea of St. Lazare as a community of equestrians sharing with everyone. Cancer research is something that is really important and it’s good to come out and support the community in this way. It’s beautiful.”
The success of this year’s Festival au Galop means it definitely will become an annual event, said Grimaudo. “We won’t have the musical ride every year, but we’re going to try to get them back every second year. We now have a permanent infrastructure to host the event. We always wanted to have an equestrian park and now we have one.”