15 Mar 17

Save the date – Ladies’ Night in May

Hats, horses and wishes for Autism Canada

The Russell Ladies’ Night committee toasted their upcoming May 5 event, for women only, as they kicked off ticket sales with a media conference at the Scotiabank in Russell on Wed., March 8, International Women’s Day. As it was 8:30 a.m., the glasses were filled with non-alcoholic sparkling wine. Ladies’ Night is a highly anticipated evening of cocktails, silent and live auctions, dinner, entertainment and dancing at the transformed Russell arena, which raises funds for a chosen charity. This year’s charity is Autism Canada. Shown here are committee members, in front from left: Lynda Kemp, Michelle St. Pierre and Linda Duhamel. Back row: Sara Dupont, Laurel Gillespie Gibbons, Judy McFaul, Lynne Rochon and Suzanne Campbell. Vetter photo

Candice Vetter

Villager Staff

RUSSELL—Ladies’ Night is once again going to be held on Friday, May 5, at the Russell arena, where funds raised will benefit this year’s chosen charity, Autism Canada, and tickets are on sale now.

The Ladies’ Night committee made the announcement at a media conference to kick off ticket sales on Wed., March 8, International Women’s Day, at the Scotiabank in Russell, which is a supporter of the annual event. The theme for the 14th edition of Ladies’ Night is Hats, Horses and Wishes. As organizer Judy McFaul said, “We’re off to the Kentucky Derby!”

At the media conference Laurel Gillespie Gibbons spoke about Autism Canada and thanked the committee for choosing it as this year’s recipient. She is a director with the organization and came to it because of her son’s autism. She described the obstacles to care she experienced 20 years ago. “As a child he was very high functioning but lacking emotional maturity. I knew his journey would be hilly and bumpy, but there would be reasons to celebrate as well, one bump at a time,” she told attendees. She praised Sackville MP Peter Staffer who she and other parents had talked to. “He said, ‘what can I do?’ and put out a private member’s bill. In the end there were five bills, but it got people talking.”

Gillespie Gibbons ran as a candidate for the NDP in 2006, against Pierre Poilievre and Beryl Gaffney. “I didn’t expect to win,” she said, “but I wanted to do something.” She described asking MPP Lisa McLeod for help. “I said, ‘Lisa, if your daughter was sick wouldn’t you do everything you could?’ We had a heart to heart and in Lisa’s maiden speech at Queen’s Park she talked about autism.”

Shortly afterwards Gillespie Gibbons was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent two years of treatment, which she says the stress contributed to. She has continued her advocacy work, however, including working with the NDP on the Federal Council for Disabilities. As for her son, he is now a productive 20-year-old and attending college.

There are 550 tickets available at $50 each, which must be purchased in advance (reserved seating) either online at www.RussellFair.com or by calling 613-445-4161. Tickets purchased before April 8 will be eligible to win a big – early bird prize. Tickets are expected to sell quickly.