On Thursday May 20, the Parkinson Society Maritime Region held its first major fundraising gala, a reception, dinner and auction in honour of longtime Parkinson’s guru and PSMR volunteer Dr. George Turnbull at the Delta Halifax.
In attendance were family, friends and colleagues of Dr. Turnbull, representatives from the health and business community, Dalhousie University, Parkinson Society Canada, and a number of local Parkinsonians.
Hosted by CBC Radio Personality Don Connolly, the evening included both live and silent auctions, where dozens of unique items stirred up a frenzy of bidding that helped PSMR meet its $20000 fundraising goal. Auction items ranged from artwork by NS artists Frank Carson and Gordon Roache to VIP tickets to the Halifax International Tattoo, along with wine gift baskets, jewelry, an afternoon sail around St. Margaret’s Bay, a “live painting” of the event by local artist Sharon Hodgeson, even a dinner party hosted by Dr. Turnbull himself.
But the night was really about George, which became increasingly clear as people took to the stage to pay tribute. First, Moncton’s Merton Geddes and Dalhousie researcher Dr. Harold Robertson shared anecdotes and offered insight into Dr. Turnbull’s efforts to build the Parkinson Society’s presence in the Maritimes. Things got personal as Turnbull’s son Peter followed with a no-holds-barred reflection on Dr. Turnbull, the family man – with a cheeky nod to a lifetime of inspiring haircuts.
To close, Dr. Turnbull took the opportunity to express his gratitude to all who attended and to speak to the importance of collaboration when working to battle a condition like Parkinson’s. His message was not lost on the night’s attendees; whether you’d known him for years or only met him that night, Turnbull’s dedication to easing the burden was readily apparent.
Ultimately, the mood of the evening was perhaps best captured by Bedford NS’s Carole Hartzman, who in her toast to George offered these fitting remarks:
To our favourite Parkinson’s pioneer
Who inspires people, not just minds
We wish you what you wish for us
To savour life most fine.
All proceeds from the event help ensure the sustainability of the Maritime Parkinson Physiotherapy Clinic – the focus of Dr. Turnbull’s volunteer work for over ten years.