The second annual Expos Fest sports celebrity gala will be held on March 25 at the Embassy Plaza, 1003 Curé Labelle Blvd., Laval. The event will feature autograph signing with a “dream team” of 12 former Montreal Expos players at 4:30 p.m., followed by a four-course dinner with open bar at 6 p.m. Tickets are $150 each, which includes the dinner.
The event was created to raise money fro the KAT D DIPG Foundation at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, named in honour of little Catherine Demes who died in July 2015 of Diffiuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), which is an aggressive cancer that primarily affects young children between the ages of 5 and 9. This type of cancer is also one of the most resistant to chemotherapy treatments. In most cases of the disease, it is fatal within nine months to a year.
DIPG affects the brainstem, impacting nervous system functioning. Symptoms of this cancer include double vision, problems with eye movement, inability to close the eyelids completely, drooping on one side of the face, difficulty chewing or swallowing, limb weakness, difficulty standing or walking, unbalanced limbs, sudden deafness or hearing problems, nausea, vomiting and swelling in the brain. These symptoms often increase quickly in number and severity as the tumour rapidly grows.
Since 2016, Expos Fest has raised $225,000 for research, with a hope to finding better treatment and perhaps even a cure for the cancer that took Catherine’s young life, as well as other pediatric brain tumours.