Fashion Television

Fashion Television

Jeanne Beker and friends open their hearts and closets for fifth annual Gilda's Club fundraiser

Jeanne Beker and friends open their hearts and closets for fifth annual Gilda's Club fundraiser


by: Sheri Block
Date: 11/5/2010 1:56:00 PM ET

An exquisite designer cape from Jeanne Beker’s closet; a gown Tanya Kim wore to the Oscars, and one of Lloyd Robertson’s ties.

These items and more will be available for sale when Beker and friends ‘Open Their Hearts and Closets’ in support of Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto. The event is Monday, Nov. 8 from 6 pm to 8 pm at 110 Lombard Street in downtown Toronto.

"FashionTelevision's" Beker, an Honourary Board Member of the organization that provides support to people living with cancer, started the charity event five years ago as a way to unload some of the items she has accumulated over the years, and help a great cause.

“For me it’s so heartwarming because I’ve had great joy out of some of these clothes and some of these accessories but then to see people come and say, ‘Wow you wore that dress when you interviewed Karl Lagerfeld? I’m going to wear it now!’ They leave the sale with such a sense of pride,” says Beker.

“For me it’s such a great joy to see these clothes being given new life in that way.”

Beker says she also enjoys meeting the people who come to the sale, talking about the clothes and even giving some fashion advice.

This year’s sale, which is open to the general public, has been expanded to two floors to accommodate both women’s and men’s clothing.

Beker is donating from her closet and from her new fashion line EDIT. Other CTV personalities will contribute, including Tanya Kim, Lloyd Robertson, Sandie Rinaldo, Beverly Thomson, Christine Bentley, Seamus O’Regan, Jeff Hutcheson, Leah Miller, Danielle McGimsie,  Glen Baxter, Marilyn Denis, Marci Ien, Traci Melchor, Melissa Grelo and Nalini Sharma.

Donations will also be made by FASHION Magazine’s Bernadette Morra, Hello Magazine’s Wendy Natale and a number of notable Canadian designers including David Dixon, Joeffer Caoc, Pink Tartan, NADA and Andy The-ahn.

The pieces will be new or gently used and will range from clothes, shoes, handbags and accessories to cosmetics at “bargain prices” (typically 70 to 80 per cent off the retail price), with 100 per cent of the proceeds going straight to Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto.

It will support the club’s diverse programming for men, women, teens and children living with cancer, along with their family and friends. As well as support groups, the club also offers everything from lectures and workshops to yoga and cooking classes, all at no charge to its members.

Elana Shapiro, Development Associate of Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto, says not only does the sale serve as a fundraising event, it also helps increase awareness about what the organization is all about.

She says they’re very appreciative of Beker’s efforts over the years.   

“Jeanne doesn’t just lend her name to the event, this really is her event,” Shapiro says. “She makes the time to be there, she helps set up, she rolls up her sleeves the day of when we’re still tagging so that’s really amazing.”

Beker has been involved with Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto since it started in the city in 2001. She was an old friend of Gilda Radner, who was best known for her work on “Saturday Night Live.” Radner got her start in Toronto, at Second City, and she and Beker used to do children’s theatre in the 1970s. Radner died of ovarian cancer in 1989 at age 42.

When Beker first heard they were starting a branch of Gilda’s Club in Toronto, she knew she had to be part of it.

“It’s a port in the storm and it’s telling people not to be afraid of cancer and not to give up because you can survive with a lot of positive thinking and a lot of positive energy,” says Beker.

“It’s really a very special place.”

Doors for the sale open at 6 p.m. sharp and cash or credit will be accepted.

For more information on Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto visit



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