Last night there was a big fuss downtown about a big sporting event. Traffic may have been slow but there was jubilation in the air. And although the game and championship were milestones for Toronto, yet that’s not the FUSS I am talking about in the headline.
“F.U.S.” also stands for focused ultrasound (FUS). The focused ultrasound at Sunnybrook Hospital is FUSS, where several different projects are underway.
The concert last night, titled “LET’S MAKE A FUSS!” was a fund-raiser for research at Sunnybrook, organized by Ann Cooper Gay, whose husband and life-partner Errol Gay has ALS.
ALS may be known to you as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”, an ailment that so far has been incurable. It eventually claimed the life of physicist Stephen Hawking. Errol Gay, pianist, conductor, composer & Toronto Symphony librarian has ALS. Recently we’ve heard that conductor & radio personality Kerry Stratton has ALS.
Dr Agessandro Abrahao spoke to us briefly about the exciting research that I’ll attempt to describe with the help of text I have borrowed from the Sunnybrook website:
Transcranial MR-guided focused ultrasound has been approved as a therapeutic alternative for treatment-resistant essential tremor. This noninvasive technique is being tested clinically as a drug delivery platform in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and brain tumours, by safely and temporarily opening the blood-brain barrier in targeted brain regions.
In collaboration with the Centre of Excellence in Focused Ultrasound at Sunnybrook, Dr. Abrahao’s research aims to expand the clinical testing of MR-guided focused ultrasound to treat neurological diseases.
Dr. Abrahao’s research interests also include clinical trials and epidemiological studies of ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases. He is also interested in the development of biomarkers for motor neuron function using transcranial magnetic stimulation and motor unit count techniques.
The concert was an uplifting & inspiring event.
Members of the Toronto Symphony began the event with Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man.
Richard Margison sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone” accompanied by pianist Monique de Margerie.
Lauren Margison sang “Tu che di gel” from Turandot accompanied by pianist Monique de Margerie.
Nora Shulman, Julie Ranti and Winona Zelenka played Haydn’s Trio I for two flutes & piano.
The Canadian Youth Opera Alumni Men’s Chorus, accompanied by Gergely Szololay sang first “My Funny Valentine” –showing us an arrangement by Errol Gay—followed by the “Soldiers’ Chorus” from Laura’s Cow: The Legend of Laura Secord, an opera composed by Errol Gay.
Russell Braun sang “Sure on This Shining Night” by Morten Lauridsen, accompanied by pianist Carolyn Maule.
Then we heard from Dr Abrahao.
Peter Barcza sang “The Impossible Dream” accompanied by Ann Cooper Gay at the piano.
Pianist Linda Ippolito played Arlequin et Pantalon by Pierre-Max Dubois.
Adi Braun sang the “Cheeky Little Swing Tune” composed for her by Tony Quarrington, and accompanied by him as well on his guitar.
Jonathan Crow played the “Meditation” from Thais accompanied by members of the TSO.
And to close we heard “Make Our Garden Grow” from Bernstein’s Candide, sung by Tessa Laengert & Paul Williamson, plus the Canadian Youth Opera Alumni Chorus & Friends, accompanied by members of the TSO.
While the concert was very inspiring, so too was hearing about this research, that holds great promise. The link is still live for you to make a contribution to support this exciting project: in search of a breakthrough.
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Thanks so much, Leslie! It was a beautiful and inspiring evening and Errol and I are so very grateful to all the performers and volunteers.
I was just bearing witness, and honored to be there, grateful to you & the volunteers.
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