If Music be the food of love, play on – William Shakespeare

People who plan events for a living have specific skills needed to keep it all running smoothly – the organization, attention to detail, the calm demeanor, ability to multitask, even the vision…As it turns out,  teachers have those very same skills.  Years of managing classrooms, being involved in camps, community organizations, synagogue functions and managing a family prepared an extraordinary woman, Lisa, for planning the extravaganza that was “Decades, The Music Of Our Lives”.

No one asked Lisa to plan this event. A year after her Whipple Surgery, Lisa decided that she would put all her energy into a celebration of life. She rallied the troops – her very own team of friends, family and volunteers, and put together an unforgettable evening filled with music, great food, art and community.  The silent auction had art from highly regarded local artists, months at local camps were donated to be auctioned off to the highest bidder, spa treatments, sports memorabilia, jewelry – all generously donated for raising money to support the work Chai Lifeline does in the community.

Let’s talk about comfort food. The menu at the event was dreamy.  A macaroni and cheese station (with every topping you can imagine), a taco bar, fish and chips in little mesh baskets, individual hot apple and berry pies with vanilla ice cream – you could just tell that this menu was designed by a foodie family.

The musical acts – the kind of music that had every person in the room singing (and dancing) along – because we all knew all the words!! Classic rock, oldies, a real melange of the best of the best.

One of the most heart warming aspects of the event was that people came together from all stages of Lisa’s life.  I chatted with people who went to sleep away camp with Lisa when they were kids, high school friends, her daughter’s dance instructors, colleagues from different stages of both Lisa and Matthew’s careers’- It was the embodiment of community.

Lisa exudes positivity. She is the ultimate optimist – and because she so strongly radiates a healthy outlook and attitude, that positivity rubs off on anyone who has the privilege of being around her. She spoke beautifully, succinctly, and from the heart. There was not a dry eye in the room. When I asked Lisa where she wanted the money raised to go, she said “keep doing what you’re doing”.  Granted, I’m a crier, but is there anything more precious to hear? That someone thinks you are doing a good job? “I want you guys to be able to keep doing what you do for other families, as long as the need exists.” Despite having her own health concerns, Lisa’s empathy for others is inspiring.  Sometimes it takes a village to get things done, Lisa’s village is as powerful as an empire.

Sara Blum is a Case Manager & Art Therapist at our Chai Lifeline Canada office in Toronto


Leave a Reply