Vibrant colours, whimsical decor and Dr. Seuss-like characters will transport guests of the 2020 For the Kids Gala, presented by BLG to a land of imagination alongside some CHEO patients looking to inspire the crowd. 

Planned and hosted by the CHEO Foundation, the annual gala is a highly anticipated fundraiser for development and rehabilitation services at CHEO, the local children's hospital. The unit offers services and support for children and youth who have injuries, physical or mental disabilities, complex care needs, degenerative conditions and developmental delays. With CHEO's help many children who face life-long conditions will learn to enjoy and participate in their lives to the fullest of their potential.

"We work with businesses to develop this gala and to give them the chance to meet the families they're helping," says Chantal Charbonneau, director of annual giving and employee engagement at the CHEO Foundation.

Previously known as the For the Kids Auction under the auspices of the Ottawa Children's Treatment Centre – which merged with CHEO in 2016 – the event has grown to become a huge hit for guests and patients alike.

This year's gala, which takes place Wednesday, April 1 at the Infinity Convention Centre, will feature an online silent auction, networking, a gourmet three-course dinner and live music performed by former CHEO patients and their siblings. Sticking with this year's theme of "imagine," there will also be a raffle in which guests will have the chance to win a bucket-list trip to a destination of their choosing as well as a fashion show starring some of the children currently being cared for by development and rehabilitation at CHEO, such as Mikayla House. 

Mikayla is the gala's 2020 champion and has been a CHEO patient since birth. She has made strides in her development, and was recently featured in a CTV Ottawa story about the hospital's school program, a fundamental service that benefits from fundraising events like this:

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