McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Comedians lead laughter to raise funds for spinal cord research

by Suzanne Morrison
Published: January 22, 2008
Patrick McKenna
Patrick McKenna

McMaster University scientists are part of a global effort that’s inching its way towards finding a cure for spinal cord injuries.

Hand-in-hand with their initiatives, entertainers and patients themselves are planning events whose proceeds will support spinal cord injury awareness, education and research.

Innovative researchers have successfully restored mobility in spinal cord injured lab mice but funding is urgently need to move into clinical human trials and translate research into treatment.

A major fundraiser will be held on Saturday, Feb. 2, when Patrick McKenna, a Gemini award-winning actor best known for the Red Green Show and Traders, will present Patrick McKenna & Friends — a special night of comedy and music at the Burlington Convention Centre, 1120 Burloak Drive, Burlington, Ont.

The evening will feature comedians Cathy Jones (This Hour Has 22 Minutes), Deb McGrath (Little Mosque on the Prairie), Peter Keleghan (Billable Hours, Newsroom) and singer Tom Wilson of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings.

It’s billed as a night of surprises and laughter with a 6 p.m. reception and 7 p.m. dinner and show. Tickets are $125 each. Call 905-714-4308.

McKenna is honourary chair of the Golden Horseshoe Marathon (GHM) team which consists of five paraplegics who marathon using regular wheelchairs to raise funds for research.

Every September, the team wheels from Niagara to Toronto, completing over 212 kilometres in five days and raising funds for spinal cord research at McMaster. McKenna joins them in Hamilton and Toronto, using a wheelchair for their 2 km community challenge events.

To celebrate the GHM team’s 10th anniversary, three of its members plan to hand-cycle across Canada, starting their "Wheel to Walk" journey in Vancouver in June and ending in St. John’s. Their goal is to raise both awareness of spinal cord injury and funds for education and research through the Spinal Neurorestorative Society.

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