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Music big draw for ticket winners

By Lorraine Graves

Published 4:42 PDT, Fri May 25, 2018

Last Updated: 2:12 PDT, Wed May 12, 2021

When The Sentinel’s production manger, Jaana Bjork, phoned to let her know she had won a pair of tickets to the Arthritis Research Canada (ARC) Soirée at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver’s The Roof on May 17, Richmond piano teacher, Victoria Warfield was over the moon.

When our editor handed me a pair of tickets to ARC’s gala, I too was thrilled because I loved last year’s fundraiser and this year’s soirée didn’t disappoint.It was an evening of concert-quality entertainment in an intimate setting; a to-die-for silent auction; a stratospheric live auction with, for example, a dinner package at Le Crocodile going for thousands of dollars; a raffle for a $3,000 watch; all in the tasteful atmosphere of what was once called the Panorama Roof of the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.

It’s now called simply The Roof because the panorama is somewhat obscured as taller buildings have sprung up but there are still breathtaking views to be had of English Bay at sunset.

Warfield’s enthusiasm was primarily for the chance to see and hear Colin James perform live. It was up close and personal, a private concert by a master of his craft at the height of his abilities, Saskatchewan’s gift to the international world of blues rock. Playing in a style and quality familiar to those who love Eric Clapton, James held the assembled in his thrall.

James didn’t disappoint Warfield. Her joy was obvious. Her date for the night, husband Vlad Zachata, enjoyed himself too. Warfield’s life is music, both through her piano school Southport Piano Academy and through her work as president of the Richmond Branch of the BC Registered Music Teachers’ Association.

Zachata too is from a family with deep roots in our community. His company, Richmond Elevator, has been here since 1974.

We all sat together as we sampled and snacked our way around the delectable nibbles. We tasted Sunshine Coast organic caviar from sturgeon raised in onshore pens. The beef sliders were substantial and perfect for a meat-eater while the sushi and sashimi were velvety. The cheeses were not the usual fare, ranging from the exotic such as a brie-style cheese encased in to specialty aged offerings. The tasty bubbly was on offer from the moment one strolled into the room. The assorted red, white and rosé wines were flavourful, crisp and pleasing in that order. (Though the sampling was mainly done by others, I trust their palates and judgment on the wines.)

As I went home, with a smile on my face and sore feet unaccustomed to heels, I had the satisfaction of knowing everyone had a grand time, and more quality arthritis research is on the way thanks to the generosity of those who volunteered their time, talents and financial resources to help the ARC continue their life-changing work.

Formally called the ARThritis Soirée, it raised over $330,000 for arthritis research, research conducted throughout Canada that is funded by Richmond-based ARC. Their work is world-leading and well-respected. Scientific papers recently released by ARC scientists are cited by other researchers in their papers over a hundred times. Recent ARC research has shown that regular exercise helps keep arthritic joints healthy and limber, that it can be safer for your baby to keep taking your arthritis meds while pregnant, and rheumatoid arthritis can rob a person of over six years of their life unless effectively treated. A new project looks at what happens to the arthritic knees of joggers if they continue to run.

As much as the science is leading edge, bettering the lives of those with arthritis, ARC’s ultimate goal, as in cancer research, is not just effective treatment. It is a cure.

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