Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation wins big at Welch LLP's Grand Casino

Fundraiser attracts 400-plus, raises money for cancer coaching and back-to-work programs for cancer survivors

Ottawa accountants got the chance to shed their reputation as cautious, risk-averse beancounters while hosting their popular Grand Casino: Betting Against Cancer charity event.

Welch LLP, an Ottawa-based, full-service public accounting firm, and several hundred of their closest friends were back at the Shaw Centre on Friday night to gamble (and hopefully win) in support of the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.

The fundraiser fell on the same night as Ottawa’s premier business gala, the Best Ottawa Business Awards, at the Westin. The BOBs night was originally slated for late November but had to be bumped up due to the limited availability of a key award recipient. On the bright side, the two events were only a hop, skip and jump away from each other, so many gala-goers were able to flit between the Shaw Centre and the Westin.

Attendees of the Grand Casino night each received $500 in funny money, or "Welch dollars", to use at various gambling tables and toward the purchase of raffle tickets.

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Jennifer Therrien, an associate at Kelly Santini LLP, and Colin Noble, senior account manager at BDC, try their luck at the blackjack table during Welch LLP's Grand Casino: Betting Against Cancer event, held at the Shaw Centre on Friday, November 16, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Bruce Raganold, director of business development at Welch LLP, with son Brad, wife Giselle Bergeron-Raganold, and son Josh, at the Grand Casino: Betting Against Cancer, held at the Shaw Centre on Friday, November 16, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From front, Welch LLP marketing team members Kyle Turk and Brittany Leach with Marlee Stein, along with Welch LLP managing partner Micheal Burch (doing a great job keeping his poker face) and Anas Kaadan (far right) pose with props in the party photo booth at Grand Casino: Betting Against Cancer, held at the Shaw Centre on Friday, November 16, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Rhonda Beck, Caitlin Crooks and her wife, 2018 Forty Under 40 recipient and chiropractor Sasha Hamid (Byward Chiropractic Clinic + Massage Therapy Centre), at the horse racing table at Welch LLP's Grand Casino: Betting Against Cancer, held at the Shaw Centre on Friday, November 16, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Proceeds were to be directed toward the cancer foundation’s unique coaching program to help people in the community whose lives have been touched by cancer, as well as its Return to Work program for cancer survivors.

Heading back to the office can be challenging, particularly when one is experiencing brain fog, fatigue and other side effects of chemotherapy, Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation vice president John Ouellette told OBJ.social.

The Return to Work program provides the necessary education and support to help cancer survivors create and implement a plan for themselves, so that they can get back to work and resume a productive lifestyle.

In the past, the casino night has raised a net total of between $30,000 and $40,000 each year for the cancer foundation. "We hope to continue this partnership for many years," said Ouellette.

WelchGroup Consulting president Candace Enman, who’s on the board of directors at the cancer foundation, was also among the 400-plus people in attendance.

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From left, Stephan May, managing director of WelchGroup Consulting, with his wife, Amanda, and Candace Enman, president of WelchGroup Consulting, with her husband, Chris Chartrand, at the Grand Casino: Betting Against Cancer, held at the Shaw Centre on Friday, November 16, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation vice president of philanthropy, John Ouellette, with the eldest of his three daughters, Elodie, 16, and his wife, Rachel Amyotte, at the Grand Casino: Betting Against Cancer benefit held at the Shaw Centre on Friday, November 16, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Welch LLP partner Jim McConnery, centre, is flanked by Matt Jacques, left, and Jim Carty, both with Cresa Ottawa (and both former boxers in the Fight for the Cure white-collar charity boxing event for the cancer foundation) at the Grand Casino: Betting Against Cancer event, held at the Shaw Centre on Friday, November 16, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Welch LLP managing partner Micheal Burch was on hand to welcome guests and sponsors to the party, which was organized by the firm’s marketing team. Deserving of a special mention was Kyle Turk, the firm’s director of marketing and communications. “Kyle was instrumental in starting all of this,” said Burch, referring to the casino night.

Alas, it was with great regret that Burch announced Turk was leaving Welch at the end of the year. The 2018 Forty Under 40 recipient is joining one of Ottawa’s fastest-growing companies, Keynote Group, a human resources and recruiting firm, as its vice president of marketing. Keynote Group's CEO and co-founder, James Baker, was at the event.

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From left, Andrew Godfrey, a law partner at Kelly Santini LLP, with Keynote Group CEO James Baker, at Welch LLP's Grand Casino fundraiser, with Kyle Turk, who is joining Keynote in the New Year. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Micheal Burch with Joanne Kudakiewicz, wealth advisor at Yorkville Asset Management, and Jozsef Petroczi, a manager at the Shaw Centre, one of the sponsors of the Grand Casino: Betting Against Cancer evening, held at the Shaw Centre on Friday, November 16, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips

There was also a silent auction. It featured such items as a private brewery tour for 20 with Brew Donkey and an acoustic guitar signed by famed Canadian singer-songwriter Jim Cuddy and his band, who gave a stellar performance at Welch LLP's 100-year birthday bash in September, at the National Gallery of Canada.

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2018 Forty Under 40 recipient Michael Williams, a partner in the Ottawa office of executive search firm Odgers Berndtson, with his wife, Claudia Williams, at Welch LLP's Grand Casino: Betting Against Cancer, held at the Shaw Centre on Friday, November 16, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Cleland Jardine Engineering Ltd. partner Brian Johnson with company co-founder Michael Cleland, along with TRUEdotDESIGN president Shelley True, and Christie Shayler, social media and event manager at TRUEdotDESIGN, at Welch LLP's Grand Casino: Betting Against Cancer, held at the Shaw Centre on Friday, November 16, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Jennifer Parr and Paul Giacomin, president at Collision Repair Experts Ottawa Gatineau, with Welch LLP partner Garth Steele and his wife, Cathy Steele, at Welch LLP's Grand Casino: Betting Against Cancer, held at the Shaw Centre on Friday, November 16, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Welch LLP's Grand Casino: Betting Against Cancer returned to the Shaw Centre on Friday, November 16, 2018 to raise funds for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. Photo by Caroline Phillips

— caroline@obj.ca