For a sexy event, it wasn’t a sexy cause: oral health.
“It’s definitely something that needs a lot more awareness,” said Aaron MacFarlane, executive producer of the 2017 Sparkle Dental Charity Ball, held at the new Infinity Convention Centre.
The $175-a-ticket dinner featured a fashion show by Cantas Fashion, Redblacks cheerleaders doing their thang and lots of live music and entertainment. But, behind all the glitz and the glamour is McFarlane’s personal story of wanting to give back to the community.
The Sparkle Dental Charity Ball, now in its third year, has raised $20,000 over the past two years.
McFarlane, along with his two brothers, were raised by a single mom, Karen Ergus. She worked for more than 30 years as a dental hygienist and knew the importance of strong teeth and gums. “My brothers and I had the best oral health care,” said McFarlane.
McFarlane acknowledges that he was an at-risk youth, yet he managed to go to university and get a full-time job with the federal government. His mother went back to school, by the way, to become a lawyer. She was called to the bar last year and is now with Sicotte Guilbault LLP.
“I’m just trying to follow her lead but I can’t catch up,” joked McFarlane.
About one in every five people in Canada avoids visiting a dentist because they cannot afford the cost, according to a 2014 report by the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. In Ontario, the College of Dental Hygienists estimates that between two and three million people have not seen a dentist in the past year, mainly due to the cost.
The gala was emceed by Lianne Laing and Stefan Keyes from CTV Ottawa. Among those spotted in the crowd were professionals from Mann Lawyers and from MNP LLP accounting, tax and business and consulting firm, Watersedge Dental Laboratory president Robert Waters, and Palladium Insurance Financial Services president Tim Snelling. At the start of the night, he was seen glued to his cellphone, watching the final minutes of the Ottawa Senators’ playoff game.