Royal LePage Team Realty breakfast raises $50K for local hospitals

Proceeds from silent and live auctions help with Queensway Carleton Hospital's surgical suite upgrades and with cancer wing at CHEO

May 23, 2024

There aren’t many neckties in this city that can say they’ve raised thousands of dollars for charity over the years. 

We are, however, aware of at least one that can boast about its philanthropic contributions. That is, if neckties could talk. The flashy accessory played an integral part in the Royal LePage Team Realty’s Denim Day breakfast and fundraising auction held this morning at the Brookstreet Hotel.

Some 300 agents from the real estate brokerage attended. They bid on 40-plus live auction items and roughly 70 silent auction items, helping to raise $50,594 for Queensway Carleton Hospital and for CHEO’s cancer wing. Up for grabs were experiential packages, sporting event tickets, baked goods, gift packages and some surprises, such as a “mystery” cooler filled with goodies.

Since 2001, Royal LePage’s Team Realty Denim Day has raised more than $800,000 for local charities, with a focus on breast cancer support. It’s helped local hospitals, as well as Camp Trillium for children living with childhood cancer. 

“Cancer has touched each and every one of our families, I know,” said Kent Browne, broker and founder of Royal LePage Team Realty, while looking out at the sea of denim, as well as various shades of pink, which is a colour strongly associated with breast cancer awareness. Browne has decades of experience helping to raise money as a charity auctioneer. He shared the demanding duty with John O’Neill, who’s a sales representative with Royal LePage Team Realty and professional auctioneer.

Royal LePage Team Realty has been the top brokerage in Ottawa for the past 20 years. “The city treats us very well,” Browne told the agents. “It’s such a pleasure to be able to give back such a big amount this morning. It makes me very, very proud of everything you do.”

The agents not only donate the items to the auction but they also buy them back— often paying amounts many times higher than their original value. “Helping people is what we do and, I think, helping communities is part of who we are,” Jason Ralph, broker of record and president of Royal LePage Team Realty, told of the agents’ extreme generosity.

Ralph was highest bidder on the prized tie, at $400. It will return to the auction block next year to be sold again. It’s a tradition that began 23 years ago, when the tie first made its attention-grabbing appearance at a realtors’ breakfast meeting in Almonte. It was worn by Butch Oldford, who works out of Winchester. The navy blue tie has a busy pattern of little houses and “For Sale” and “Sold” signs.

Shannon Gorman, president and CEO of QCH Foundation, expressed her gratitude to the crowd for its support of a west-end Ottawa hospital that’s grown to serve 500,000 patients each year (far more than the 100,000 it was treating when it first opened in 1976).

“A little known fact is that the government does not cover equipment purchases, so whether it’s a thermometer or MRI machine or upgrades to our surgical suites, that has to come 100 per cent from the community,” said Gorman.  

She updated the audience on how its support is helping the hospital renovate its surgical suites with new hardware and software. It’s been installing 4K technology to provide surgeons with enhanced visibility and sharper images, resulting in more accurate diagnoses and better outcomes for their patients.

Of the 1,200 cancer-related surgeries at QCH each year, just over 350 are for breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and care.