Last week I joined Toronto’s hottest young tastemakers and philanthropists at the fourth annual edition of The Big Give, a charitable event the raises funds for Look Good Feel Better. (Click here to view gallery.) LGFB provides women with cancer with the opportunity to attend a two-hour workshop with the sole purpose of helping them to look and feel more like themselves; the women they were before the Big ‘C’. Needless to say, the charity is a beautiful one that we can all stand behind and I love that the LGFB focuses on helping women feel better, right now.
The Big Give is hosted by Margot Grant, granddaughter of the intrepid Elizabeth Grant, and it is her grandmother’s beauty company that brought Margot to LGFB and in turn The Big Give. Margot, who works as the VP of Creative Global Direction at Elizabeth Grant Inc., is no doubt inspired by her grandmother whose world famous company bloomed out of a handmade product and what Margot calls a “light bulb moment.” Elizabeth was a makeup artist in London when she suffered from Bomb Blast damage during WWII. Ashamed to be seen in public, Elizabeth created the serum we know today as Torricelumn™ which repaired her skin. She returned to work eight months later, and while applying makeup on an actress the young starlet told Elizabeth she had beautiful skin. The rest, as they say, is history. So when you think about it, Margot’s love for LGFB is fused right onto her DNA.
Margot says, “I can’t stress enough that my grandmother is the cornerstone of who I am, and a model of where I want to be one day.” She also credits her mother who taught her that “having a thick skin and big shoulders (figuratively not literally) isn’t just a personality trait, but a skill.” She may not realize it yet but she’s already living up to her grandmother’s incredible legacy and her mother’s palpable strength.
The event, which started four years ago with an attendance of 550, has grown far beyond its humble beginnings from a small Toronto venue. This year we partied at the brand new Ripley’s Aquarium, a 12,500 square-metre wonderland of jellies, fish and sharks. Most of the people were new to the aquarium and a private party in what looked (and felt) like a tropical paradise was a welcoming change from the frigid -25 degree weather that waited for us outside.
I have a deep love for jellyfish and other sea creatures so my friends and I spent most of the night wandering around discovering new ocean life and drinking vodka vitamin waters, which for the record is infinitely better than just a plain old vodka water. But when we weren’t exploring new places to take pictures with stingrays and sharks, we were ogling the massive list of possible raffle prizes – would you like a big screen TV or a pretty blue box? Or perhaps you’d like to fly off to Chicago and spend a romantic weekend away? There was nothing too extravagant for the raffle table and choosing what you wanted became a game to be played with your only slightly tipsy friends.
The whole night was a joy for myself and everyone in attendance, but the best part of the whole experience was the story Margot shared with me: “Not long ago, an envelope arrived at the offices of the CCTFA Foundation – the home of Look Good Feel Better and Facing Cancer Together. There was no return address on the envelope; inside there was a lock of long, dark hair and a handwritten note from a 10-year-old girl identified only as Tamara. Tamara wrote, My name is Tamara and I am 10 years old. I cut my hair and I didn’t know what other address to send my hair to. So I am sending it to you, I know it will be of good use. Thank you for supporting this cause. She sent her recently cut hair to the CCTFA Foundation with the hope that it would help a woman facing the challenges of cancer. Her little act of kindness inspired LGFB to start a wig program in her name. If that doesn’t touch your heart… I don’t know what will.”
Margot, who reminds us that “cancer touches everyone, everyday,” created The Big Give because she believes that LGFB “gives you hope, and hope is a powerful thing.” So next year when January seems to be dragging on for what feels like the 18th week look for tickets to The Big Give, you’ll have a great time giving someone a little bit of hope.