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Published on Apr 17, 2012
The Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) held its annual fundraiser recently at the Place des Arts and while the legendary Beach Boys were the headliners, an unknown woman from the audience named Rhona Fainman turned out to be the true star of the evening.
Before the featured act took the stage, community leader Ross Paperman came to the stage to oversee a live auction for a trip to Los Angeles. His goal was to obtain a bid of $9,000. When action heated up and $10,000 was on the table, a small voice from the crowd shouted out "$18,000" (the number 18 symbolizes good luck in the Jewish community). "I was so shocked that I invited her on the stage," Paperman told me. "When this woman came up she whispered in my ear that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer that morning. I asked if I could tell the crowd and she agreed. The audience gave her a five minute standing ovation."
Paperman then challenged the audience to join him in raising another $18,000 to bring the total to $36,000. "I was yelling, 'stand up stand up and be counted.' Then something absolutely extraordinary happened. More than 60 people stood up. It was like a scene out of a movie. As a matter of fact, the next day people were calling in with donations after hearing about what they missed. One thousand people that evening shared a moment in time. I'm so fortunate to have been able to help facilitate this moment. I went along for the ride. It was the most amazing moment I ever had on stage. This anonymous woman became the face of hope and support. It was magic."
ICRF Montreal Executive Director Arlene Silver said the event raised more than $700,000 for cancer research. Rhona Fainman will be operated in May and a whole lot of people will be praying for her.