Dragon Ball, one of the most premier charitable events in Toronto hosted by Yee Hong Community Wellness Foundation, celebrated its 30 th Anniversary tonight (Saturday) at Beanfield Centre.
More than 1200 guests attended this spectacular gala and welcomed the Lunar Year of the Pig.
This year’s Dragon Ball was supported by 32 organizations and 15 media partners, setting the highest record in the number of sponsors in the gala’s history. Along with funding the culturally appropriate services provided by Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care to seniors of various ethnic backgrounds, the proceeds will also support the Yee Hong Scarborough Hospice – the first residential hospice in Scarborough and the first to be built by the Chinese community in Canada.
Tonight’s gala drew participation from political, business and community leaders including Ms. Mary Ng, federal Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion; Ms. Christine Elliott, Ontario’s Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care; Dr Raymond Cho, Ontario’s Minister for Seniors and Accessibility; Ms Andrea Horwath, leader of the New Democratic Party of Ontario; Mr Tao Han, Consul General of China; Ms Emily Mo, Director of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Toronto). Federal MPs Shaun Chen, Jean Yip, Majid Jowhari; Toronto Mayor John Tory, Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti and Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie were also in attendance. Dr. Joseph Wong, Yee Hong Founder and Foundation Chair, said, “Dragon Ball was launched in 1990. Through these years, we have raised over $20 million net, enabling Yee Hong to become the largest non-profit geriatric care provider in Canada, serving tens of thousands of seniors every year with exemplary services.”“While our donors and sponsors are the source of those much-needed funds, we owe a debt of gratitude to the volunteers who over the years have made Dragon Ball so special,” he added. This year’s Golden Achievement Award was presented to two of Yee Hong’s most deserving volunteers:
Helena and Terry O’Connor. Over the past three decades, they have passionately contributed their time, talents and financial resources, while deflecting credit with humility. The dynamic couple continue to serve on Yee Hong’s Board of Governors.
Apart from being involved in Dragon Ball and other Yee Hong fundraising events, Helena and Terry, together with a group of dedicated volunteers, launched the Yee Hong “Unconditional Love” Quilt
Campaign. The project has raised an incredible $2.3 million so far. The Foundation also honoured 108 individuals who have contributed an extraordinary amount of their time and efforts to make Dragon Ball a successful fundraising event for the past 30 years. In a book called “Memories of Dragon Ball” specially published to mark the occasion, it says: “For their (volunteers’) commitment, they have our profound gratitude. Their good deeds have earned them a special place in the hearts of the people who matter most ….Our seniors.”Meteorologist Natasha Ramsahai and reporter Richard Southern of 680 NEWS were the masters of ceremonies at the gala. To celebrate this 30 th milestone Dragon Ball, the Sunny Tang Performance Team (“Wushu by Storm”) choreographed a very special Dragon Dance that involved 30 kungfu performers and the use of LED lights. The Chinese Collective Arts Association then showcased an elegant Chinese New Year folk dance “Joyful Petals” to welcome the Lunar New Year. Thereafter, Hong Kong’s world champion “Team SLASH” took the centre stage and wowed the guests with a fantastic rope skipping demonstration. Other highlights of the entertainment included the stunning “Flame of Passion” Flamenco dance show by Kulkat and Dance DNA, with a Flamenco dancer wearing a 40-square-metre skirt; a ballroom dance by 11-year-old Andrew Timchenko and 10-year-old Barbara Smodleva; and the fabulous “The Mask” dance by three Latin duos. The feature performance of the night was the gorgeous opera piece presented by Canadian Opera Company (COC) Ensemble Studio. The three performers included Lauren Eberwein
(Soprano), Simona Genga (Soprano), and Rachael Kerr (Pianist). Along with the entertainment, guests feasted their eyes and taste buds on an extraordinary culinary experience. Besides the four-course dinner, guests enjoyed a myriad of delicacies at the pre-dinner reception. This year’s catering sponsors included Gushi, Green Grotto, Hcafe, Hui Lau Shan, Sky Dragon, Kobe Teppanyaki and BBQ, Yu Seafood, Yu Steam Pot and more. Chinese New Year lucky food and dumplings; Cantonese-style congee were offered at the post-dinner buffet, which also included desserts from 7-Cake Boutique, and drinks from Chatime and Marathon Donut and Café.
While feasting and mingling, guests were also drawn to the wide array of unique and luxury items at the live and silent auctions. This year’s auctions featured more than 300 items that included a 4.75 Carat Royal
de Versailles Diamond Choker, a luxury Safari tour package to Kenya & Tanznia, a Made-to-Measure Ermenegildo Zegna “Experience”, a bottle of 2002 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon, and a “Benevolent Dragon” Pure Silver Coin . Other auction items included an “On Ice” Riesling Wine with a Ultimate Winery Tour Package donated by Patrick Chan, the luxury fashion items donated by a well-known Hong Kong actress Rosamund Kwan, and Miss Hong Kong Anne Heung. Helen Ching-Kircher, Dealer Principal, President & CEO of DFC Auto Group/Audi Uptown, also presented an Audi A3 car to Dr. Joseph Wong. This new $41,000 Audi A3 sedan is the grand prize for the 2019 Yee Hong Dragon Raffle, which was launched last December. The second prize is a trip for two to Las Vegas donated by Tour East Holidays. Raffle tickets are on sale now for $20 each. David Maung, a co-chair of Dragon Ball 2019, said, “Thirty years of Dragon Ball is an incredible achievement. It is a estament to the extraordinary support Yee Hong has received over the last three decades from sponsors, donors, volunteers and staff. “
Sue Tang, the other co-chair of Dragon Ball 2019, said,“Since our first long-term care home opened in 1994, Yee Hong has been a model of excellence in culturally-appropriate senior care.
Today, Yee Hong operates four long term care centres and a wide range of community support services, but it is not enough.”She added, “We have already started our next wave of expansion including Yee Hong Scarborough Hospice and two more centres in Mississauga and Scarborough to meet the needs of an increasingly aging population. Please show your support generously to help more seniors and those of needs.”
In addition to “Prosperity Sponsor” Bank of Montreal, “Dragon Raffle Sponsor” Audi Uptown, “Imperial Sponsor” Manulife, and “Pearl Sponsor” Floors@Work, other major sponsors include MediSystem, Tridel, TD, Aga Khan Museum, Shangri-La Hotel (Toronto), Delta Air Lines, Tour East Holidays, and Hanson Canada. Media partners include OMNI, 680 NEWS, The New Classical FM, and Sing Tao Media, etc.