Successful and highly anticipated fundraiser for Renal Fund back for third year
By Heather Vita - August 29, 2018
The Greek Supper Club returns this year on Tuesday, October 2, with plans to raise additional funds to purchase new treatment chairs (pictured right) for patients undergoing dialysis in Sioux Lookout, Fort Frances and Thunder Bay.
It was during the second course of the first-ever Greek Supper Club, held back in 2016, that organizer Lisa Sandham was asked if it would become a yearly event. Without hesitation, she agreed.
Now, in its third year, this popular and highly-anticipated event, to be held on Tuesday, October 2, will bring together guests for an evening of fine dining with an expanded focus, highlighting the flavours and textures of Mediterranean cuisine. Once again, Chef Peter Minaki will be back in Thunder Bay, and is looking forward to a new collaboration with local Red Seal Chefs, Allan Rebelo from El Tres and Joe Sposato From Bight Restaurant and Bar. Chef Minaki said, “This year’s menu has gone beyond Greek or Greek-inspired dishes – we are taking inspiration from the entire Mediterranean – that’s Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, France and even elements of North Africa. I’m looking forward to serving these creative and delicious dishes at this event that I am proud to support.”
Guests of the Greek Supper Club will be treated to a feast of Mediterranean inspired dishes prepared by Chef Peter Minaki, along with local Red Seal Chefs, Allan Rebelo from El Tres and Joe Sposato From Bight Restaurant and Bar. Each course will be paired perfectly with wine from the Mediterranean by Certified Sommelier, Cale Graydon, for a delightful evening at Bight Restaurant and Bar.
Held previously at Bistro One, this year the event will have a new home at Bight Restaurant and Bar, where guests will also enjoy Mariner’s Hall as part of their experience. Bight’s Owner, Bianca Garofalo, is thrilled to host this year’s event. “We’re always looking for opportunities to be creative and support our community,” she said. “When Lisa approached me about being the location for this year’s event, she told me specifically about the focus on fundraising for renal services, and this struck a chord with me. To have a room full of people enjoying a great meal while raising as much money as we can - it seemed like a perfect evening to me.”
Upon entering Bight, guests of the Greek Supper Club will be treated to the sounds of Flamenco recording artist and composer Matt Sellick. Garofalo mentioned, “Having the right vibe in the room is important. Mediterranean cuisine is unpretentious – it’s about family and fun. Having Matt here will perfectly complement the dishes that will be served.”
Further complementing the food will be wines from the Mediterranean, expertly paired with each course thanks to Certified Sommelier Cale Graydon. “Greek wines, in particular, aren’t as well known,” explained Garofalo, “so having Cale here, finding those pairings that will enhance the flavours our Chefs have put together, will bring this experience to a whole other level.”
For her part, Sandham can’t believe the reception she’s received since she started planning for the event several years ago. With the goal of the event always having been to fundraise to provide new chairs for patients undergoing dialysis, Sandham has grown to see just how much of a need there is in Northwestern Ontario for renal care. “I have come in contact with so many who have been touched by renal disease,” she said. “My journey coordinating this event has been very educational and I share what information I have gained with whose with whom I speak.”
Sandham continued, “Most people don’t know that 1 in 10 people in Ontario will have some form of renal disease. At the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, 190 patients are treated each week – each coming 3-4 days/week for up to 4 hours of treatment. So it reaffirms for me how important our fundraising is for renal health in our region. We’ve been very successful thus far, with last year’s event itself raising over $21,000 and I certainly hope to exceed that this year. The team that puts this together, especially our generous sponsors from the business community, really need to be thanked, because they are making incredible changes in patients’ lives.”
Funds raised at this year’s Greek Supper Club will continue to be directed to the Renal Fund of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation, with funds specifically earmarked to purchase one treatment chair in each of the satellite dialysis clinics in Sioux Lookout and Fort Frances, along with the Hospital in Thunder Bay. These chairs are specifically designed for patients undergoing dialysis and include such features as upholstery that has antimicrobial and antimycotic properties. The chairs also can be adjusted electronically in multiple configurations for maximum patient comfort and feature a backrest that supports CPR.
“When my mother Francine was undergoing dialysis in the final years of her life, she remarked to me that she found the chairs quite uncomfortable, and that, if she ever won the lottery, she’d replace them all,” said Sandham. “Well, we’re on a mission to make that happen – and we may not have won the lottery, but thanks to the generosity of so many, we are making a tangible impact and I’m so glad that I got asked a few years ago if this event would continue on an annual basis. It’s amazing what can happen in a few short years. My mother would be so pleased to see the patients’ experiences improved and would be in awe at what our conversation inspired.”