Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery

Kids Curing Cancer presents sold out fundraiser



By Ron Giofu


A sold out crowd at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery packed the house in support of Kids Curing Cancer (KCC) over the weekend.

KCC, spearheaded by the Baillargeon family, featured live music by the family as well as head shaving, a pasta dinner, door prizes, a live auction and more, all in support of eradicating cancer. This year’s proceeds, as they were last year, will be donated to the Fight Like Mason Foundation.

Chantelle Bacon and Ian Macri, parents of Mason Macri, presented Lauren, Ty and Kierstyn Baillargeon with hockey jerseys from the Fight Like Mason Foundation last Saturday night. Kids Curing Cancer held its annual fundraising dinner at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery.

The dinner raised $8,454 with the final total for this year from all events to be known in the coming weeks. Other events included the AMHA Hockey Day, the AMBA Baseball Day, T-shirt sales and musical events.

Lauren Baillargeon, a Grade 9 student at General Amherst High School, helped found KCC with the help of her family in memory of her maternal grandfather Dan Gerard. She said the public rallied behind the pasta dinner fundraiser again this year.

“We had so much support again this year,” said Baillargeon, noting auction items included an autographed Zack Kassian stick and a signed Michael DiPietro Team Canada jersey. “We could hardly do it without the support of everyone.”

There were also over 150 door prizes, she said.

“It’s pretty overwhelming to see how one family can bring all of these other families together in one room to celebrate this one night,” she said. “It’s keeping grandpa’s memory alive.”

The Baillargeon family took to the stage to perform the music while Lauren’s younger brother Ty had his head shaved for the cause. Her sister Kierstyn was also part of the band. Baillargeon said the Fight Like Mason Foundation, started in memory of Mason Macri, is a great cause.

As for who might be next year’s charity of choice, Baillargeon said that is yet to be determined.

Geordie Johnston (left) shaves off some of Ty Baillargeon’s hair during
Saturday night’s Kids Curing Cancer dinner at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery. The event raised about $8,454 with the haircut alone earning $240.

“We have someone in mind but it’s still undetermined,” she said.

As for how her grandfather would react if he saw what was going on, Baillargeon said “I think he’d be proud.” She said six cardinals landed on the roadway on their way into Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery last Saturday and they took that as a sign that he is watching over them.

“That was touching just to see that,” said Baillargeon.

Mason Macri, for whom the Fight Like Mason Foundation was started in memory of, died of a form of childhood cancer in June 2016 at age four. His parents – Ian Macri and Chantelle Bacon – were also at the fundraiser with Ian stating proceeds from KCC helped them assist other children with paediatric cancer. He noted they met the “three amazing (Baillargeon) kids” at a Tim Hortons in Essex and they have since become like family.

“Row Madness” sees Garage Gym team with local charity



By Ron Giofu


The Garage Gym is hosting its “Row Madness” event again this year and a scholarship started by a local woman will be the beneficiary.

The Addolorata De Luca Leadership (ADL) Scholarship was recently selected by The Garage Gym as the charity of choice Nov. 25 “Row Madness” fundraising event. The fundraiser will be held at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery from 12-6 p.m. this Sunday with the winery serving its product with G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. also scheduled to be on hand pouring their craft beer.

There will be music, drinks and The License to Sear food truck will be available to anyone who wants to come and support the competitors and the charity.

Cessidia DeBiasio, founder of the ADL Scholarship, said the ownership at the Garage Gym is very supportive of the community and believe in giving back. She said people can take part in groups or individually or they can just come out to support the cause and cheer the rowers on.

“All the money is directed to the scholarship,” she said. “It’s a great way to increase community awareness, comradery and teamwork.”

Individuals and teams will be completing 42,195m in a rowing marathon style. Participants are asked to each raise $100 in pledges. Top individual fundraisers and team fundraisers (teams consist of five individuals) will receive prizes. It will consist of members from The Garage Gym, located in Amherstburg and Kingsville, as well as community members.

DeBiasio stated the event is open to all skill levels, ages and strengths. She noted that 100 per cent of donations given to the ADL Scholarship are used to provide scholarships to deserving first or second generation Canadian student leaders at The University of Windsor.

“These students are giving back to our Windsor-Essex community and the University of Windsor,” she said.

DeBiasio is hopeful that this year’s “Row Madness” is as successful as last year’s event, as this is her first year as the charity of choice. Last year’s fundraising event, held by Garage Gym, hosted over 300 Garage Gym clients and community members and received “significant media attention,” she said. For more information on the

Event, please visit: www.facebook.com/theadlscholarship or www.facebook.com/thegaragegym.net.

Companies and individuals can also sponsor the event, with DeBiasio calling it “a great marketing tool” for them. She said when money is donated to a smaller charity like the ADL Scholarship, it has a great impact.

“The fact that (Garage Gym co-owner Tony Smith) is supporting a small, grassroots charity is amazing because it shows what type of leader he is,” said DeBiasio, who noted she was “over the moon” when she learned the ADL Scholarship was chosen. “It’s nice to see he really does help everyone.”

DeBiasio said she has been working on the ADL Scholarship for about three years and has raised $25,000, good for one scholarship thus far. She is hopeful of reaching at least $40,000 so that two scholarships can be awarded, but would be even happier to offer even more.

“The more money we raise, the more scholarships we can give out and the more students we can help,” she said.

To register a team, register as an individual, to get pledge sheets, or to get more information on joining another team, please e-mail nikki@thegaragegym.net. For more information or to learn about sponsorship opportunities, e-mail info@adlscholarship.com or nikki@thegaragegym.net.

For more information on the scholarship itself, visit www.adlscholarship.com. The public can keep up on the ADL Scholarship on Facebook @theadlscholarship and Instagram @theadlscholarship.



Local produce is key to live cooking demonstration



By Christian Bouchard


A live cooking demonstration was held at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery this past weekend.

Chef Billy Deslippe of Smashed Apple Trade Company performed a live, interactive cooking show for nearly 100 people. The award-winning chef created a four-course meal as he shared tips and tricks that can easily be used in anyone’s kitchen.

In addition to the food, guests were also treated to several varieties of wine offered at Sprucewood.

Chef Bill Deslippe of Smashed Apple Trade Co. cooks for a live audience at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery.

“The purpose behind (Smashed Apple Trade Company) is because a lot of people would ask Chef Bill for tips and tricks they can use in their own home,” said Patricia Acosta, the marketing director for Smashed Apple Trade Company. “They don’t need a chef’s kitchen or major cooking skills.”

According to Acosta, the demo is focussed on local food.

“Every (piece of) produce Chef Bill has today comes from the local area,” said Acosta. “We have such great produce and that’s one of Chef Bill’s secrets. Farm to table is the best.”

Acosta said the live cooking demonstrations are something new to Smashed Apple and also to Windsor-Essex, but they have received an overwhelming wave of support.

“Amherstburg is so supportive,” added Acosta. If we didn’t have this kind of support, we wouldn’t have ventured onto something like this. Everyone is so Amherstburg proud. When they see us do new things for the area they show their support by coming out.

“Country at Heart” helps pair of area charities



By Ron Giofu


A sold-out crowd of 250 people attended the second “Country at Heart” fundraiser with two area charities being the beneficiaries.

The Fight Like Mason Foundation and the Windsor Regional Hospital Foundation will be the recipients of the funds raised at Saturday night’s event at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery, with the whole evening being presented by the Dan Gemus Real Estate Team.

Gemus said that 100 per cent of what was raised is going to charity. He added that $23,000 was raised at the 2017 event and he is expecting at least that much, if not more, in 2018.

The Dan Gemus Real Estate Team used to have a charity yard sale annually but the manpower to operate it became too much. They changed their focus and decided to present a gala event, only one where they could enjoy themselves and remain casual at the same time. Since many on the team enjoy country music, “Country at Heart” was born.

Ashley Lynn and the Spurs were the headline performers at Saturday night’s “Country at Heart” fundraiser at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery. It was presented by the Dan Gemus Real Estate Team.

“We decided to do something that doesn’t call for us to dress up,” said Gemus.

Throughout the years, Gemus said they tried to direct their fundraising towards charities that don’t get as much attention as larger causes. The Windsor Regional Cancer Centre Foundation helped use funds towards renovating a third-floor ICU waiting room at the Met Campus, with that floor not getting as much fundraising dollars as other areas of the hospital, Gemus explained.

The Fight Like Mason Foundation, he added, is a newer charity that is helping to fight childhood cancer in memory of Mason Bacon-Macri. Mason’s parents Iain Macri and Chantelle Bacon founded the charity in Mason’s name after he died in June 2016 at the age of four.

“What (the Fight Like Mason Foundation) is doing is absolutely amazing,” said Gemus.

Iain said they vowed to Mason before he died that they would continue to fight childhood cancer and one of the ways they are doing it is through “power poles,” which are IV poles decorate with superhero themes. The “power poles,” whether they be used in the hospital or at home, are designed to help children with cancer feel at ease.

Bacon added that despite being a registered charity for a little less than one year, the Fight Like Mason Foundation has raised almost $150,000.

Attendees at “Country at Heart” dance to the music of Adam Butcher last Saturday night. The event was presented by the Dan Gemus Real Estate Team and held at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery.

Richard Vennettilli, president of the Windsor Regional Hospital Foundation, praised Gemus and his team for their efforts, noting the third-floor waiting room at the Met Campus wouldn’t have been renovated without proceeds from “Country at Heart.”

“He’s been doing amazing work,” Vennettilli said of Gemus.

Gisele Seguin, director of philanthropy at Windsor Regional Hospital, added “it’s wonderful what you are doing for patients and families.”

The evening featured a barbecue meal featuring ribs, chicken, potatoes and other “grub,” a dessert bar and musical performances by Adam Butcher and Ashley Lynn and the Spurs.

Kids Curing Cancer presents sold-out fundraiser



By Ron Giofu


It was a night that featured food, music and superheroes and, like in previous year’s, a local elementary school student helped organize it.

Kids Curing Cancer (KCC) returned Saturday evening with a new venue – Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery – and it drew a large crowd to support the cause. This year’s proceeds will benefit the Fight Like Mason Foundation, a charitable organization set up in memory of Mason Macri.

Macri succumbed to cancer June 27, 2016 when he was only four-years-old and the Fight Like Mason Foundation was created shortly thereafter.

“Everything is awesome. It’s just what we expected and more,” said Lauren Baillargeon, a Grade 8 student at Malden Central Public School who helped organize the event with the help of her family. “We are sold out at 250 tickets.”

As of Sunday night, the dinner raised over $7,000 with donations still coming in. Combined with other fundraisers, such as KCC’s recent “Hockey Day,” they have surpassed $12,000.

Ty, Lauren and Kierstyn Baillargeon stand with Mason Macri’s parents Chantelle Bacon and Iain Macri at Saturday night’s Kids Curing Cancer fundraiser at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery.

Kids Curing Cancer was started in memory of her grandfather Dan Gerard, who died of cancer in 2014. This year’s event was the fifth annual. It originally began when Baillargeon, with the help of her mother Jodi, helped make bracelets and ended up raising over $3,800.

“Everyone knows my grandpa. Everyone knows the hard work we are doing,” said Baillargeon. “People want to help as they have had someone who died or who went through cancer.”

The family never thought Kids Curing Cancer would grow like it has.

“I never thought it would get this big,” said Baillargeon. “I thought it would be one year of selling bracelets. That’s it.”

Baillargeon said they love their new venue, noting they had been there before for other events and came away impressed.

“We had no doubts about coming here,” she said. “It’s beautiful so why not stay here?”

Music has been a big part of their family with Baillargeon getting a love of music from her grandfather. That was demonstrated at the Kids Curing Cancer fundraiser when the family, including Jodi, Lauren, and Lauren’s siblings Ty and Kierstyn took to the stage.

“When you love what you do, it just kind of loves you back. My grandfather loved music and it loved him back,” said Baillargeon. “It’s part of what we do now. It’s become a tradition.”

Lauren Baillargeon and Kenneth MacLeod perform Saturday night.

The event saw over 100 door prizes donated.

“It’s all our family, friends and neighbours,” she said. “It’s awesome.”

Previous KCC fundraisers have benefited the Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation and Ronald McDonald House. The Fight Like Mason Foundation will use its proceeds towards its programs.

KCC held a concert late last year at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and held the annual “Hockey Day” at the Libro several weeks ago.

“It’s so amazing,” said Chantelle Bacon, Mason’s mother. “Kids are helping other kids in honouring Mason. It’s overwhelming. It’s beautiful.”

Lauren Baillargeon sings as members of the band, which includes family members, perform around her at the Kids Curing Cancer benefit Feb. 17 at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery.

“These kids are honouring him by raising money,” added Iain Macri, Mason’s father. “You can’t ask for anything else. It’s amazing to watch.”

Both Kids Curing Cancer and the Fight Like Mason Foundation can be “liked” on Facebook with KCC’s Facebook site being www.facebook.com/kidscuringcancerforgrandpa. The Fight Like Mason Foundation’s website is www.fightlikemason.org.