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Tonight We Rise: Right To Play’s Heroes Gala

Fundraising gala to honour inspiring leaders, including NBA World Champion and Right To Play Athlete Ambassador Pascal Siakam

Toronto, Canada, Oct. 08, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- This year, Right To Play is recognizing three exceptional talents and long-time supporters of Right To Play: NBA World Champion and Right To Play Ambassador, Pascal Siakam; President and Chief Executive Officer of Sun Life, Dean Connor; and Gowling WLG Counsel, Ralph Lean.

This year’s winners will be presented their awards during Right To Play’s sixth annual, signature fundraising event, honouring outstanding heroes doing extraordinary work to help children and youth rise above adversity. The event will feature special performances including Cirque du Soleil and a surprise legendary Canadian musical guest, as well as the presentation of Youth Leadership Awards to Danny Charles from Beecher Bay, British Columbia and Music For Development Participants in Lebanon. The Heroes Gala is made possible by Title Sponsor Sun Life.

Please see further event details below.

When: Thursday, October 17, 2019  
  Media Registration 6:30 p.m.
  Dinner and Evening Program 7:00 p.m.
  After Party 9:30 p.m.
Where: Metro Toronto Convention Centre  
  222 Bremner Blvd, South Building  
Who: Pascal Siakim, Right To Play Athlete Ambassador, Power Forward Toronto Raptors  
  Dean Connor, President & Chief Executive Officer, Sun Life  
  Ralph Lean, Counsel, Gowling WLG  
  Kevin Frey, CEO of Right To Play International  
  Danny Charles, Right To Play Community Mentor  

Media are asked to please check in at the media table upon arrival.

As part of this year’s fundraising efforts, Right To Play will be hosting its first ever Virtual Auction, launching in early October and culminating at the Heroes Gala. Items available for auction include a signed Steve Nash jersey, Niagara helicopter tour and wine experience at Château des Charmes for two, four Raptors tickets in Sun Life’s gold seats, four signed Pascal Siakam Raptors jerseys and much more. Please visit to learn more. The auction will end at 11:59 p.m. on October 17th and all funds raised will support Right To Play’s programming around the world. 

For more information, please follow @RightToPlayCAN, #TonightWeRise and visit

About Right To Play
Right To Play is a global organization that protects, educates and empowers children to rise. We work with children in some of the most difficult and dangerous places on earth, helping them to stay in school and graduate, to resist exploitation and overcome prejudice, to prevent disease and to heal from war and abuse. For more than 20 years, we have delivered programs with impact in both development and humanitarian contexts. As pioneers in a unique approach to learning, both inside and outside of the classroom, we harness play, one of the most fundamental forces in a child’s life, to help children dismantle barriers and embrace opportunities. We are the only global development organization focused exclusively on using the power of play to transform children’s lives. 
We reach 2.3 million children each year in 15 countries around the world. By collaborating with teachers, governments, communities and parents, we unlock children’s potential, enabling them to make positive and healthy choices and to create better futures for themselves, their families and their societies.  In Canada, programming includes Youth To Youth (Y2Y), a Toronto-based peer-to-peer youth leadership program, and the Promoting Life-skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY) program, which partners with more than 85 Indigenous communities and urban organizations across Canada to co-develop play-based youth programs and focusses on improved health, education, resiliency, and employability.

About Sun Life 
At Sun Life, we are committed to building sustainable, healthier communities for life and we’re proud to hold the Caring Company designation from Imagine Canada. Community wellness is an important part of our sustainability commitment and we believe that by actively supporting the communities in which we live and work, we can help build a positive environment for our Clients, Employees, advisors and shareholders. Our philanthropic support focuses on two key areas: health, with an emphasis on diabetes awareness, prevention, care and research initiatives through our Team Up Against DiabetesTM platform; and arts and culture, through our award-winning Making the Arts More AccessibleTM program. We also partner with sports properties, including NBA Champions, the Toronto Raptors, in key markets to further our commitment to healthy and active living. Read more about Sun Life in the community.

Media contact information:

Right To Play Sun Life
Rebecca Cuthbert Yasna Criscione
Marketing and Communications Officer, Canada Manager, Corporate Communications 
+1 (416) 203-0190 x 305 416-204-8110


Rebecca Cuthbert
Right to Play
416 203 0190 ext. 333