‘For women, by women’: Unique charity supports Montreal female-driven causes

"We're working to help women,” said Tarah Schwartz, Vice President of Communications and Marketing at the MUHC Foundation about ‘Women Who Care’ donating money to the Women's Health Heart Initiative on Tuesday. Brittany Henriques reports.

A group of Montreal women with a unique approach to charity are doing their part to help raise money for those in need in Montreal.

Three times a year, the “100+ Women Who Care” get together for a one-hour event to raise funds for charity.

“We each donate $100 three times a year,” said Dr. Sabrina Ahmed, the group’s co-founder. “So tonight everybody who attends will be donating $100. And as a group, we are over 200 members strong. So our cheque should be in the ballpark of $20,000 to the elected recipient.”

This time around, the donations will fund research at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC).

“This is a wonderful organization that is growing from a grassroots organization, getting women all over this country and other countries to care about women’s health. And that’s a really important thing,” said Tarah Schwartz, the vice-president of communications and marketing at the MUHC Foundation.

“All of these projects are involved in women’s health. They all care about women’s health. And the MUHC Foundation is funding these projects. So we’re working to help women have better access to excellence in healthcare and we’re funding research that will save women’s lives. Everything from cardiology to cancer.”

“100+ Women Who Care Montreal” charity event Oct. 3, 2023. (Hayder Mahdy, CityNews)

Ahemd co-founded “100+ Women Who Care Montreal” along with four other women in 2021, during the pandemic. To date, they’ve donated more than $115,000 to Montreal charities.

“It’s amazing. You feel the energy,” said Nancy Perry Dossous, the director of development at the MUHC Foundation. “You feel this powerful group of women that are rallying the sisterhood. It’s for the women, by the women. I can’t explain it.”

Tuesday night, they held their fall event – shedding light on the life-saving projects of three women who have dedicated themselves to advancing women’s health at the MUHC. They then voted to determine who would receive their collective donation.

“These are all women-led initiatives that are focused primarily on women,” said Dossous. “And these physicians and these nurses and these clinical staff are always up against so many other diseases. So that’s the beauty. On stage you have this wonderful array of the most innovative life-changing projects at the MUHC for women.”

Winning project: Women’s Health Heart Initiative

The Women’s Health Heart Initiative won, led by Nurse Wendy Wray. It’s a clinical study at the MUHC trying to help women determine their cardiac risk, and subsequently better prevent cardiac disease in women.

“It’s important because cardiac disease is the number one killer of Canadian women. So it’s a really important project,” said Ahmed.

Ahmed calls the group she co-founded a “wonderful network of women.”

“I’d like to ideally just spread the word about 100+ Women Who Care Montreal,” she said. “We have really grown by word of mouth. Women telling other women about this group and it’s a wonderful way to come together with other women who want to support the local Montreal community.

“We are 100 per cent volunteer run. There is no overhead. Every dollar goes to the local charity.”

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