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LGBTQIA+ Total Request Live-Inspired Show ‘Queerantine’ Kicks Off Season Two

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Acclaimed weekly online music video showcase, aimed at supporting up-and-coming indie queer musicians, begins its 10-week run on August 9, 2020

NEW YORK, NY (August 5, 2020) Queerantine, a one-of-a-kind, weekly music video showcase highlighting artists across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, created and hosted by musical artist Kisos, will make its triumphant return to streaming platform Twitch on Sunday, August 9, 2020, at 3:00 p.m. EST.

Queerantine’s first season premiered on March 22, 2020 with host Kisos and week one co-host, emerging artist Zach Benson, to support and elevate queer musicians during the pandemic crisis. Over the course of 15 weeks, Queerantine developed a strong, dedicated following among musicians and fans alike, each week celebrating up to 12 independent artist music videos from around the world. With a rotating all-star cast of co-hosts including the likes of Michael Medrano, Raquel Lily, Elliot Jones, NYC DJ Jon Ali and more, Queerantine quickly became the Sunday afternoon event for the world-wide LGBTQIA+ community. Throughout the first season, Queerantine also acted as a fundraising platform, raising over $4500 for Black Lives Matter and $2000 for NYC-based charity G.L.I.T.S. (Gays and Lesbians Living In a Transgender Society).

“Finding community is HARD! Once the pandemic started and LGBTQ+ meeting places closed, I felt the need to create a platform that not only acted as a digital hangout but also fostered true friendships and connections within the community,” said creator Kisos. “By the end of the first season, we had artists who met over the course of season one, featuring their own new collaborations on the show. That’s when my heart officially melted, and I knew Queerantine was truly making a difference.”

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Season two of Queerantine promises to bring fans a whole new line-up of exciting, emerging indie LGBTQIA+ music videos and co-hosts, including Miss Eaves, Megan Lenius, Matkai Burmaster among many others. It will also see the debut of The Official Queerantine Aftershow (airing directly after Queerantine) hosted by Toronto-based pop artist Cory Stewart

Queerantine can be streamed weekly on Sundays at 3:00 p.m. EST starting August 9, 2020 at https://www.twitch.tv/itskisosThe Official Queerantine Aftershow will air directly following the Queerantine broadcast at https://www.twitch.tv/coryjstewart.
 

About Queerantine: 

Queerantine is a one-of-a-kind, weekly music video showcase highlighting artists across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, airing on Sunday afternoons at 3:00 p.m. EST, presented by musical artist Kisos.

Each week host Kisos sources 10 visuals, that he and a co-host can spotlight and react to — live on Twitch (a well-known video live streaming service operated by Twitch Interactive, a subsidiary of Amazon) while interacting with and inviting an engaged audience to discover new and exciting musical artists in the community.

Twitter: @queerantineshow

Instagram: @queerantineshow

About Kisos: 

NYC-based moody alt-pop singer Kisos began his career in music publicity in 2014. Soon after, he translated his first music job into his own publicity firm, Miller Place, while simultaneously cultivating a strong following on live-stream service Twitch (twitch.tv/itskisos).

A regular fixture on outlets such as Billboard Pride, Atwood Magazine, Paper Magazine, Highclouds and Spotify’s own Cosmic Playlists, Out Now and Discover Weekly; Kisos is a strong, quirky and loveable advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.

Along with hosting several weekly live shows on Twitch, Kisos recently released his sophomore EP which has been streamed over 500,000 times across all platforms.

Website: kisosmusik.com

Twitter: @itskisos

Instagram: @itskisos

About Cory Stewart:

Cory Stewart (AWAL/Kobalt) has been described as an artist that creates “fearless, unapologetic and relentlessly catchy” music (Canadian Beats), providing a fresh perspective on LGBTQ+ issues. With over 500,000 downloads and streams of his music, Cory has been a supporting act for a number of legendary artists including Boy George, Crystal Waters and Murray Head.

Website: coryjstewart.com

Instagram: @coryjstewart

Twitter: @coryjstewart

    Canadian Electronic Artist Velvet Code Debuts New LGBTQ+ Summer Anthem, “Teenage Dreamer”

    TORONTO, ON – Fresh off the heels of releasing an official remix for Lady Gaga’s “Stupid Love” (Universal/Interscope), Velvet Code is making a spectacular return to form with his new single, “Teenage Dreamer”. The song, dropping Friday, July 24, 2020, is accompanied by a cutting-edge, digitally enhanced 4K music video, filmed entirely while in self-isolation.

    Blending vibrant progressive house and electronic influences, “Teenage Dreamer” is the first follow-up single to Velvet Code’s 2019 sophomore album release, “Dreamer”. The song, which is written, produced, mixed and mastered by Velvet Code, is an empowering electronic anthem filled with nostalgic and thought-provoking lyrics; aimed to connect with fellow members of the LGBTQ+ community

    “Over the past few difficult months, I’ve felt compelled to write a song that empowers listeners to continue to dream big and not give up hope,” says Velvet Code. “Teenage Dreamer embodies the joy and happiness I’d like to impart on my amazing supporters as they navigate through these tough times.”

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    In addition to producing and releasing new music, Velvet Code also hosts the weekly “Rise To The Rhythm” radio mix-show; which is broadcast to over 130 digital, FM and satellite radio stations around the world. He also hosts a weekly one-hour “Solitary Confinement Saturdays” show on Facebook and Instagram live to an average of 20,000 – 30,000 viewers. Velvet is also in the midst of developing an inclusive LGBTQ+ record label, which will be formally announced later this year.

    “Teenage Dreamer” can be pre-saved here, and will be available on all major music platforms beginning Friday, July 24, 2020, including Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Beatport, Google Play/YouTube, Amazon, Pandora, Deezer, Tidal, iHeartRadio, ClaroMusica, Saavn, MediaNet, and Shazam.

     

    About Velvet Code:

    Velvet Code is a Canadian Electronic Music DJ, producer and artist based in Toronto, Canada. As a DJ and music producer, Velvet Code’s influences include DJ Paulo, Laidback Luke, Dada Life, BloodPop, Avicii, Peter Rauhofer, David Guetta and Calvin Harris. His music can be described as ‘80s and 90s-influenced electronic dance music (“EDM”), most notably the sub-genres of EDM known as electro-house and progressive. Velvet Code’s second full-length 2019 studio album “Dreamer” was recorded in Toronto, Canada with additional production in New York and Los Angeles. On Dreamer, Velvet Code collaborated with songwriter Wendy Starland (Lady Gaga), with production contributions from Gavin Bradley, Joe Laporta (Sterling Sound NYC), Rob Bryton, Robi Banerji and Scott Kelly (Westlake Studios). Velvet Code’s weekly radio mixshow, “Rise To The Rhythm,” can now be heard on more than 133 digital, FM and satellite radio stations around the world each week; the stations include Dash Radio’s ElectroCity, Jack’d Up Radio Network and its affiliates, EDMSessions Radio and many others.

    Website: http://www.velvetcode.com

    Social Media & Streaming Services: https://compiled.social/velvetcode

      Local Non-Profit Establishes $50,000 COVID-19 Relief Fund for GTA Drag Community

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      Community One Foundation to provide 100 local drag artists with $500 grants as part of their “We Are Family – Emergency Drag Support Fund” this June.

      TORONTO, ON (May 28, 2020) – In celebration of Pride month in Toronto, Community One Foundation (a non-profit that provides grants to enhance the development of LGBTTIQQ2S communities in the Greater Toronto Area), is announcing Community One Foundation’s We Are Family – Emergency Drag Support Fund — a $50,000 COVID-19 relief program to financially assist local drag artists in the GTA.

      “Drag queens and kings have been the essence of Toronto’s queer community for decades. A hobby for some and a career for others. The drag community has not only been a source of entertainment for all, but they have often been leaders within our cause, fighting for equality, inclusion and rights for all community members,” says Community One Foundation board member Sam Katz.

      “While the drag community has moved to online platforms, the tips do not compare to the revenue they were generating in the bar and club scene. With additional event cancellations, including Pride, our drag family is financially devastated,” adds board member Cory Stewart.

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      Community One Foundation will distribute 100 grants of $500 each, to eligible, in-need community members. To qualify for a grant, drag artists must be residents of the Greater Toronto Area, attribute drag revenue as a significant source of regular income, and require funds for essential living. Applicants can apply by visiting www.bit.ly/c1drag. Applications are now open and will close on Thursday, June 18, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. ET.

      With an over 40 year history, Community One Foundation has provided financial support to countless LGBTTIQQ2S projects and organizations in the GTA including The 519, Buddies in Bad Times, Black CAP, Toronto PFLAG, Inside Out, Asian Community AIDS Services, Toronto People with AIDS Foundation, Rainbow Railroad and many others.

      Upon delivering grants to selected applicants, organizers of the “We Are Family – Emergency Drag Relief Fund” are hopeful to extend further grants to support additional in-need segments of the LGBTTIQQ2S community, but depend on public donations to continue in their efforts. To donate to this Community One Foundation initiative, please visit www.communityone.ca.

       

      About Community One:

      Established in 1980 as the Lesbian and Gay Community Appeal, Community One Foundation provides grants to LGBTTIQQ2S community projects in Greater Toronto Area including Durham, Halton, Peel and York Regions, focusing on the areas of arts and culture, health and social services, and research and education. The Foundation also promotes community philanthropy through strategic partnerships such as the Bill 7 Award and the LGBT Giving Network.

      Website: www.communityone.ca

      Facebook: www.facebook.com/CommunityOneFoundation/

      Twitter: www.twitter.com/C1Foundation

        The Q Review Kicks Off Pride Month with “One Love Live!” Virtual Queer Music Festival

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        The three-day celebration (May 29 – 31) will feature live music performances, panels, drag performances, and more with LGBTQ+ artists from around the world.

        TORONTO, ON (May 20, 2020) – With the disappointing news of cancelled Pride festivals sweeping the globe, The Q Review (a Canada-based online outlet, covering independent LGBTQ+ musicians worldwide) announces “One Love Live!”, a virtual queer music festival taking place May 29 – 31, 2020. The three-day online event will feature a collection of live music performances, panel discussions, a new music release party, drag performances, a special edition of Queerantine (an online “MTV Total Request Live-style” LGBTQ+ music video show) and more.

        “Each year, Pride festivals have a unique and magical way of uniting LGBTQ+ people to celebrate our victories, look to the future and remember how far we’ve come,” says Q Review founder Kenney Fitzpatrick. “Creating this virtual queer music festival is more than just about replacing the physical one. In this new normal we’re living in, we have the ability to reach audiences and showcase all the amazing talent thriving in the queer music community. Through a larger lens, this festival will also allow connections to be made with queer youth who may not be in safe and accepting spaces during these socially distant times. It’s about reaching out to them to let them know they’re not alone.”

        “One Love Live!” boasts a jam-packed schedule throughout its three-day run, and will be simultaneously broadcast via Zoom and twitch.tv platforms. Opening on Friday, May 29, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. EST and closing on Sunday, May 31, 2020 at 11:00 p.m. EST, the full schedule can be viewed below, or by clicking here.

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        For Zoom and twitch.tv link announcements, along with full artist and participant bios, please visit: https://www.qreview.ca/one-love-live.html

         

        About The Q Review: 

        Established in 2018, The Q Review serves as a voice for the independent LGBTQ+ artist. As the only outlet of its kind, The Q Review creates opportunities for the advancement and appreciation of LGBTQ+ music and artistry across the globe. The outlet continues to expose the latest and best LGBTQ artists and their music with reviews, the Q32 music chart, the Q Review Podcast, the New Q New Release Playlist, interviews, features and more!

        Website: www.qreview.ca

        Weekly Podcast: Spotify | iTunes

        Q32 Weekly LGBTQ+ Music Chart: www.qreview.ca/q-32-chart.html

        Instagram: www.instagram.com/theqreviews

        Twitter: www.twitter.com/theqreviews

        Facebook: www.facebook.com/theqreviews

         

        For more information, photos or interview requests, please contact:

        Danielle Watson

        Embrace Disruption PR 

        danielle@embracedisruption.com

          Twelve Seriously Ill Canadian Children Aim to Raise $30,000 for Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada Over The Holidays

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          TORONTO, ON (December 10, 2019) – This holiday season, 12 thoughtful seriously ill children are working with Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada to provide toys to hospitalized sick kids across Canada. Each with the goal of raising $2,500, the Starlight children are being matched and supported by several generous sponsors and celebrity ambassadors. The campaign, aptly named “12 Kids of Starlight”, aims to raise a total of $30,000 for the charity.

          “Each year, thousands of children’s hospital beds are filled with kids who are too sick to go home for the holidays or celebrate with their families and loved ones. Kids who may not have a chance to celebrate another holiday,” says Starlight Canada executive director Brian Bringolf. “The donations received over the next month will help Starlight bring a bit of normalcy, comfort and joy to over 100 children’s wards this holiday season.”

          Joining the 12 children (listed below) in their impressive philanthropic efforts are a number of generous sponsors who have agreed to match funds raised by each child. Sponsors include Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, iFinance, Access Storage, CANADALEND.COM, Serve Construction Ltd., Alutron Modules, Magen Boys, Gluckstein Lawyers, Hunter Dental, and grand prize sponsor Air Canada Foundation.

          Additionally, many well-known Canadians are showing their online support for the 12 Starlight kids including Rick and Angie Campanelli, Ann Kaplan (Real Housewives of Toronto), Hilary Farr (Love It or List It), Simone Denny (Love Inc.), Cindy Sampson (Private Eyes) and many more.

          Interested donors to the 12 Kids of Starlight campaign can visit https://12kids.starlightcanada.org/ for more information. For each $10 donation, names are entered in a prize pool draw which includes exclusive items such as two Economy Class return tickets for any scheduled Air Canada destination in North America, including Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean; 14K Yellow Gold Diamond Earrings; an Ultimate Day of Golf package from Lebovic Golf Club and many more.

           

          Meet the 12 Kids of Starlight (view photos by clicking here)

          Alisha

          Alisha was born not breathing and without a heartbeat for a staggering 26 minutes. This led to multiple organ failure and brain damage. As a result, Alisha has had 33 anaesthesia’s, a lot of daily medication and a g-tube to be fed at night. She has also received a kidney transplant. Alisha has spent 4 Christmases and birthdays in hospital. Through Starlight, Alisha gets some breaks from her worries so she can just have fun!

          Qadim

          Qadim has Angelman’s syndrome, a neurological condition which affects coordination, cognitive development, and speech. Although he is non-verbal and requires many days in the hospital each year, Qadim is rarely without a smile on his face and is keen to always help other people. Through Starlight, Qadim has seen a whole new, accessible side of life and loves every adventure he goes on!

          Avery

          Avery was born at just 28 weeks gestation and immediately spent the first three months of her life in the NICU. During those first few days she had a major brain bleed which led to fluid on the brain and the development of spastic hemiplegia – a form of cerebral palsy. Now, a huge Shawn Mendes fan and a girl discovering her passions, Avery turns to Starlight to help her have fun days out in between her hospital visits.

          Delainey

          Delainey was born with a rare chromosome abnormality: Full Trisomy 13 / Patau syndrome. With just a 10% chance of surviving to her first birthday, now 7-years-old Delainey is defying all the odds. She was super excited to see Barbie + Fashionistas Wheelchair doll released this year, and with the help of her family, is spreading the word that inclusivity and representation in toys is vital for the critically ill community!

          Madison

          Madison has cerebral palsy and nephrotic syndrome. Her life has been filled with appointments, therapies, surgeries and doctors appointments. Being a part of Starlight’s programs, ensures that Madison and her family have time to spend together, to have a break from the treatments, and be around other families going through similar situations as themselves.

          Mia

          Mia has the degenerative and chronic condition cystic fibrosis, which causes thicker, stickier mucus than usual to accumulate in many vital organs of the body. Despite this disease having no cure, a strict daily medication schedule and an inability to meet people with the same condition due to the risk of cross infection, Mia lives life to the fullest and ensures she can have fun with Starlight through our programming.

          Cole

          Cole has an unknown form of Muscular Dystrophy, severe scoliosis, a single kidney, deafness in his left ear, asthma and a feeding tube. Despite this plethora of illnesses, Cole finds ways to do everything that his friends are able to do, including racing in cars at Starlight’s Drive 4 Smiles event! Cole constantly proves to people that no matter what obstacles lay in your way, you can still live life to the fullest!

          Cori

          Cori has a lesion in her brain which causes seizures and sudden paralysis. Not knowing when an attack will occur or what side effects her endless medications will bring, her illness limits a lot of fun in life. But with Starlight’s accessible events and not taking ‘no’ for an answer when it comes to inclusion, Cori knows she’s not alone when she meets other people who have similar challenges to her.

          Ella

          Ella was both with a heart defect called transposition of the great arteries. Though 9 heart surgeries before the age of 5, this young girl has to take lots of medication each day. Despite all this, Ella always has a smile for everyone. Being the 2018 Starlight Bear designer, she loved showing people ‘Sparkles’ and help raise awareness for the heart community.

          Joshua

          Joshua has been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and juvenile arthritis, meaning that every day he experiences pain and aching in his joints, hyper-mobility and has no idea when his joints might dislocate and cause him pain. After experience a Once In A Lifetime wish with Starlight, where he was completely pain free for a week, Joshua is making it his mission that all sick children can smile and feel the happiness he does with Starlight!

          Tristan

          Tristan was diagnosed with DIPG at three years old – cancer of the brain stem, an almost non-survivable diagnosis. In his last months, Starlight granted Tristan his wish of playing the newest Pokémon game before its release, along with a whole truckload of toys. Tristan passed away in June 2018, but today, his parents fundraise for Starlight to both raise awareness and grant other children opportunities like this.

          Sarah

          Sarah was first diagnosed with leukemia in October 2012. Despite numerous rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, she has unfortunately relapsed three times, fighting this illness again now for the fourth. Throughout her journey, Starlight has provided Sarah and her family with day trips and events that help them remember better days, and look forward to the next one coming up.

          About Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada

          Starlight Children’s Foundation® Canada does what no medicine can do: create priceless smiles and memories for seriously ill children and their families. For over 30 years, Starlight Canada has been spreading joy to sick kids across the country through a unique blend of hospital to home programs designed for the whole family. With your help, together we can create more magic in-hospital, grant more wishes out-of-hospital and spread more sparkles across Canada!

          You can keep up to date with Starlight smiles and support our mission by visiting www.starlightcanada.org, following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and subscribing to our YouTube channel.

            Fashion Retailer and Canadian Charity Team Up to Bring Designer Hospital Gowns to Sick Children Over the Holidays

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            The Ardene Foundation and Starlight Children’s Foundation™ Canada bring the comfort and fashion of the WARD + ROBES program to over 100 Canadian hospitals

             

            TORONTO, ON - This holiday season, the Ardene Foundation, the dedicated charity organization of fashion retailer Ardene, has pledged to bring Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada’s globally recognized WARD + ROBES program to over 100 hospitals across Canada. The Starlight Children’s Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to creating priceless smiles and memories to seriously ill children and their families. Its WARD + ROBES program is an initiative that provides stylish and unique hospital gowns to sick children, helping them feel more empowered while in the hospital.

            The WARD + ROBES gowns, designed by Toronto fashion house Notion Mfg., are 100% Canadian-made, with fabric that exceeds hospital grade standards. Design features include pockets for monitors, four ties for full back coverage and access areas for IVs and ports. With over 20 ever-changing unique designs, the WARD + ROBES gowns are fashioned to cater to a variety of interests for hospitalized teens, one of the most underserved patient populations.

            In 2016, Starlight Canada began offering WARD + ROBES to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in partnership with Rethink Canada. This year, Ardene Foundation’s significant contribution to the program will make the gowns available in hospitals across all 10 Canadian provinces, just in time for the holidays.

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            “The holidays are often seen as a time of celebration and cheer, however many of our Starlight children will be spending them within the confines of a hospital room, fearful for what the future may bring,” says Starlight Canada executive director Brian Bringolf. “WARD + ROBES help seriously ill children regain a sense of identity during uncertain times. Through the generous support of the Ardene Foundation, our Starlight kids can find a reason to smile through a particularly difficult and isolating hospitalization period.”

            “Ardene and Starlight have worked together for several years, and we continue to be proud of our ongoing partnership. The [Ardene] Foundation’s goal is to fuel the dreams of future generations and shape a better world. By supporting the WARD + ROBES program, we hope to inspire a sense of confidence, joy, and hope for children and teens in need.” says Ardene Foundation Director Mark Dervishian.

            Over the past five years, the Ardene Foundation has contributed over a million dollars for Starlight Canada’s in and out-of-hospital programming. Along with being the National Sponsor of Starlight Canada’s WARD + ROBES, Ardene annually sponsors a number of other Starlight initiatives including: the Starlight/Ardene Room at Montreal Children’s Hospital (a beautifully designed and fun-filled playroom, created to get kids through long, boring and scary hospital stays); Great Escapes Wishes (a variety of exclusive events, including screenings, harbour cruises, holiday parties, sporting events, picnics and more); Fun Centers (Internet-ready, sanitized, mobile entertainment units featuring a flat-screen, gaming system and digital games and movies for all ages) and fundraising events such as the Starlight Gala, Ski-A-Thon and Tea & Tiaras.

            Also over the month of December, Ardene is conducting a nation-wide, in-store fundraising campaign, in which holiday shoppers can donate $1 at checkout to Starlight Canada’s WARD + ROBES program. To help support Ardene in their pledge to bring happiness to hospitalized children this holiday season, make a donation at one of their 300 Canadian locations: https://www.ardene.com/ca/en/stores/

            About Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada

            Starlight Children’s Foundation® Canada does what no medicine can do: create priceless smiles and memories for seriously ill children and their families. For over 30 years, Starlight Canada has been spreading joy to sick kids across the country through a unique blend of hospital to home programs designed for the whole family. With your help, together we can create more magic in-hospital, grant more wishes out-of-hospital and spread more sparkles across Canada!

            You can keep up to date with Starlight smiles and support our mission by visiting www.starlightcanada.org, following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and subscribing to our YouTube channel.

            About Ardene

            Ardene is the ultimate value fashion destination in North America and beyond. With 350+ stores in Canada, an expanding international presence, and a growing e-commerce business at ardene.com, the company is inspired by the ever-changing world of its customers. Ardene believes that fashion shouldn’t be exclusive or intimidating – it should be real, and it should be celebrated with youthful confidence and fearless enthusiasm. The company’s mission is to connect with customers by offering unique and inspiring fashion experiences at the best prices.

            About Ardene Foundation

            The Ardene Foundation is Ardene’s dedicated charity organization, committed to community initiatives and social responsibility. The Foundation’s mission is to inspire meaningful change in the realms of empowerment, poverty, education, and health by leveraging the strength of the Ardene community. Their ultimate goal is to make a positive local and global impact that improves lives and fuels the dreams of future generations.

            Learn more about The Ardene Foundation by visiting www.ardenefoundation.org.

             

              35th Toronto AIDS Candlelight Vigil Looks To ‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’

              The annual event commemorating and celebrating the lives of those who have passed from AIDS and AIDS related illnesses will take place at Barbara Hall Park on June 18, 2019 at 9 p.m. 

              TORONTO, ON (May 22, 2019) – When sundown hits on Tuesday, June 18, 2019, hundreds of LGBTTIQQ2S+ community members will gather at the 35th annual Toronto AIDS Candlelight Vigil in Barbara Hall Park (519 Church Street, Toronto) to honour the lives of those who have passed from AIDS or AIDS related illnesses, or have given their lives in the fight against HIV/AIDS. This year’s vigil theme, ‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’ will provide a retrospective look back through time at the multitude of loss, journey and suffering in the HIV/AIDS movement, to innovate advocacy and activism.

              “Each year, we come together to care, support and advocate for all communities affected by the virus,” says Karen Cohen, AIDS Vigil Committee of Toronto Co-Chair. “Since inception, the AIDS Candlelight Vigil has served as the annual community event for people living with HIV/AIDS, along with friends, family, allies and the broader communities to honour the lives lost to the disease and celebrate those who live with the virus.”

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              It is estimated that six people in Canada become newly infected with HIV everyday. Over 20,000+ people have been diagnosed with HIV in Toronto since 1985, and it is estimated that about 10,000+ people are currently living with HIV in Toronto.

              This year’s vigil will be hosted by Amutha Samgam and Kerolos Saleib, and will include performances from drag artists Jezebel Bardot and Jade Elektra, Les Chiclettes’ Nathalie Nadon and spoken word artist Bryan Deresti. The event will close with a reading of the names of those who have passed from HIV/AIDS or AIDS related illnesses, followed by a candle lighting ceremony. The names read prior to the candle lighting ceremony will be engraved on the long-standing AIDS Memorial in the heart of Barbara Hall Park.

              About Kerolos Saleib (Kero):

              Kero was diagnosed with HIV in 2007, and after a long period of struggling with substance use and homelessness, he regained a strong sense of purpose after spending two years involved in local HIV and AIDS organizations in Kenya. From the time he moved back to North America until now, Kero has become a leading voice of change in LGBTQ Middle Eastern communities affected by HIV and AIDS. In 2012, Kero was recognized by the White House and the Historic Society of D.C. as one of the country’s heroes among 200 others, including the late Martin Luther King, Jr.

              About Amutha Samgam:

              Amutha is a member of Board of Directors for the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention (ASAAP), Asian Community AIDS Services (ACAS), AIDS Committee of York Region (ACYR) and Myrmex Non-Profit Housing. Samgam also volunteers for the Teresa Group advisory board, providing much-needed support to people living with HIV and to those who are parenting children and youth living with and affected by HIV. In 2006, Amutha also worked as a Visa Entry Coordinator at the International AIDS Conference, to facilitate a hassle-free welcome for international delegates coming from countries where HIV is endemic.

              About The Toronto Candlelight AIDS Vigil: 

              The AIDS Candlelight Vigil is an open community event held annually at the AIDS Memorial to remember, honour and celebrate the people who have died of AIDS or AIDS related illnesses, or who have given their lives in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Every year, thousands of candles are lighted to honour and remember those who have died, and to encourage and support the tens of thousands of others who live with this disease every day.

              The Vigil embraces diversity, accepting and respecting people of all cultures, faiths, traditions and communities. The Vigil welcomes all people who have been infected or affected by HIV/AIDS and embraces anyone who has experienced a loss or losses due to HIV/AIDS.

              Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AIDSVigilTor

              Twitter: https://twitter.com/AIDSVigilTor
              Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aidsvigilto/
              Hashtag: #AIDSVigil

               

              For media accreditation, photos or interview requests, please contact: 

              Cory Stewart | Embrace Disruption PR
              p: 647.638.1586 | e: cory@embracedisruption.com

                Canada’s Best Wellness Retreat Celebrates 25 Years in Service with Inaugural Winter Spa Festival

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                Grail Springs Retreat Centre for Wellbeing to offer new, unique and transformative travel experiences from February 9th – March 9th, 2019 in celebration of milestone anniversary

                TORONTO, ON (January 22, 2019) – On the heels of their 25th anniversary, Grail Springs Retreat Centre for Wellbeing (2004 Bay Lake Road, Bancroft, Ontario) has once again been named winner of Canada’s Best Wellness Retreat for the third consecutive year, by the World Spa Awards, which acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across the rapidly evolving spa and wellness sector. In celebration of this milestone anniversary and award, the celebrated retreat announces Winter Spa Fest, a special offering for upcoming guests (outlined below), catering to the improvement of visitor’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

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                As a special thank you, during the period of February 9, 2019 to March 9, 2019, visitors of Grail Springs’ first ever Winter Spa Fest will receive  25th anniversary themed incentives such as 25% off all spa treatments, $25 spa tastings (anything from a back, neck and shoulder massage by the fire, a relaxing foot massage to Reiki), snowshoe excursions to their crystal outcrop meditation area, evening walks by lantern across the lake, campfires with Mayan hot chocolate chili and much more. The retreat will also be introducing their new aromatherapy product line ‘Grail Alchemy’ made from the beautiful waters of their spring-fed lake.

                “25 years ago, during a blackout caused by a winter storm, we received our very first paying guests at what is now known as Grail Springs Retreat Centre for Wellbeing. The building was under construction and we were in the final phases of painting, tiling, putting in carpets and receiving deliveries of furniture,” says Founder & CEO, Grail Springs Retreat Centre for Wellbeing’s Madeleine Marentette. “At approximately 8 p.m., a convoy of lights were seen coming down our driveway. It was several Hydro One trucks and personnel looking for a place to lay their heads. All from out of town, they had heard there was a chance we could house them as all other accommodations were full. With only mattresses on the floor, they cared not. We scurried to find the new sheets, blankets and pillows (in the dark) and lo and behold made our first dollar. Grail Springs has been shining light in to people’s lives since the day it opened – during a blackout. I am so proud that Grail Springs has not only survived so much adversity and hardship itself, but is now a consistent and trusted lamp-stand for others who seek guidance in their health and wellbeing.”

                Recognized for their educational component and specialized treatment processes such as the Cleanse and Energize Program and their signature Life Transformation Program, Grail Springs welcomes guests from all over the world to experience their healing alkaline waters, saunas, salt tubs and healing spa. From yoga, meditation and spiritual enrichment, to a full menu of healthy plant-based eating options, the full-service retreat offers cutting edge treatments, delivered by a dedicated staff of highly regarded coaches, instructors, healers and therapists.

                Setting the retreat apart from others is their unique environment which boasts a vital spring-fed lake and meditation installations such as a labyrinth, volcanic ash healing bed, and a unique equine meditation experience. The group also worked with a professional Geomancer to optimize the rich deposits of minerals of the area. The property highlights the crystals and granite rocks which leads to a unique crystal outcrop meditation area.

                No stranger to receiving accolades, Grail Springs will be adding their third World Spa award to an impressive list of recognition including Canadian Spa & Wellness Award Winner, Tripadvisor Traveler’s Choice Award, Tripadvisor Winner Certificate of Excellence and SpaFinder Best Body, Mind & Spirit Spa, among many others. With over 35% of guests returning annually for an average stay of 5 to 21 nights, Grail Springs has become a popular healing ritual for guests from around the globe.

                To read more about Grail Springs Retreat Centre for Wellbeing, please visit their website at: http://www.grailsprings.com

                 

                About Grail Springs Retreat Centre for Wellbeing:

                Located in the Mineral Capital of Canada, and the oldest exposed rock in the world, Grail Springs is close enough for an easy drive from Toronto International Airport, yet far enough to feel you have escaped to another world. With hundreds of acres of pristine forest, walking trails, crystal outcrop, abundant wildlife, meditation gardens and a curative spring-fed lake, individuals are inspired by the stunning natural beauty and are recharged by the potent healing environment that supports them.

                Website: https://www.grailsprings.com/

                Twitter: https://twitter.com/grailsprings

                Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GrailSpringsWellnessRetreat

                YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/MadeleineGrail

                Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/grailspringswellnessretreat/

                 

                For photos, interviews, media requests and additional information, please contact:

                Cory Stewart, EDPR, email: cory@embracedisruption.com, phone: 647.638.1586

                  Baby Dove Introduces New Personalized Product Gift Sets For Newborns

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                  TORONTO, ON (November 13, 2018) — Selecting the perfect gift for families with newborns just got easier: Baby Dove is excited to announce that Canadians are now able to order personalized baby care products for friends, family and loved ones through their new microsite, MyBabyDove.ca. The thoughtfully designed two product gift set contains a bottle of Baby Dove Rich Moisture Tip-to-Toe Wash (384ml) and Baby Dove Rich Moisture Lotion (384ml) and can be customized to include any baby’s name on its packaging. The set is exclusively available online and retails for $29.99 including standard shipping.

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                  “Our hope is to provide our customers with creative gift-giving options for their friends, family and loved ones throughout the holiday season and beyond,” says Andrew Dawson, Associate Brand Manager, Baby Dove. “A perfect offering for any occasion, the My Baby Dove gift set is a unique way to send love and care to families from coast-to-coast.”

                  The Baby Dove range has been specially created with caring baby products that go beyond mildness to replenish essential moisture and nutrients – keeping baby’s skin soft and moisturized. Created with no dyes, parabens, phthalates or sulphates, Baby Dove is made with 100% skin-natural nutrients and is PETA-Certified Cruelty-Free.

                  To purchase a My Baby Dove gift set, customers can visit MyBabyDove.ca and enter in any baby name along with a personal message. The gift set can be shipped to any address in Canada and retails for $29.99 and includes shipping and handling.

                  About Dove: 

                  Dove®, manufactured by Unilever, is the No. 1 personal wash brand nationwide. One in every three households uses a Dove® product, which includes beauty bars, body washes, face care, anti-perspirant/deodorants, body mists, hair care, styling aids. It also includes Dove® Men+Care™, developed specially for men, and Baby Dove®, developed specially for babies.  Dove® is available nationwide in food, drug and mass outlet stores.

                  For more information, photo or interview requests, please contact: 

                  Cory Stewart, Embrace Disruption PR, c: 647.638.1586, e: cory@embracedisruption.com

                    Boy Diagnosed With Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome To Receive Shopping Spree at Windsor Toys”R”Us, Canada Store

                    Starlight Children’s Foundation® Canada and Toys”R”Us, Canada will gift shopping sprees to over 10 seriously ill Canadian children to help them create much-needed positive memories away from the hospital.

                    WINDSOR, ON (November 8, 2018)- On November 20, 2018, Toys”R”Us, Canada in partnership with Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada, will provide eleven-year-old Colby, who was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (a connective tissue disorder) and suspected dysautonomia (a disorder that affects the autonomic nervous system), with a 3-Minute Dash shopping spree at a Windsor Toys”R”Us (3039 Howard Avenue, Windsor, Ontario, N8X 3T9). Starting at 7:00 a.m., Colby will have the chance to race through the store with his family and fill shopping carts with as many free toys as possible within a three-minute timeframe. The annual 3-Minute Dash program was designed to provide seriously ill children with much-needed positive memories away from the hospital.

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                    More about Colby

                    Colby has been struggling with his health from the young age of just 18 months old. Through his many symptoms, including low oxygen saturation, Bradycardia, Tachycardia, chronic pain, and cyanosis, doctors have had a hard time determining his many possible conditions. With the diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome just two years ago and a suspected dysautonomia diagnosis on the way, Colby and his family are doing their best to remain positive and embrace the fun moments in life. A big fan of the outdoors, Colby is looking forward to getting a new scooter and drone during his 3-Minute Dash.

                    The 3-Minute Dash program is donated by Toys”R”Us, Canada as part of their long-standing partnership with Starlight Canada and has been expanded to gift over 10 Canadian families with shopping sprees in Ottawa, Barrie and Toronto in Ontario; Langley and Kamloops in British Columbia; Edmonton, Alberta; Pembina, Manitoba; Regina, Saskatchewan; Laval and Lasalle in Montreal and St. John’s, Newfoundland. For the past five years, dash recipients have been randomly selected as part of an internal Starlight Canada contest, in which families are asked to share the details of their child’s care journey and submit them to their local Starlight programs coordinator for entry.

                    “On a day-to-day basis, we witness the bravery, strength and struggles that seriously ill children and their families face,” says Starlight executive director, Brian Bringolf. “Throughout the course of the calendar year, Starlight aims to provide distractive programming to make children smile and help families cope. We are beyond thrilled to have generous partners in Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us, who have helped us create initiatives like the 3-Minute Dash for our very deserving Starlight families.”

                    Over the past 20 years, Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us Canada have been and continue to be one of Starlight’s most involved and valued partners. Through in-store and online campaigns, 3-Minute Dashes, Presenting Sponsor of the Starlight Gala and donations to in and out-of-hospital programs, they have donated an incredible $19 million to Starlight and are extraordinary advocates of Starlight’s cause.

                    “We are proud to partner with Starlight and are delighted to bring 13 Starlight Dashes to communities across Canada this year,” says Melanie Teed-Murch, President, Toys”R”Us Canada. “At Toys”R”Us Canada, we believe that play is a right and we will champion the power of play for children across the country.  Play inspires endless possibilities of fun, imagination and wonder and for the families who take part in the shopping sprees, the Dashes offer their children much needed moments of playful escape on their journey.”

                    This year, in addition to the 3-Minute Dash, Toys”R”Us has made a commitment to sponsor several Starlight Canada initiatives including: 

                    • 85 Hospital Grants - Monetary funding to support distractive entertainment for hospitalized children.
                    • 10,500 ER Admit Kits - A variety of care products for children and parents during unexpected hospital stays.
                    • 7,000 Baby & Toddler Fun Kits - Cuddly toys and games to distract very young children during unpleasant hospital stays.
                    • Baby Resources for Hospitals Program – Supplying easy to sanitize crib mobiles and activity centers along with special infant seats to cover 100 Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) and Pediatric Intensive Care Units (PICU) across Canada.

                     

                    For more information, media accreditation to attend dashes, photos or interview requests, please contact:

                     

                    Cory Stewart, Embrace Disruption PR | cory@embracedisruption.com, 647.638.1586

                     

                    About Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada:

                    Starlight Children’s Foundation® Canada brightens the lives of seriously ill Canadian children and their families by bringing them joy, laughter and relief. For close to 30 years, Starlight Canada has spread millions of smiles to sick kids through a unique blend of family-centered programs and services from hospital to home. With your help, more kids and families will benefit from receiving a Starlight Comfort Kit in-hospital or relaxing at a Starlight Day Brightener out-of-hospital.

                    Support Starlight Canada’s work by visiting www.starlightcanada.org and by following Starlight on FacebookInstagram and Twitter and subscribing to our YouTube channel.

                    Hashtag: #StarDash

                    About Toys”R”Us, Canada:

                    Since 1984, Toys“R”Us Canada has been Canada’s leading dedicated specialty retailer of toys and baby products.  As Canada’s trend authority in toys and baby products, the company brings national brands, exclusive products, innovative loyalty programs and unique partnerships to Canadians at its 82 stores across Canada and through its e-commerce sites Toysrus.ca and Babiesrus.ca.  Committed to giving back to our communities, we focus our charity efforts on supporting children and their families whether enhancing resources and services, helping development through play or offering distraction and encouragement to seriously ill children.  Toys”R”Us Canada is a subsidiary of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited.  For store locations and convenient online shopping, visit www.toysrus.ca and www.babiesrus.ca.

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