Oysters fuel national fundraisers for injury awareness kicking off on Groundhog day

by biacadmin on January 23, 2009


For Immediate Release
Attention: Assignment, Health, Lifestyle and City Editors

– The Brain Injury Association of Canada to name Insurance Bureau of Canada as title sponsor of new campaign.

(Toronto) – Torontonians will be shedding their winter gear for tropical threads this year at Toronto’s 5th Annual Hawaiian Oyster Odyssey.

The event will take place on Groundhog Day Monday, February 2nd at Chega Restaurant, 3391 Yonge Street from 6 to 9 pm. It kicks off a milestone year for the Brain Injury Association of Canada (BIAC) with Hawaiian Oyster Odyssey (HOO) events taking place for the first time in every province across Canada.

Organized purely through volunteer efforts, the HOOs have raised almost $500,000 for BIAC since their start in 2005.

Each year, 50,000 Canadians are affected with a brain injury; it is the number one disabler and cause of death for Canadians under 45 and incidence rates are continuing to rise. Even worse is the fact that most brain injuries are preventable.

BIAC is pleased to welcome Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) as its presenting sponsor for the 2009 Odyssey series. In fact, at the event, IBC will make a major announcement.

Additional valued sponsors include TD Bank Financial Group, Barrick Gold, Globalive and the Posluns Family Foundation.

“We are delighted to be kicking off our 2009 campaign on Groundhog Day,” said Shirley Johnson, BIAC’s president and a grandmother from Victoria, BC. She has three brain injured family members. “Maybe more Canadians will start to see the shadows facing our survivors.” Johnson will speak at the Toronto HOO at Chega at 7 pm with the other guest speakers.

The annual Hawaiian Oyster Odyssey events promote the prevention of brain injuries and raise funds to advocate for survivors such as teacher, Michael Coyle (see backgrounder below).

Coyle and other survivors will share their inspirational stories at each of the Odysseys starting in Toronto on February 2nd.

Special guests for this year will include: the Honourable David Caplan MPP, Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, the Honourable Kathleen Wynne MPP, Ontario’s Minister of Education, the Honourable Dr. Carolyn Bennett P.C., M.P., Canada’s former Minister of Public Health as well as senior representatives from several Toronto hospitals.

Other 2009 Hawaiian Oyster Odysseys will be held in Vancouver, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal, Fredericton, Charlottetown, Halifax and St. John’s. Initial discussions have taken place with representatives from the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia to hold similar events in the near future.

Each event will feature tropical decor, oyster bars, tropical cocktails and stories from survivors.

Guests will also enter a promotional draw for two round trip tickets to Hawaii, courtesy of Air Canada.

About BIAC:
In 2003 the Brain Injury Association of Canada was established with the mandate to improve the quality of life for all Canadians affected by acquired brain injury and promote its prevention. BIAC is also dedicated to facilitate post-trauma research, education and advocacy in partnership with national, provincial/territorial and regional associations and other stakeholders.

Media contacts:
Brain Injury Association of Canada or Hawaiian Oyster Odysseys

Howard Brown, Fundraising Chair at (416) 844-1180 or at howard@brown-cohen.com
Harry Zarins, Executive Director at harry.zarins@biac-aclc.ca or (819) 777-2492 or 1 (866) 977-2492

Insurance Bureau of Canada – Ellen Wooger at ellen.wooger@sympatico.ca or at (416) 483-2358


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